Over at firehydrant.org, they say that Morris Greenberg invented the “California” type of fire hydrant, and already I’m dizzy at this glimpse of obscure industrial history. That was decades after Greenberg, a Jewish immigrant born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1823, had started the Eagle Brass Foundry in 1854. The Jewish Museum of the American West devotes a page to Morris Greenberg that includes a photo.
Greenberg’s foundry, an essential building block of San Francisco, made all manner of metalwork. It was especially prized for its mastery of ship’s fittings, including the demanding art of casting bells.
When Morris died in 1884, his sons Leon and Joseph carried on, renaming the firm M. Greenberg’s Sons. The firm was going strong a hundred years later under the same name with Morris’s grandson Stuart in charge. But in 1969 they sold themselves to the Rich Valve Company, and that was that. Rich Valve was acquired by Clow Valve, adding Greenberg’s “wet barrel” hydrant design to its portfolio.