The History Of The Water Cooler

History tells us that the water cooler was invented in 1906 by Willard Taylor and Luther Haws as the first drinking water fountain with the intention of providing safer drinking water. Initially, the drinking fountains offered water at room temperature, but an increase in demand for this novel idea led to more refined fountains that provided cooler water, which killed micro-organisms that led to disease. At this stage however, the functionality didn’t exist for water treatment that purified the dispensed water.


Fast forward a few years down the line and water coolers had been improved significantly to become smaller, lighter and more efficient. A wider range of options also came into existence to cater to the different needs of the consumer. Health and safety became more of a priority over time and in recent times water coolers have become more sophisticated with inbuilt purifying systems. Also, many water coolers today include a heating element to provide a hot water option alongside the chilled, refreshing water that so many of us have become accustomed to enjoying in an easily accessible way.


What has become a normal, often expected feature in the office has evolved and been enhanced over time to provide us with hassle-free, convenient, healthy water. Many a joke or informal business discussions have been shared around the water cooler in the office without much thought given to the origins and significance of this important office feature. With several hours of the day spent at the office, the water cooler has become a necessary source of hydration, refreshment and social custom. Employers need not be concerned about the ‘time wasted’ around this valuable office feature as the water cooler has earned its status as a vital component of office life, serving employee needs on a physical and social level.


The next time you find yourself gathered around the water cooler with some of your fellow employees, fight the urge to feel a sense of guilt for work time lost. Instead, console yourself with the fact that without the valuable ‘water cooler’ time, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to network, make the necessary introductions or found the perfect setting to start an important informal conversation that leads to better working relationships and an increased quality of ideas in a relaxed, natural setting. In all honesty, the water cooler has become very much a part of the office environment and the occasional stroll to this wonderful source of refreshment could very well turn into a wonderful opportunity that leads to a breakthrough you may not have made stuck at your desk.


Top Coolers is part of the Top Vending Group. Top Vending has a large national footprint, with headquarters in Gauteng, branches in Cape Town and Durban, and selected service partners in secondary cities. For further detail and guidance on water cooler machine solutions, visit and browse the online store.

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