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Drinking Fountains Ideas Dogs and Vending for Vitamins & Aspirin and Bottle Filling and Beyond

Updated on March 26, 2015

The world of drinking fountains was invented by a sanitation worker named Luther Haws and yet the accessories for this needed machine have lagged in recent years. There are drinking fountains for dogs, there are now bottle fillers but where is the tiny vending machine for dispensing singular pain killers for those in municipal buildings, hospitals and health clubs?

How many times have you had a headache and just wanted one aspirin? Or perhaps you start to feel the chills and worry about a cold invading your system? Wouldn't it be great if there were vending machines right above all drinking fountains that provided these tiny essentials in life?

Drinking fountains need a vending machine right above them. Aspirin, vitamins, zinc, cold remedies - we need quick, single doses made available to us. Especially at the hospitals. But let's not stop there, we have schools, health clubs, churches and public buildings. What do all of these places have in common? Groups of people. Groups of people with germs who would like to try out a single dose of zinc if people all around them were sniffling and coughing. Then when they are at the store, the will pick up a full package.


Drinking Fountain

colorful clip art of person leaning over a drinking fountain
colorful clip art of person leaning over a drinking fountain | Source

Bubbler - The Reason for the Invention

Water fountains were invented in Wisconsin because a Wisconsin man's father died of typhoid which was caused by drinking contaminated water.

The man's name was Halsey Taylor and thus Taylor partnered with Luther Haws of the Haws Sanitary Drinking Faucet Co.

Today we have filtered drinking water in our bubblers, thanks to Elkay who is headquartered out of Illinois and known around the world for stainless steel sinks and bubblers.

The addition of UV or layered ozonated water has been discussed but as of this writing, sadly the sanitizing of the water lines and pipes in the machine remain. As you have read I am huge believe in clean, sanitized water but also know the line in our distribution system can harbor contaminates. The water lines in a home, the water lines in a bubbler need to be for distribution only and the point of use sanitizer should be the last item before the drinking water.

Safety concerns start and end with clean, sanitized water. Clean is not sanitized and we need to remember that to have a healthier future.

Dog Drinking out of Water Fountain

Dog Drinking out of Water Fountain
Dog Drinking out of Water Fountain | Source
Dog Drinking out of Water Fountain
Dog Drinking out of Water Fountain | Source

Water Fountain with Four Stations

three people drinking from water fountain
three people drinking from water fountain | Source

EZH20 by Elkay - Bottle Filling Station Retrofit

EZH20 by Elkay - Bottle Filling Station Retrofit
EZH20 by Elkay - Bottle Filling Station Retrofit

Bubbler or Water Fountain - Which Word is Correct?

This is the classic argument and while I grew up in Illinois and only knew the term water fountain, when I attended Marquette that was the classic discussion with the common line "bubbler - that is not a word for the water fountain". And yet, if we research the origin of this word we learn that bubbler was the very first term and justifiably Wisconsinite's were right - bubbler is word that can be used interchangeably for water fountain. Why would Wisconsin be correct? Ironically because the invention of the bubbler originated in Wisconsin!

Bubblers = Drinking Fountains

Drinking fountains were originally called bubblers by the state that created the very first drinking fountain - Wisconsin - my new home state!

As a former Illinois resident, when I attended Marquette University the proper term for the "drinking fountain" was the controversy among students. Illinoisans contended the correct term was "drinking fountain" such as myself, Wisconsin residents used "bubblers".

Origin of the Term "Bubbler" - Wisconsin

If you research the development of drinking fountains, the original name given was "bubbler". The Wisconsin residents were correct! Surprisingly, not only were the Wisconsin residents correct, but the term bubbler originated right in Wisconsin where bubbler were first invented.

Future Holds Greener Technology with Sanitized Water

Already we have seen the trend both from the consumer and businesses alike for greater reliance upon green energy, green building materials and sustainability. We will also see that the future will hold a greater understanding of the chemical and bacteria in our water supply. A need for sanitized water will very quickly emerge globally. With that need a combination vending machine to deliver a single dose of an over the counter prescription and sanitized water will be needed.

Retrofit for Drinking Fountain to Include Bottle Filler - Great Innovation

Bottled water and the concern for the plastic in the environment have a great new choice available in the marketplace - a retrofit for the classic drinking fountain - a filler station that fills faster and easier your own reusable water bottle.


Future Holds Greater Need for Self Service

Inventions for greater convenience and self service are a profitable trend. Labor as we have learned is an expensive commodity that must be conserved. Check out lines in the stores are trying to train consumers to scan and pay for their own items. Gasoline stations in the United States are all almost exclusively self serve. In fact you must be a baby boomer or older to even remember a self service gasoline station.

The future will be global. The future will be more and more self service. The highest and best use of new inventions will be in the medical fields.

Check out a video below about an innovative medical machine.


Luther Haws - Berkeley California - Father of the Sanitary Drinking Fountain

Luther Haws was a sanitation inspector with the City of Berkeley. With his knowledge of sanitation, plumbing and metal, he combined his skills and introduced the first public drinking fountains for our public schools.

Drinking fountains have been around for centuries but the idea of sanitation was Luther's contribution. Haws started his company in 1909 and was awarded a patent in 1911.

Haws is known as the father of the "sanitary drinking fountain".


History of the Drinking Fountain

What is interesting is the need for hydration has been around since humankind has existed. Going to the water fountain, pulling up water was an essential part of even the biblical stories. And yet, while the invention of the wheel was fundamental, the invention of the fountain was really the idea of Luther, a sanitation worker.

Medical Vending Machine

Other Thoughts and Innovations on the Water Fountain

Now that we have determined that the standard drinking fountain (the one without the bottle filler on top) is lonely and need a small vending machine on top for singular pain killers, let's also explore the other innovations that the water fountain has available today with new technology. From filtered water, to purified water to sanitized water to classic health club use of the bottle filler.

Drinking Fountain with Bottle Filler

drinking fountain with bottle filler showcasing the number of plastic bottles saved on the digital counter
drinking fountain with bottle filler showcasing the number of plastic bottles saved on the digital counter | Source

Filtered Water at the Bubbler

Just as tap water had a bad reputation for many years due to lack of knowledge, so too, I feel the water fountain is misunderstood and often avoided. Elkay is changing that by including filtered water in their fountains.

Yes, your drinking water at the bubbler is filtered and your maintenance staff should be changing those filters.

It would be nice if someday Elkay upgraded their bubblers to include a light to showcase the active state of the filter - green working fine, yellow - order the filter now and red - change the filter please!

Mother Nature's Water at the Bubbler

Speaking of groups of people in confined buildings, would it also be great if the water that was delivered at the water fountain or bubbler also was a natural water that killed bacteria?

Layered ozonated water would be ideal for this application because it is Mother Nature's water that is pure and also has the power to naturally disinfect and actively combat harmful bacteria.


Sanitized Water

Sanitized water via ozone has come a long way. Ozone has been Mother Nature's very own completely chemical free sanitizer for billion of years. Yet, mankind was not able to harness it until the advent of the computer.

The military and the physicians were scared of ozone as they understood cell lysing. Combine cell lysing with the fact that man had no method to control the amount of ozone and the reasons for concern were real and properly founded. Today, however, new circuit boards, new technology brings us ozone that offers a higher level of sanitization over UV but with all the safety of UV.

Imagine having a water fountain that naturally sanitizes with ozone to effectively combat influenza, bad breath and all the harmful bacteria that water can effectively carry into the human body? That is the power of ozone.

Why is ozone better than UV? Just take a swig after a cup of coffee and your friends will share with you that ozone is the ultimate breath mint. Remember, ozone is the new palate cleanser but it also eliminates the fuzzy feeling on your teeth and coffee breath.

Plain Drinking Fountain Needs Vending Machine

plain drinking fountain needs vending machine above it for dispensing singular pain killers
plain drinking fountain needs vending machine above it for dispensing singular pain killers | Source

Share and Compare Your Thoughts

What Would Be Your Choices for the Mini Vending Machine Above the Drinking Fountain?

See results

Beyond the Pain Reliever

Beyond the pain reliever, I would like to see breath mints, mouth wash - those sanitary items that make our lives more pleasant. I know the gum companies would like gum but I am thinking more medicinal than the sugary substances. The mini tooth brushes would be my first choice. What would you choose?

Vending Above Water Fountains - A Must for Hospitals

Hospitals are often those places we don't plan on attending and having access to a tooth brush could make the visit more enjoyable for the visitor but also the patient. Fresh breath is something that we must include not just in the morning but right after that cup of coffee or snack.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Below

Love innovative new green ideas? Share this story with friends and family by choosing one of the many share button below.

Also, please share with your ideas and thoughts on future innovations. What trends do you see emerging? What would make your life more convenient?

What would you like to see in the mini vending machine above the drinking fountain/bubbler? Do you see the need?

© 2010 Ken Kline

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