History of NYC's drinking fountains


Interesting. I never knew the part of the fountain the water comes out of is called a “bubbler”. I used to know some people from Wisconsin who called drinking fountains “bubblers”.

In Scotland, many years ago, I came across a drinking ‘fountain’ in a village train station,

An old cast iron sink with a standard faucet was built into the wall, a metal cup, attached at the bottom by a chain, was hanging upside-down, handy for a wee drink.

I’m quite sure it was all very sanitary.

Or perhaps people aren’t the infected septic tanks the makers of hygiene products want us to imagine. Many of us actually have an immune system capable of handling lethal germs without any triclosan at all.


I believe the answer is: “How is polio transmitted?”, Alex!

It may shock you to learn I have adventurously used dozens, perhaps hundreds of public fountains, and have escaped polio every single time. Not only that, I have used quite a few doorknobs without first disinfecting them and still don’t have the bubonic plague. Industrial chemists are at a loss to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps I come from Krypton.

Or perhaps you live in a society where there already are well-functioning sanitary and medical systems, and other people generally/regularly wash their hands and all that stuff you touch.

/Definitely not a neat freak, but if I were in some areas of the world, I’d have to be.

I have never really understood the purpose of the little “shield” doohicky on the outside of the bubbler. Is it to prevent people from sucking on the nozzle? Or a windshield to prevent the water blowing around?

I got a severe strep throat infection that was assumed to be from an airport drinking fountain (I was ~3-4 yrs old). I was hospitalized for a while and the Doc wasn’t going to release me for Xmas – got to go home Xmas eve. That bloody doctor turned me into a germ freak – finally eased out of it during my teen years.

It’s to prevent people from putting a finger on the burbler/nozzle and spraying.

All people from Wisconsin call them bubblers. Because that’s what they are.

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