Mueller Co. - Albertville, AL
Mueller Company started in in Decatur, Illinois in 1857. Mueller made a wide variety of products but it wasn't until 1933 when they bought Columbia Iron Works that hydrants became part of their product line. Columbian Iron Works had manufactured hydrants since 1908 and was located in Chattanooga, TN. Several years after purchasing Columbian Iron Works, Mueller Co. changed the name of the hydrant division to Mueller. In 1975, the hydrant plant was moved from Chattanooga, TN to a new plant in Albertville, AL.

Mueller manufacture of wet barrel hydrants began in the late 1950's/early 1960's. In 1996 James Jones Co. of El Monte, CA became a subsidiary of Mueller Co., thereby adding additional wet barrel hydrant manufacturing capacity for Mueller. These models are shown on a separate wet barrel page.
  "Mueller - Columbian Underwriter Approved" (1933? - 1952?)

After Mueller purchased the Columbian Iron Works of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Columbian name was retained for a UL/FM approved line of hydrants, valves, and post indicators. It company literature from the 1930s, Columbian is referred to as a division of the Mueller Company. Quoting from a Mueller brochure from ca. 1936, titled Mueller Columbian Line Catalog A-100:

"The COLUMBIAN LINE of MUELLER equipment has long been identified with the automatic sprinkler industry. Through this long assoctiation, we understand the problems and special considerations which confront those who fabricate and install automatic sprinkler systems in large factories, mills, and buildings".

There are two hydrant models referred to as Mueller-Columbian Underwriter Approved fire hydrants, as documented in the Mueller brochure. The two basic models are:

  • The Standard Underwriter type, which has hose nozzles screwed into the hydrant barrel and does not have independent gate valves. This hydrant came only in a 5" mainvalve size with two hose nozzles. No steamer port was available.
  • The I.G.N. type, which has Independent Gate Nozzles that bolt on to the barrel. The I.G.N. type were made in two mainvalve sizes, 5" and 6". Hydrants with two hose nozzles were made with a 5" mainvalve: hydrants with 3 hose nozzles were made with a 6" mainvalve. No steamer port was available.
  • Characteristic of both types is that the 2 piece barrel has a bolted flange joint; and the upper barrel flange has a skirt that overhangs the lower barrel flange (which is typical of most Mueller dry barrel hydrants).

    1948
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1936
    Patent Date: 1918
    Model: Standard Underwriter type
    Location: Mark P. collection
    Photo: © 2003, M. Pandanell
    1071
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1946
    Model: Standard Underwriter type
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster

    "UL Chattanooga Style" (1953? - 1979)
    This hydrant is called the "UL Chattanooga Style" model. Nearly identical to the hydrants above, it appears that the Columbian name was dropped from Mueller hydrants at this point in time. UL/FM hydrants are typically in private installations such as warehouses, powerplants, factories, etc.
  • "Mueller Co./Chattanooga, Tenn.", "SH", year of manufacture, and V.O. size are cast on the upper barrel.
  • It was made in 3 valve opening sizes: 4", 5", and 6".
  • The 2 piece barrel has a bolted flange joint; and the upper barrel flange has a skirt that overhangs the lower barrel flange (which is typical of most Mueller dry barrel hydrants).
  • Two different styles were actually produced. The original style has a smooth bonnet cast integral with the upper barrel. In the late 1960's the bonnet style was changed to a bolted style. with a smooth bonnet. Later yet the bonnet was fluted similar to the other Mueller models. The key identifying feature for both styles is the gap between the bonnet and the thin operating nut weathershield.

    These are examples of the original style with the smooth bonnet cast integral with the upper barrel ...
  • 2140
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1963
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2003, J. Anderson
    1183
    Nozzles: 2x 2" externally gated
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1956
    Location: Robert F. collection
    Photo: © 2001, R. Frye
    1067
    Nozzles: 3x 2" externally gated
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1960
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    0311
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Location: ?
    Photo: © E. Kennedy

    2382
    Nozzles: 3x 2", externally gated
    Size: ~6" V.O.
    Dated: 1953
    Location: Private collection
    Photo: © J. Kaminski

    These are the later style with a bolted on bonnet style...
  • The first ones had smooth bonnets and then fluted bonnets were introduced.
  • The appearance of this final version suggests the Improved model but these are shorter than the Improved model, lack the barrel fluting below the nozzles, and lack the "false O.D. rib" above the flange joint.
  • 0735
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1966
    Note: fluted bonnet
    Location: Dubuque, IA
    Photo: © 2000, J. Anderson


    These next 4 models can be easily confused with each other: Standard, Improved, 107, and Centurion/Super Centurion. This confusion is compounded by the fact that only the 107 model has the model designation cast onto the hydrant. They collectively are what most people know as "Mueller hydrants".
  • They all have 8 broad vertical flutes cast into the bonnet and into a short section of the barrel between a "false" O.D. rib and the barrel joint flange.
  • All four models except Standard have an upper barrel flange with a skirt that overhangs the lower barrel flange.
  • Differences to look for to distinguish between models are the relative height/shape of the bonnet and the presence/shape of an operating nut weather cap. There is additional confusion on this point because Mueller made Centurions with 107 and Improved model style weather caps. And they made Centurion replacement bonnets for the 107 and Improved models. These hybrids make identification between models rather difficult.

  •   "Standard & Standard Traffic" (1934 - 1980)
    The Standard model differs from the other similar models by the lack of operating nut weather cap and the conventional (no skirt) barrel joint.
  • "Mueller/(location)", year of manufacture, and V.O. size are cast on the upper barrel.
  • "Standard Post" hydrants, made in 4" and 5" V.O. sizes have no traffic feature. The smaller 2 1/8" "Standard Post" yard hydrants are listed in a section of their own. "Standard Traffic" hydrants were made only in 4" V.O. and have a "T" cast onto the upper barrel. Mueller literature does not list the 6" V.O. hydrants shown below.
  • 0296
    Nozzles: 1x ~4"
    Size: 4" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Location: ?
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    1069
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 4" V.O.
    Dated: 1963
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    1068
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: 4" V.O.
    Dated: 1961
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    1070
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1959
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    2139
    Nozzles: 2x 4"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1971
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2003, J. Anderson
    1435
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1967
    Location: Galena, IL
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    2117
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: 1964
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2003, J. Anderson
    0410
    Nozzles: 2x 4"
    Size: 6" V.O.
    Dated: 1966
    Location: Memphis, TN
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    0691
    Nozzles: 1x 2", 2x ~4"
    Size: 6" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Location: Memphis, TN
    Photo: © E. Kennedy

      "Standard Post" [yard hydrant]
    The 2 1/8" V.O. Standard Post model was designed as a yard hydrant.
  • Early hydrants (19?? - 1985) looked like a miniature version of the Standard Post hydrants shown above with their bolt-on bonnets and caulked-in nozzles. Later hydrants (1986 - present) have a 1-piece bonnet/upper barrel with screw-in nozzle(s).
  • "Mueller/(location)", year of manufacture, and V.O. size are cast on the upper barrel. The size is NOT cast on the early style.
  • They were made with either one or two hose nozzles.
  • 2359
    Nozzles: 1x 1"
    Dated: 1959
    Location: Private collection
    Photo: © 2006, Jeff Kaminski
    0131
    Nozzles: 1x 2"
    Dated: 1958
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: © 2001, E. Masminster
    2358
    Nozzles: 2x 1"
    Dated: 1969
    Location: Private collection
    Photo: © 2006, Jeff Kaminski
    1180
    Nozzle: 1x 2"
    Dated: 1991
    Location: Robert F. collection
    Photo: © 2001, R. Frye

      Mueller-Columbian Standard (1934? - 1952?)
    In a 1941 Mueller brochure this is called the Mueller - Columbian Standard fire hydrant. It lacks both the barrel fluting below the "false" O.D. rib and the bonnet fluting making it different from any hydrants in this group. A Mueller-Columbian advertisement from the 1930s highlights the traffic feature of this hydrant.

    According to the ordering instructions in the brochure cited above, the Mueller-Columbian Standard was:

  • Made in 3 valve opening sizes:
         Catalog Number A24005 4"
         Catalog Number A24007 5"
         Catalog Number A24004 6".
  • Usually supplied with 2 - 2" hose nozzles, but could be had with up to 4.
  • Usually supplied with a single steamer nozzle, but could be had with 2.
  • Color: "Unless otherwise specified on order, final coating will be metallic aluminum bronze except bonnet, hose nozzle caps and steamer nozzle cap, which will be enameled fire-hydrant red. We will enamel any color (or colors) specified to match existing standard in your city."

  • Source: 1941 Mueller-Columbian Standard fire hydrant brochure, Form 8720, 1-1-41, page 3.

    0124
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: 5" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Note: smooth bonnet
    Location: Charlottesville, VA
    Photo: © E. Kennedy


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