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Interesting Fire Hydrant Facts

Fire hydrants have been in use worldwide since the mid-1800s with two basic types of dry barrel hydrants in common use. Dry barrel hydrants are most popular as they don’t suffer destruction in freezing temperatures like their wet barrel counterparts, and their operating nut and nozzles are accessible above ground.

There are two main styles of fire hydrant valves: slide gate and compression. Slide gate hydrants are older, but were built to last and are often still in use, designed with a vertically mounted valve – the valve moves vertically up and down to open and close the hydrant. Compression hydrants, on the other hand, are newer with increased flow abilities, and designed with the main valve mounted horizontally on a vertical operating stem – the main valve is moved vertically to open and close the hydrant.

While there are some differences among dry barrel compression hydrants, including barrel shape and style, nozzle arrangements, operating nut, color, and depth of bury, there are also many similarities, like standardized hose nozzles and break-away flanges.

The break-away flange is the lower flange of a hydrant and its purpose is to break off if hit by traffic – it prevents the water from spraying everywhere. While most hydrants have break-away flanges, this is often portrayed inaccurately in the movies, as we regularly see sequences involving water spraying high into the air after being hit during a car chase. This would not happen in real life if the hydrant were to have a break-away flange and be installed correctly (no more than four inches above grade).

Manufacturers of fire hydrants include such brands as Terminal City, Clow, Mueller, Canada Valve, and AVK.  Let’s look at some of the different models of fire hydrants in use today:

Terminal City Iron Works

Terminal City Iron Works produces the C71P Compression Fire Hydrant, which is a popular model that was produced for many years in BC. This is a compression hydrant with a break-away flange.


Another popular model from Terminal City Iron Works is their long-lasting Slide Gate hydrant:




Clow produces their line of Brigadier hydrants, which incorporates new design features and improved components for increased performance in fire fighting, along with high durability, economy, and convenience.




Mueller has been known in the water distribution business since 1857, providing a variety of waterworks products. Their hydrants are very popular and in wide use across North America. This is a nickel-plated Mueller hydrant located in Alabama, noting the millionth hydrant produced by Mueller:




American AVK is a leading U.S. manufacturer of gate valves, fire hydrants, and accessories for the water, wastewater, fire protection, and irrigation industries. This is their series 2700 Modern Style Dry Barrel hydrant:




Waterous offers a variety of hydrants, including this Waterous Trend with its distinctive style:


Kennedy Valve Company

Kennedy Valve’s Vintage hydrant offers the nostalgic style of past eras with modernized functionality:

Vintage Hydrant Package.pdf

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings and cold weather coating applications. Castagra products are NSF-61 certified and are used by the world’s top water and wastewater contractors.