Cast Iron Drinking Fountain with Gas Lamp – The William Procter Fountain
Pat. June 8, 1890
By Henry F. Franks
This cast iron drinking fountain was a gift from Mr. William A. Procter (of Procter and Gamble) to the city of Glendale, Ohio. Glendale is located north of Cincinnati. The William Procter fountain featured a large cast iron bowl that originally had suspended from its rim two drinking cups. Water entered the bowl from the mouths of dolphins cast into the base for a lamp pole centered above the bowl. Overflow from the large bowl fell down within the pedestal to an inner trough that carried the water out to an animal (dog) drinking bowl at the base. The open trough inside the pedestal determined the water level in the dog bowl whereby excess water overflowed the trough and fell into a cistern. A built-in step allowed children to reach into the large bowl with their cups. All was of cast iron except for the bronze presentation plaque.
The optimum preservation of cast iron fountains such as this requires complete disassembly of all cast and other individual components. Then these are cleaned of corrosion, cracks are welded, and missing pieces are replaced or sculpted and cast. Trial reassembly early in the process is often needed as threaded studs may be lost and original fasteners should be replaced with stainless steel. This step often requires some small modifications in the interest of stability and the possibility of easier future disassembly.
The cleaning of corrosion from ornate iron calls for care and a balance between wear and leaving some corrosion. Fine powdered glass is our blasting medium of choice.
Each cleaned piece receives an epoxy primer. In this case we used Keeler & Long (PPG) Kolor-Poxy 3200. Final coating for maximum durability would be an acrylic aliphatic urethane. A good alternate coating capable of easy touch-ups as needed would be a silicon alkyd. However silicon alkyds can not withstand immersion.