A.P. Smith Mfg. Co. - E. Orange, NJ

A.P. Smith Mfg. Co. fire hydrants were made in East Orange, New Jersey. The company was founded by Anthony Peter Smith, greatgrandfather of sculptor Tony Smith. The first patented A.P. Smith hydrants were from 1896. The company is best known for the O'Brien (often called Series S) and O'Brien High Pressure fire hydrants. These hydrants were named after their inventor, Denis F. O'brien, who was born in Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, and held the U.S. patents for these models. Denis O'brien was a contemporary of Thomas Edison and knew him.

In 1966 the hydrant division of A.P. Smith Mfg Co was purchased by US Pipe which was at the time located in Chattanooga, TN. Today they manufacture fire hydrants that hold many similarities to the original A.P. Smith fire hydrants. US Pipe is one of the manufacturers that still produces the O'Brien hydrant (now referred to as the Series S hydrant).

  O'Brien 1 Piece Barrel model
Patented on February 25, 1902 (patents 694,180 and 694,298), this model is presumed to be one of the first two manufactured by the company. In catalogs of the time period, it was referenced as the "O'Brien" fire hydrant, named after inventor Denis F. O'brien. This model was mass produced and even today is a very popular fire hydrant. During the times that A.P. Smith sold this fire hydrant, it was sold to several large North American cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Providence, San Francisco, St. Louis and Toronto, to name a few. After the patent expired, more than 15 other fire hydrant companies adopted this design and manufactured it.

This grouping of hydrants are of the 1 pc. barrel design with a ground line O.D. rib and are arranged from smallest to largest valve opening (V.O.) size.
  • Bonnets were cast with patent date, without patent date, with abbreviated patent date and sometimes with year of manufacture. At some point the manufacturing location cast on the bonnet changed from "E. ORANGE, NJ" to "NEWARK, NJ".
  • On early hydrants several inches below the ground line O.D. rib can be found APS and the year of manufacture. Later hydrants have the same info below the ground line O.D. rib but they also have a small smooth rectangular area just above the O.D. rib with two lines of info; an indication of V.O.size and year of manufacture (repeated from below the O.D. rib). Indicated with each hydrant below is whether they are of 'Early' or 'Later' manufacture, when known.
  • Manufactured in 5 sizes ; 4", 4", 4", 5", and 6" V.O. ; which are NOT readily discernable on many hydrants. So the barrel O.D. (measured just above the O.D. rib) is also listed. Estimates(~) are marked as such and actuals are in bold.
  • 1102 'Later'
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 4" VO, 7.0" OD
    Dated: 1955
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    2270 'Early'
    Nozzles: 3x 2"
    Size: 4" VO, 7.0" OD
    Dated: 1918
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2004, J. Kaminski
    1375 'Early'
    Nozzles: 1x 4"
    Size: ~4" VO, 8.2" OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Jack S. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    1227 'Early'
    Nozzles: 1x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~4" VO, ~8.2" OD
    Dated: 1904
    Location: Scott M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, S. Miller
    2188 'Early'
    Nozzles: 1x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~4" VO, ~8.2" OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Jack S. collection
    Photo: © J. Selvey
    1454 'Later'
    Nozzles: 3x 2"
    Size: 4" VO, ~8.2" OD
    Dated: 1959
    Location: Rhode Island
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    1751 'Later'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 3"
    Size: 4" VO
    Dated: 1955
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2002, J. Kaminski
    2109 'Later'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: 4" VO, 8.2"OD
    Dated: 1956
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2003, J. Kaminski
    0138
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: ~4"VO, ~8.2"OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    2110 'Later'
    Nozzles: 4x 2"
    Size: 4" VO, 8.2"OD
    Dated: 1956
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © J. Kaminski
    0137
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ? VO, ~8.4" OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Yonkers, NY
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    0178 'Early'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ? VO, 8.4" OD
    Dated: 1925
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2000, J. Anderson
    0133 'Later'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: STD VO, ~8.4" OD
    Dated: 1954
    Location: Towson, MD
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    0136
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: ? VO, ~8.4" OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Washington, DC
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    1376 'Early'
    Nozzles: 1x 4"
    Size: ~5" VO, 9.4" OD
    Dated: no date
    Location: Jack S. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    2056 'Later'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~5" VO, 9.4" OD
    Dated: 1948
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2003, J. Kaminski

      O'Brien 2 Piece Barrel model
    These O'Brien hydrants look identical to the 1 pc. barrel versions; but have a conventional flange joint.
  • They are marked similarly to the 'Later' 1 pc. barrel version described above.
  • 2399
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4.5"
    Size: ?" VO, 9.4" OD
    Dated: 1944
    Location: Private collection
    Photo: © J. Kaminski
    0418
    Nozzles: 4x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: 6"
    Note: Bonnet has bosses for internal gates, but no gates.
    Location: Marlboro, MA
    Photo: © T. Ingalsbe

      O'Brien 2 Piece Barrel "Protectop flange" model
    These O'Brien hydrants look identical to the 1 pc. barrel versions; but have a breakable 2 pc. clamp arrangement at the flange joint with the trademark name of "Protectop" flange.
  • They are marked similarly to the 'Later' 1 pc. barrel version described above.
  • 1377
    Nozzles: 1x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ?" VO, 8.5" OD
    Dated: 1951
    Note: tamper-proof cap and bonnet
    Location: Jack S. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    1312
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: ?" VO, ~8.5" OD
    Dated: 1967
    Location: Washington, DC
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    1752
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 4" VO
    Dated: 1967
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2002, J. Kaminski
    1456
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" VO, ~9.9" OD
    Dated: 1965
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    1292
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~5" VO, 9.9" OD
    Dated: 1955
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    1458
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~5" VO, ~9.9" OD
    Dated: ?
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski

      O'Brien High Pressure model
    In the earlier portion of the century, high pressure fire systems were common in some of the larger cities. Cities like New York, Philadelphia, Newark, Washington, DC, and several others had these hydrants attached to a different water system which had higher pressure than the standard hydrants. These hydrants were designed to be operated at 300 PSI and could withstand up to 600 PSI (vs. the 150 PSI/300 PSI of standard hydrants). These hydrants had independent gates for each nozzle and a pilot valve for ease of opening the main valve. These large hydrants, patented in 1909, came in one piece and flanged two piece styles. Although these hydrants can still be found in several cities today, they are slowly being phased out of New York City and are rarer to find in several other cities.
    0134
    Nozzles: 4x 2"
    Size: ?
    Dated: 1926, Pat. 1909
    Note: top view
    Location: New York, NY
    Photo: © E. Kennedy

      H Series models
    These models look very similar to the O'Brien model but differ in that they have a weathershield for the operating nut. Both are of a 2 pc. barrel design.
  • The H100 has a conventional bolted flange joint; whereas the H205 has an overlapping skirt bolted flange joint similar to that found on most Mueller hydrants.
  • The H100 has APS, year of manufacture, and H100 cast just above the flange joint. The V.O. size is cast onto the bonnet (very unusual) along with A.P.SMITH MFG. CO. E. ORANGE, NJ.
  • The H205 has H205 and A.P.SMITH MFG. CO. E. ORANGE, NJ cast onto the bonnet. The H205 model made by US Pipe has a smooth bonnet and barrel.
  • 1286 H100
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: 4 5/8" V.O.
    Dated: 1955
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    1753 H200
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 4" V.O.
    Dated: 1970
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2002, J. Kaminski
    1311 H205
    Nozzles: 2x 2",1x~4"
    Size: ~4 5/8" V.O.
    Dated: 1966
    Location: Colonial Heights, VA
    Photo: © E. Kennedy

      other models
    0121
    Model: 'Havana Style'
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~5"
    Note: 1902 Patent
    Location: Newark, NJ
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    0132
    Model: ?
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~5"
    Dated: 1931
    Location: Fort Lee, NJ
    Photo: © E. Kennedy

    FH.O Catalog Library:
    Smith Series H Hydrants
    Catalog No. 32 (1932)
    Catalog No. 42 (1942)
    Smith Hydrants S-62-5M

    Back to Hydrant Pictures
    Questions? / Comments?
    Unless otherwise noted, all contents of these WWW pages © FireHydrant.org