This thing reminded me of one of those steam train water stations that you see occasionally next to a set of tracks, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that this is where the water truck refills at, as it is similar in design and right next to the water main (the galvanized steel pipe in the background). I never did see it in use though, so it might be something else entirely.
And while trying to see if steam train water station has a more proper name, I found the worst eHow article ever:
In the early 1900s, large water containers were used to fill the steam-powered engines. Nowadays, a large hose will suffice.
1 Connect the hose to a water spigot.
2 Remove the cap to the water tank in the train’s engine.
3 Place the other end of the hose in the water tank.
4 Turn the dial on the water spigot all the way to the left to begin filling the train’s water tank.
5 Monitor the water level in the train’s engine.
6 Turn the dial on the water spigot all the way to the right when the tank is full.
7 Remove the hose and replace the cap to the train’s water tank.
The dial on the water spigot? Is that similar to a knob or a handle? Are people trying to codify common sense on the internet? I can tell you with certainty that as long as I’m here spreading misinformation via the same mechanism, that’s never going to work out. I’m off to write an article on how to fill a bucket.
Maybe these posts would be less cranky if I wasn’t so hungry when I wrote them.