Lambert Water Meter

This is a disc water meter with split case and serial number 1,011,900 that fit a ⅝” pipe. The bronze case is marked “THE LAMBERT M.F.D. BY THOMSON METER CO. N.Y.” The dial reads in gallons and is marked “MANUFACTURED BY THOMSON METER CO. BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.” This probably dates from the early 1920s.
John Thomson, a prolific Scottish-born inventor raised in the United States, was one of the first Americans to realize the advantages of a disc water meter. In the mid-1880s, he met Frank Lambert, a French machinist in Brooklyn who had designed a typewriter with the letters arranged on a nutating disc. Working together, Thomson and Lambert designed a water meter featuring a nutating disk. The Water-Waste Prevention Company was formed to produce meters of this sort, and reorganized as the Thomson Meter Company in 1891. With Lambert as its president, Thomson Meter introduced the Lambert meter in 1898, claiming that the new model “embodied all the improvements which the tests of time and long service have proved to be requisite in a perfect meter.” The Neptune Meter Company acquired Thomson Meter in 1925 and was still offering Lambert meters in the late 1930s.
Object Name
water meter
date made
Thomson Meter Company
Physical Description
bronze (overall material)
overall: 8 3/4 in x 7 1/2 in; 22.225 cm x 19.05 cm
place made
United States: New York, Brooklyn
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Water Meters
Measuring & Mapping
Natural Resources
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Water Meters
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
A.A. Hirsch

Visitor Comments

4/19/2014 12:49:35 PM
Madeleine Tringali
While digging a trench for a new water line (house was built in 1910) my husband found one in our backyard today - S/N 1355577. We'll disconnect it from the line and display it at the house. Interesting to learn a little more about it. Thanks for the info. Have a great day
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