Halsey W. Taylor
Halsey W. Taylor. Courtesy of Halsey Taylor
Halsey W. Taylor invented the non-squirting drinking fountain. In 1896, Taylor's father died from typhoid fever. This illness is principally spread through contaminated drinking water. Several years later, while working as a plant superintendent for the Packard Motor Car Company, Taylor realized numerous workers were becoming sick with dysentery. He believed contaminated drinking water was the chief reason for the spreading illness.
Taylor determined to develop a drinking fountain that was sanitary and would not contribute to the spreading of various illnesses. By 1912, he had developed a drinking fountain that he claimed was much more sanitary. He began to manufacture the drinking fountains in his hometown of Warren, Ohio. Taylor continued to improve his product, and during World War I, he invented the "Double Bubbler" drinking fountain. This fountain dispensed two streams of water in an arc. Previously, drinkers commonly had to place their mouths on or near the faucet, helping spread germs. With Taylor's drinking faucet, the arc of water allowed drinkers to be several inches away from the faucet, reducing the spread of illnesses.
With the invention of the Double Bubbler, demand soared for Taylor's drinking fountains. During the 1920s and 1930s, Taylor's company, which was named Halsey Taylor, manufactured more than eighty percent of the drinking fountains in the United States. Halsey Taylor continues to manufacture fountains today, although the company is now located in Oak Brook, Illinois.