May 17, 2009

A drinking fountain in Loveland, Ohio.

Drinking fountain

In Wisconsin, this is called a "bubbler," which is the trademarked term for the original drinking fountain:
The Bubbler was developed in 1888 by the then-small Kohler Water Works (now Kohler Company) in Kohler, Wisconsin, which was already well-known for its faucet production. While Harlan Huckleby is credited with the actual design, it was Kohler that patented it and trademarked the name. The original Bubbler shot water one inch straight into the air, creating a bubbling texture, and the excess water ran back down over the sides of the nozzle. It was several years later before the bubbler adapted the arc projection, which allowed the drinker to partake more easily.

The Bubbler concept took off and there were many copies. Since the name was trademarked, other companies named their fountains "The Gurgler" and "The Gusher."
The "bubbler" in my photo was made by The Murdock Mfg & Supply Co., Cinncinnati, Ohio.

And it's just a coincidence that we went to Loveland yesterday, the same day I blogged about "Love Land," that awful Chinese theme park.


Colin said...

Just speaking as a Wisconsinite residing next to the Twin Cities, I've always heard the term 'Fountain', or 'Water Fountain' used - never bubbler.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'll be the first to say it. I find the shape of that fountain slightly obscene and funny.

Edited for spelling.

Also. It reminds me of the segregated fountains that I saw in my youth in Mississippi. They were side by side and looked exactly the same except one fountain was "colored". My brother and I were very disappointed to find out the water was the same color in both fountiains. Clear.

Marylou said...

In Rhode Island it is called a bubbler also.

chickenlittle said...

One of oldest bubblers I recall was just inside the north entrance of the Vilas Park Zoo in Madison. It was on a pedestal made of local stone. It was still there a few years ago, but not working. I'm wondering if it's still there.

dbp said...

I've never heard them called anything other than drinking fountain or water fountain. Except in the Marine Corps, where in boot camp, and only in boot camp, did they insist we call it a scuttlebutt.

An odd thing I noticed about drinking fountains was that in grade school they were made of porcelain with a stainless steel mouth guard. In high school and college they had a flexible nylon mouth guard. It seemed to me then and now that given the higher degree of rough housing in the lower grades, it would have been better to have the safe ones be for the kids.

Maybe after enough teeth got chipped and knocked out, they changed them all at the same time. It just happened to coincide with my progress through the educational system...

Also, I really like the ones with refrigeration built-in. Much more refreshing.

PatCA said...

I learned "bubbler" too growing up in Milwaukee! I'm surprised to hear it is used in other places--I was soundly mocked when I moved to the big city and still called it bubbler.

David said...

Hey, I never new where the term bubbler came from. I love this blog!

Colin--that's the pernicious influence of the Twin Cities, degrading the pure Wisconsin language. Milwaukee people still know what a bubbler is.

Jen said...

Tyme machine

"Excuse me, where is the nearest Tyme machine?"

Is really funny when you forget you aren't in Milwaukee anymore.

Chip Ahoy said...


That fountain is overtly obscene and evokes CBT bondage. The design is a window into the mind of its designer. It would be appropriate in front of the brutalist armorial Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Washington, D.C. Or maybe the Rawhide in Chelsea, if it worked.

Sad to see such art fall to desuetude, though. It'd make a good birdbath.

Edward Willett said...

I'm currently in a production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies in Regina, Saskatchewan, which of course has a whole section set in the mythical musical theatre world of Loveland, introduced by a song called Loveland, "where everybody loves to live, where everybody lives to love." So this post and the news of the Chinese theme park jumped out at me. Maybe it's something in the water, bubbling or's Loveland time!

Jen said...

I don't know what you people are thinking.

That bubbler looks just like a geoduck.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't know what you people are thinking.

That bubbler looks just like a geoduck.

Which also looks like a....

Just saying. :-D

Ralph said...

17 years ago, there was a famous purple porcelain water fountain in the basement of the Pentagon, which I don't think actually worked, but they had to leave for navigational purposes, since the basement wasn't arranged systematically like the rest of the building.