Fire hydrants serve as an essential part of a public works system, providing the means to put out fires, maintain environmental quality, and protect public health. They are also available for sale as antiques and collectors items for those who see the fire hydrant's beauty and historical value. No matter what the need, the variety in models, materials, and sizes means that buyers are sure to find the right fire hydrant.What is the purpose of a fire hydrant?
There are several purposes for fire hydrants, including:
- Fire fighting: A great network of hydrants makes fighting fires possible.
- Water quality: During construction or emergency events, hydrants provide the great volume necessary to dilute pollutants.
- Collections: Once a hydrant is retired by the city, it is put up for sale. Vintage fire hydrants interest buyers as industrial works of art that reflect the time period in which they were built.
By attaching a hose to the hydrant and opening a valve, municipal workers are able to access a large volume of water directly from the same city pipe system that provides for homes and businesses. They are made of brass, cast iron, or other metals for strength and durability. They allow water to be pumped into a fire hose at a high rate of pressure, powering the flow necessary to extinguish the flames.Why are some fire hydrants yellow?
While yellow is the most famous color for fire hydrants, there are a number of colors used on the equipment. Some of those include:
- Body colors: According to U.S. standards, the color of the hydrant body tells general facts about it. A white fire hydrant indicates public ownership, yellow is private ownership, red means it's only for emergencies, and violet warns that the water is not potable and only suitable for putting out fires.
- Top color: The color on the top of the hydrant shows how fast water will flow out of it. Blue on a fire hydrant's top means that flow is very good, green is good, orange is adequate, and red is inadequate for putting out a fire.
- Outlet cap color: Green caps signal that the fire hydrant has very high pressure, orange means normal, and red means that the hydrant has such low pressure it needs to be pumped in order to be useful in putting out a fire.
- Cast iron: Vintage fire hydrants may be made entirely out of this metal and still look the same today as when they were made. In later fixtures, cast iron is only used for outlet caps.
- Mueller: Mueller fire hydrants have been available for generations. Antiques are made of brass or cast iron, while later hydrants use a variety of materials as they are best suited to each task.
- Ludlow: Ludlow fire hydrants are now a vintage collector's item favored by those who love antiques.