Collecting Vintage Watering Cans | Living the Country Life
More
Close

Collecting Vintage Watering Cans

Watering cans are beautiful tools, and vintage models are just as useful and attractive as the day they were made, especially to gardeners and collectors. William Bryant Logan, in The Tool Book (1997), credits enterprising French and English gardeners of the late 19th century for the shape and style of vessels we recognize as watering cans today. French watering cans tend to be oval in cross section, which makes them easy to carry, with a graceful handle arching from the top of the can to the back. English-style watering cans often have two handles, one for carrying and one for pouring. Vintage watering cans in working condition (without leaks) can command high prices. Keep your eyes open for watering cans at estate sales and flea markets. These cans might be somewhat the worse for wear, a little beat up and missing their rose, but they still lend instant history to a garden.
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    American-Style Watering Cans

    This typical American-style watering can has two handles, one for carrying and one for pouring. American watering cans are made in the English style and often have a generous spout and a rose the size of a doorknob that screws on and off. This galvanized steel watering can says “Cream City” on the side, a name that was once applied to Milwaukee.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    British Haws Watering Can

    The Haws watering can—a tall vessel with two handles, a long spout, and a distinctive brass rose that gently waters—was patented in 1886 and remains a classic. Haws watering cans were designed with long spouts to reach plants at the back of nursery and conservatory shelves. These cans also have high collars around the top to keep water from sloshing out. Fine old Haws watering cans with their polished-brass roses and hawthorn-leaf medallions sell for about $150. 

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    French-Style Watering Cans

    This antique French watering can is made of painted galvanized steel. Vintage watering cans in working condition (without leaks, even if with some repairs) can command high prices. Keep your eyes open for watering cans at estate sales and flea markets. These cans might be somewhat the worse for wear, a little beat up and missing their rose, but they still lend instant history to a garden.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    Child-Size Watering Cans

    An antique child-size watering can with a shiny brass rose delivers an enchanting spray of water.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Manufacturers Mark

    Some vintage watering cans will carry the manufacturer’s mark. The shiny brass Haws logo is a hawthorn leaf and berries. 

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    The Rose

    A rose is the cap-like end of the spout which has small holes to disperse water. The rose is often detachable, like this No. 2 rose which fits on standard metal Haws cans. 

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Watering Can Wall Display

    Hanging a collection of watering cans makes a big impact on the wall of a shed or garage and forms the backdrop for a garden border.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Watering Can Art

    Packed tightly together, a collection of mundane vintage items such as salvaged watering cans becomes a work of art. It helps if the watering cans leak from the bottom to prevent stagnant water. 

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Art with a Watering Theme

    This collection of aged watering cans festively hangs on a garland of braided garden hoses.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Fence Décor

    Simply hang on a fence for double-duty storage and decoration.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017
  • Photography by Bob Stefko

    Damaged Watering Cans

    If a watering can does not sit flat or has a convex bottom, that usually indicates it has been left outdoors, full of water, in freezing weather. You can hammer the bottom carefully to make it flat again, but the damage might have been done: Freezing sometimes splits the seams around the base, and your watering can might no longer hold water. A bead of waterproof silicone caulk around the inside edge might solve the problem. The unusual design of this big green watering can, with its broad hooded top, delivers a drenching spray and helps prevent spills.

    Date Published: May 17, 2017
    Date Updated: May 17, 2017

Latest Blogs

Betsy's Backyard |
5/24/17 | 3:07 PM
Every spring, we create a to-do list of things that need to be done around our small...read more
Everyday Gardeners |
5/18/17 | 4:23 PM
The humble wire tomato cage has much more potential than simply bracing up a rambling...read more

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login