Coffin Valve Company - Boston, Massachusetts
The Coffin Valve Co. was established in 1884 by Zebulon Erastus Coffin and other mechanical engineers and machinists. The company was located on 295-297 South St. in South Boston. Prior to the establishment of the Coffin Valve Co., Z. E. Coffin was a big part of the Boston Machine Mfg. Co. from 1864 to 1884 in which he was a superintendent and general agent for. During that time, he was issued his first fire hydrant patent on July 21, 1868, which was assigned to the Boston Machine Co. Soon after starting his own company, Z. E. Coffin was issued his 2nd hydrant patent on November 17, 1885 which was for his original model Coffin hydrant. He produced a similar style hydrant at a later date that was a 1-piece barrel design with a 4-bolt bonnet but we are unclear if that design was covered under that patent or not. Coffin Valve also produced the Walker Patent hydrant of February 28, 1899.

Apart from hydrants, this inscription was found on an electric headgate hoist at a hydroelectric plant in Auburn, Washington:

Coffin Ball Stand
Pat Sept 27 1898
Sluice Valves & Gate Standards

Coffin Valve Company
Boston Mass.

The sluice gate line was sold by Chapman Valve Mfg. Co., another hydrant maker, which billed itself as the exclusive distributor of Coffin Valve Company products in an advertisement from 1930. A "Kelty Motor Drive Unit" is listed as a product of the Coffin Valve Company, and may be the part of the hoist referred to above. It is unclear when Coffin Valve's demise was but we know they were around as late as 1930 and that they made hydrants into the 1910s.

If you have any additional information regarding this company or their fire hydrants, please Email Us.

All photos © Jeff Kaminski and restored hydrants a part of his collection unless otherwise credited.



  Original Model
This model is likely the first Coffin Valve hydrant. It is a dual slide gate design: the second gate is the shut-off for maintenance purposes.
  • An ornate logo, and the words "COFFIN VALVE BOSTON" are found on the outer diameter of bonnet.
  • PAT'D NOV. 17, 1885 found at base of bonnet.
  • 1518
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~4" barrel I.D.
    0454
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~4" barrel I.D.
    0565
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~5" barrel I.D.
    Location: Massachusetts
    0800
    Nozzles: 3x 2"
    Size: ~5" barrel I.D.
    0455
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~6" barrel I.D.

      Next Model?
    These hydrants look similar to the above group but differ in barrel and bonnet details including bolt-on bonnets.
  • There are some variations within this group including presence/absence of bonnet patent date.
  • 0837
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~5" barrel I.D.
    Note: bonnet w/no patent date, ~c.1900
    Location: Massachusetts
    1519
    Nozzles: 4x 2" independently gated
    Size: ~6" barrel I.D.
    Note: bonnet w/1885 patent date
    Location: Connecticut

      Walker Patent model
    Shown below are two groups of hydrants that share a common 2-bolt bonnet style with the Walker patent embossed on the bonnet.

    These hydrants have a barrel style similar to the above group.
    1544
    Nozzles: 3x 2" independently gated
    Size: ~6" V.O., ~7" barrel I.D.
    Location: Massachusetts
    1357
    Nozzles: 4x 2" independently gated
    Size: 7" barrel I.D.
    (less bonnet)

    This group continues with the fluted barrel but it differs in design near the ground level.
    1438
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~5" V.O., 7" I.D.
    (less stuffing box)
    1367
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: 1903
    Note: 3 nut pockets

      Final Model?
    This more modern looking model is dated with the year of manufacture and is perhaps the final model produced by Coffin Valve.
  • one piece barrel
  • 4 bolt bonnet
  • 1366
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Note: dated 1907>
    0965
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Note: ~c.1910s

    Location: Massachusetts

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