SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- Did you know the drinking fountain was invented by the founder of the family owned and operated Haws Corporation now located in Sparks?
The great-grand-daughter of Luther Haws revealed the circumstances that led to this invention. His story begins with a problem he noticed at a public school in Berkeley, California.
"He was looking at the kids drinking out of a cup and sharing it," said Haws Co-Owner, Stephanie Kilroy. "Given that at that time they had lots of influenza he thought, 'I know what I can do, I'm going to go back to my lab and see if I can make a drinking fountain,'" she continued.
He took a ball valve and a porcelain post from a bed.
"He drilled a hole in it (the porcelain post) and put a squeeze valve up on the top and attached it to a hose and water came out of the top and that was the first rudimentary drinking fountain in 1906," Stephanie said.
The water fountain has come a long way especially at the Haws Warehouse at 1455 Kleppe Lane in Sparks.
This 210,000 square foot facility is where the Company's latest and greatest water fountains and other water related products are assembled.
The most popular product is the eye wash machine used in science classrooms and other areas just in case chemicals or other materials get into eyes. Roughly 12,000 of the units are sold every year.
Sandy Cretu is the production leader for Haws and assembles regular water fountains. "We receive all the parts from outside the Company and we put them together from scratch piece by piece," he said.
Haws also makes the natural looking water fountains covered in small stones you see in outdoor public places. Do you ever wonder how the Company gets the small rocky texture on them?
Small rock is added to the cement mixture used to make the fountain's base. A high power washer is then used to remove small layer of the outer cement exposing the signature natural look. It's only possible because of a specialized paint put on the inside of the mold. It weakens the outer layer of cement so that it is easily washed away to expose the beautiful rock beneath.
Another popular Haws product is the integrated decontamination unit. It's a large portable industrialized shower and is able to drop 20 gallons of water a minute as the eye wash spout, inside this unit, pushes out three gallons a minute.
You can find integrated decontamination units all over the world in places where workers could potentially need quick decontamination from a chemical.
These products are shipped all over the United States and to places like Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and South America.
Haws in Sparks provides 141 jobs.
Copyright KOLO-TV 2019