Who designed the New Orleans water meter? We sell water meter jewelry in our store on Royal Street, and people are very curious about the history behind the art.
There are several different water meter covers in New Orleans. One of them is made by the Ford Meter Box Company of Wabash, Ind. Another is the creation of M.W. Clark of Mattoon, Ill.
The most popular is the water meter cover with the crescent moon and stars, the one that has been reproduced on wall plaques, earrings, coasters, cufflinks, and T-shirts. This meter cover is produced by the Ford Meter Box Company, which calls itself a "company that cares."
It was in 1898 that Edwin Ford filed a patent application for the Ford Meter Box. Ford was living in Hartford City, Ind., at the time and was appointed the town's first superintendent of the water works in 1895. During his tenure, Hartford city found it necessary to meter all customers to prevent them from wasting water.
Water meters were placed outside in holes, and Ford came up with the design for the meter pit or "meter box," and soon the entire town was metered with the boxes.
Ford really had no intention of producing the meter boxes for anyone outside of Hartford City, but the word got around. Edwin agreed to make meter boxes for neighboring communities and did so in the basement of his house in his spare time. It was then that the Ford Meter Box Company was born.
The New Orleans meter box cover " the Crescent Box that is so coveted " was designed by Edwin Ford in the early 1920s after a visit to our city. New Orleans is one of Ford Meter Box's oldest utility customers, and in 1924, nearly half the company's sales were to the City of New Orleans. There was a time, however, when officials decided to replace the decorative covers in the CBD with plain ones to see if it would stop thieves from pilfering them.
The cast-iron covers are particularly popular with tourists. In fact, security workers found six of the 9-pound meter box covers in the luggage of travelers after the covers set off alarms on baggage-screening equipment. When one of the desirable discs was discovered in a passenger's suitcase, the traveler was removed from an airplane until he could prove he had purchased the cover from a French Quarter flea market.
I was driving with my parents down Banks Street in Mid-City and we passed 3701 Banks St., which is now Finn McCool's Irish Pub. I remember it used to be Joe's 19th Hole. My parents seem to remember it being an Irish bar roughly 30 years ago. Can you tell me what this place used to be?
I went down memory lane, and this is what I have to report. In 1965, the place at 3701 was called Evelyn's Banks Street Bar and Restaurant. A few years later, about 1969, the establishment was named the Zip Bar and Lounge, which it remained until 1993.
In 1994, the building housed Secure Communications Inc., but about two years later it became Joe's Zip Bar. The next year it became the 19th Hole.
I remember Lenfant's as always being on Canal Boulevard. My brother-in-law insists that his dad used to take him to Lenfant's on Canal Street. Is he correct?
Yes, he is. In the 1950s, there was Lenfant's Seafood Restaurant at 5236 Canal Blvd., but there was also a Lenfant's Rosedale Inn at 1915 Canal St. and a Lenfant's Liquor Store at the same address. And at 8600 Pontchartrain Blvd., there was Joe Lenfant's West End Tavern.