Coffin Valve Company

Number 22566 Coffin Valve Co. advertisement in Boston Directory for 1895

Zebulon Erastus Coffin’s name appeared in the 1853 Boston Directory, giving his occupation as pattern maker in Boston.  Directories from later years indicate that he was a machinist and pattern maker and that he lived in Newton Centre. The year 1853 was the first time he was identified as a pattern maker.  In 1852, his entry in the Directory had indicated that he was a housewright.

Coffin was either making machinery or reselling it, including lathes, planers, slotters and drilling machines. Zebulon Erastus Coffin later became general agent of the Boston Machine Manufacturing Co., before starting his own manufacturing business for large valves and fire hydrants.  During his time with the Boston Machine Manufacturing Co., he was issued his first patent of a fire hydrant.  By 1881, he established the Coffin Valve Co., makers of fire hydrants and other valves for municipal water systems.  The name, Coffin Valve Co., appeared in the Boston Directory in 1881 for the first time.  In 1885, he received a patent for the Coffin fire hydrant.

Coffin and his family came to Dorchester in 1891 to live at 19 Frost Avenue.

In 1892, the factory at Neponset was mentioned for the first time in the Boston Directory.  the factory was located at the end of Tolman Street.

1892 ­­Coffin Valve Co., 285 to 297 South, works at Neponset

The company became a supplier of large valves to the Metropolitan Water Works in Boston and to municipalities across the country.

The 1918 Bromley Atlas indicates that the factory was still located in Neponset that year, but the works was destroyed by fire in January 1928 in a $400,000 four-alarm fire.

No. 22562 Photograph from Metropolitan Water Works found on

No. 22563 Photograph from Metropolitan Water Works found on










No. 22564 Advertisement on the internet of Coffin Value Co. advertisement

No. 22565 Advertisement on the internet of Coffin Value Co. advertisement

Fire Engineering, June 12, 1907

The Coffin Valve Company

 “The Coffin Valve company, of Boston, Mass., is one of the oldest manufacturing concerns engaged in the design and construction of water valves, having been engaged in this work for nearly thirty-five years. This company has attained a national reputation as makers and designers of the largest sluice and gate-valves built and used in America. This reputation has been secured by long years of faithful and conscientious dealings, and there are but few of the largest enterprises, either municipal or corporative, which have not, at some time during the past thirty years, drawn upon the resourcefulness of the, talent of this company. Waterworks engineers, superintendents of municipal departments and managers of power plants realise today that it. is absolute wisdom to equip their systems with valves of the highest possible grade, and, on that account, have purchased their appliances from this company. The Coffin Valve company has for years specialized in heavy works—that is, valves of large magnitude and of unusual character. The ballbearing stand here illustrated, is one of the most efficient and up-to-date devices, which have been placed upon the market in late years and by its use have made possible the installation of valves of larger diameter than ever before considered. This stand enables one man to open and close a gate—something which, previous to its introduction upon the market, required the energy of several men to do. Modern and up-to-date men realise more and more that time is money, and that, when a break occurs in a water main, or when a fire occurs in a large business district, it is absolutely essential to open and close certain valves at a distance with great rapidity. To meet this demand the Coffin Valve company has developed a line of valves controlled by electric motors, operated either at the gate or some distance away. The value of this equipment is apparent to anyone interested in these subjects. This company has made a specialty of this subject and has given much time and expense to developing as nearly as possible, a perfect valve one which can be relied upon to perform absolutely this function, when needed. All interested in this method of control and their allied appliances should correspond with the Coffin Valve company tor further details. The company offers to send catalogues and current literature to engineers and prospective buyers upon application for such.”

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