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Looking Back

Posted by Doug Gardner on

Did you ever wonder about the evolution of fountains? Like …”how did they develop over time from functional and symbolic uses to the decorative and creative statements pieces of today…?” Today we take a pause from some of our more typical content and explore a bit of history.

Originally, fountains were purely for functional use. Fountains were also built to celebrate their builders, a famous figure, or in homage to a god or other spiritual figure. Primary uses for water fountains were bathing, washing and drinking water. Until the late 19th century, they were connected to springs or aqueducts that were at a higher elevation than the distribution spout, using gravity to force the flow of water. Over time, pump systems became more complex, as did the design and materials. As you can imagine, functional fountains were often centrally located in a town or village.

By the end of the 19th century, fountains generally took a turn away from functional, moving toward much more decorative purposes. As indoor plumbing became the standard, outdoor fountains were no longer necessary for a community’s washing, drinking and bathing. This was true for urban communities; many rural communities still relied on traditional outdoor pump fountains for water on a day to day basis.

Today, we see all sorts of decorative fountains in parks, hotel lobbies, nightclubs, airports, big houses, and business offices. We see spectacular fountains in museums, amusement parks, casinos, pools, and on cruise ships. With the popularity of fountains in the last century, models have become highly customizable to suite different needs, interests, and budgets. From the largest fountains in the world to the table top fountains we put in our home and office for a little extra relaxation, the possibilities are endless.

What’s your favorite style? Is it the unconventional sculpture fountains – made from copper or other metals, most often? Do you like more of the traditional cement cast throw-your-penny-in-for-a-wish fountains while on a stroll in the park or garden? Maybe the art fountains are more your style…something that looks like an original painting or large photograph, but that also comes to life with the sound and flow of water cascading over the top of the piece. Personally, I am so happy for the evolution to decorative and creative fountains. It’s not only my business, but it’s a passion.