I very rarely have to water my flower and herb gardens. The containers get watered daily and the veggie garden once or twice a week. However we typically get sufficient rain during the spring and early summer months, making additional watering of the gardens unnecessary.
Not so this year! We’ve gone from a cold early spring to a hot and dry late spring. It’s mid June, and yet I’ve already had to water the entire garden three times. Although the dryness is surprising, I’m not really complaining. I’ve enjoyed using a couple of vintage water sprinklers for the first time.
I brought these two unique old sprinklers home, after Greg’s dad Bob Moore passed away three years ago. We found them in the garage. I don’t remember Dad Moore using the sprinklers, however, he used to have a garden 30 years ago, raising gorgeous tomato plants and rows of green beans. He surely used the sprinklers then.
After I brought the sprinklers home, I kept them with the double intention of displaying them in the garden and using them for the purpose they were made for…watering plants. This season, I’ve done both! The metal sprinklers are on display on the potting table that Greg built for me. And this past week, I’ve tried out both sprinklers.
The Square Sav-Water Sprinkler was manufactured in the 1930s. The company is no longer in existence. The square base creates stability and makes it easy to move the sprinkler around the garden. The sprinkler head is round and contains many tiny holes. I admit to a sense of child like glee as I attached the garden hose to this sprinkler last week and turned on the water. After a few sputters, as the force of water cleared years of dust from the openings, beautiful life giving water arced into the air and showered down on my thirsty plants. I laughed with delight.
The spray covered a surprisingly large area. I was very pleased with this “patent pending” sprinkler.
This evening I tried out the HECO Roselawn Sprinkler. Manufactured in the 1930s as well, this sprinkler came from the Heckethorn Manufacturing Company, located in Littleton, Colorado. The company does not exist there today, although it produced a variety of metal products until the 1950s.
This round sprinkler makes me laugh. It reminds me of a face, or a gas mask. I thought, as I studied the design, that it might put out two streams of water, making it less effective than the square sav-water sprinkler. It worked great, delivering a fine spray of water to the plants in a circular pattern. I was impressed with this sprinkler as well.
When I discovered that the sprinklers were made in the 1930s, I asked Greg if they originally belonged to his grandfather, rather than his father. Greg confirmed that.
Grandpa Bill was a gardener later in life. However, as a young man, with a growing family, he worked as a golf course superintendent in Wichita, Kansas, hired by the Wichita Board of Commissioners. He oversaw several of the golf courses in the area, responsible for the greens, grounds and landscaping, designing greens, and monitoring the health and environment of the golf courses. He held this position from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, precisely when those sprinklers were being manufactured.
I’m speculating here, since sadly I can’t ask Bill or Bob, but it is easy to imagine that Grandpa Bill purchased those sprinklers for his personal use, after using them successfully in his work. Or he purchased them from the golf course or they were given to him when new sprinklers were bought to replace them. Greg told me that after the Moores moved to Missouri, Grandpa Bill raised zoysia grass that ended up on several church and funeral home lawns in the county. And, he always had a huge garden. Those sprinklers were in use for many years, before being given to Greg’s dad after Grandpa Bill moved into an assisted living facility.
And now…these vintage sprinklers that are 75+ years old are watering my gardens. I love that they have history and a story. I love that Grandpa Bill used them and Dad Moore used them and now I do. They will pass on to one of my kids someday, whoever inherited a green thumb or at least shows an interest in gardening and growing things.
Give me these unique vintage metal sprinklers any day, over a bright green plastic sprinkler that might last a season or two. These sprinklers will still be watering gardens 75 years from now.