Columbian Iron Works - Chattanooga, TN

Columbian Iron Works started making fire hydrants in the early 1900s, probably around 1909. Herbert M. Lofton received U.S. patent #978,385 for the Columbian hydrant on December 13th of 1910. The company had been in business long before this, and in a catalog from 1908, the company bills itself as "Manufacturers of Improved Sawmills and Other Modern Woodworking Machinery". Also noted on that catalog is that Columbian was "successor to the woodworking machinery business of American Machine & Mfg. Co. of Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 1934, the company was bought by Mueller Co. which made some changes to both the function and appearance of the one piece model shown below, making them in a two piece barrel design sold under the Mueller name as the "Standard Post & Traffic" model. However, up until 1952, Mueller also sold Mueller-Columbian model hydrants, which retained the appearance of the one piece model shown below, but in a two-piece traffic model format. The Columbian UL-FM models shown below were sold for a time as Mueller-Columbian hydrants, but these retained the Columbian hydrant's external appearance, as well as the two piece barrel, but with the Mueller name on them.

If you have any information regarding Columbian Iron Works --- old brochures, catalogs, etc., please Email Us.

Here is an advertisement from the 1930's showing Columbian hydrants, just prior to the purchase by the Mueller Co.

  'One Piece Barrel' model
These hydrants are unusual in that they have 2 ground line O.D. ribs; several inches apart.
  • There is no indication of V.O. size on this model.
  • 2161
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Note: dated 1918
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: 2004, J. Kaminski
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
    Size: 8.4" barrel O.D.
    Note: dated 1928
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: 2001, E. Masminster
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x ~4"
    Size: ?
    Location: Chattanooga, TN
    Photo: E. Kennedy
    Nozzles: 3x 2.5", 1x 4"
    Size: ?
    Note: 1910 patent date
    Location: Waco, TX
    Photo: E. Kennedy
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x 4.5"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Location: Private collection
    Photo: J. Kaminski

      UL/FM Two Piece Barrel model
    The bonnet is cast integral with the upper barrel.
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5" bolted-on
    Size: ?
    Location: ?
    Photo: 2000, T. Ingalsbe
    Nozzles: 2x 2.5" externally gated
    Size: ?
    Location: Winston-Salem, NC
    Photo: E. Kennedy

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