04/18/14 415 W - + 18 - 10 UPDATED: Raleigh Hose Thread History

April 18, 2014
Was teaching class last night on North Carolina firefighter history. While discussing the first fire hydrants installed in Raleigh, questions were made about the "Raleigh thread." What's the history there? Here's a blog post from 2009 that provides a bit of information.

I've been told that Raleigh's thread is the same that New York City uses. (Correct?) And I've seen historical references to Raleigh and Durham adapters, carried on each city's engines, for those mutual aid occasions. (Can recall a pair of instances when Durham sent engines to Raleigh, for fires at Dorothea Dix and at the Yarborough House in the 1920s.) 

As memory serves, city engines in more recent decades carried adapters for "other hydrants." That a correct memory there? Would those have been county hydrants? (But there aren't such things, right?) Private hydrants, with different threads? Maybe I'm thinking of adapters for Cary or Wake Forest or...

September 14, 2009
Question of the day. When did Raleigh start using its own hose and hydrant threads? From this 1924 report, there were 464 hydrants in the city on May 31, 1924. All were Mathews pattern, except for 64 Columbia and one Glamorgan. What are or were those patterns? Don't know. Nothing found on Google (yet). Hose couplings sizes were listed in the below chart. And that chart is repeated in this 1931 report, which lists 557 public and 133 private hydrants in the city on February 28, 1931. By that time, the report added, adapters for Durham hose were carried on Raleigh's Engine 1.

Connection Nominal Size,     
Outside Diameter,
Male Threads, Inches    
per Inch
Raleigh Hose 2 1/2 3 21/64 6
Raleigh Hydrants 2 1/2
3 21/64
4 55/64
Durham Hose 2 1/2 3 8
Goldsboro Hose
Fayetteville Hose
Wilson Hose
2 1/2 3 1/16 8
Henderson Hose 2 1/2 3 7/32 8
National Standard     2 1/2 3 1/16 7 1/2

What does the above chart tell us? First, that Raleigh wasn't the only department with its own hose thread. In fact, none of the above departments list coupling specs that exactly match National Standard. When did Raleigh adopt their coupling size? Good question. The city's first fire hydrants were installed in 1887, with hand reels and sections of hose also purchased. Hose had appeared earlier, for the 1870 steamer, and possibly even earlier for the city's hand engines. But it was 1887 that hydrants appeared, and when far more hose was added to the fire department. Hose was subsequently standardized, and by 1924 at least. Alas, Sanborn Maps from the 1880s to the 1910s don't help. There's no information on hose or hydrant threads.

Wilmington’s 2 1/2 hose is 3 1/4 × 6 (six threads/inch. About the same as Raleigh.) Hydrants are the same, but our hydrant’s stems turn backwards to open.
Ryan Young (Email) - 09/15/09 - 18:58

I don’t recognize any of the other threads but Durham’s 3 × 8 is call New York Corporation thread. My first volunteer dept. used this thread also.
stretch - 09/15/09 - 19:13

Good presentation at Bay Leaf last night Mike. Thanks for coming out to see us.
Bob Edmundson - 04/18/14 - 08:37

Can’t speak for the cities apparatus but New Hope carries “Raleigh adapters” as well as “normal adapters”. We also refer to both “Raleigh hydrants” and “County hydrants” but its denotation has more to do with its coupling size than its location relative to city limits.
D. McKay - 04/18/14 - 09:28

FDNY couplings are 8 TPI. See this chart. Raleigh is 3.328”

stretch - 04/18/14 - 10:45

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