A first noticeable difference between Europe and the USA is the one of the fire hydrants. In the former, the fire hydrants are usually located underground (1) whereas in the latter, they are above the ground and they have a pillar-like appearance. This form is a nineteenth-century invention. The shape and form of the pillars` caps and their color follow a strict code that any local fireman would know to interpret in case of an emergency.
Some fire hydrants are creatively painted in themes like the US flag or in matching colors of the nearby houses. Due to its aesthetic and decorative look, as well as its massive advertisement through movies, the fire hydrant became a synonym of the American life, better said, of the American summers. The popular imagination is used to the image of American kids playing in the spray of a fire hydrant on sleepy Sunday afternoons, somewhere on the deserted streets of a remote town.
(1) Due to the increased popularity of the American model, this type of fire hydrants is commercialized in Europe too. One can see them in city suburbs.