The water fountain as we know it was first invented in the early 1906 and is credited to two men - Halsey Willard Taylor and Luther Haws. Haws patented the first drinking faucet in 1911.
From those humble beginnings, when water coolers used large blocks of ice to chill the water, to the self-contained electric water cooler in 1938, there are now a plethora of models and types to fit every need.
Although first "barrier-free" electric water cooler was invented in 1972 by the Haws Corporation, it wasn't until the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 that these accessible water coolers came into their own.
Bottled water dispensers have been around since before the middle of the 20th Century. These units depend on gravity to provide the water in a free standing unit. Cooling units were added later.
Today, many water coolers or dispensers include a heating element to provide hot water along with chilled water. Some are even offered in designer colors and shapes to fit into any decor.