Can anyone identify this old strange valve stem and washer (?)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mikey, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    A friend is trying to be a handyman, but for his first job he got into a leaking shower installed in the 50s or so, and extracted a valve stem with an odd washer arrangement:

    Martin's mystery stem.jpg

    I apologize for the lousy picture - it was taken with a cellphone under poor conditions. Anyway, the valve stem is more-or-less conventional until we get to where the washer normally sits. In this device, the end of the stem has a small swiveling piece on it, and the "washer" is quite large -- maybe 7/8" or so -- and is made out of metal with a feature that looks like a spring wrapped around it, but it's not a separate piece. The whole "washer" thing appears to be a solidly machined piece.

    In the picture, the washer-thing is leaning on the swively-thing (forgive me for using all these technical terms). I see no way it can actually be attached to the stem, but I wasn't there when it was taken out of the fixture, and I'm glad I wasn't. Any clues? I'll try to get a better picture, with scale, on Monday.

    The plumbing is all galvanized pipe, of course, but that's another problem.
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

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    It's an American Std. Aquaseal stem. Do a search to find a supplier that has them.

    John
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Thanks, John -- they're readily available on line (around $30 for 2 complete stems), even at that big store named after a river in South America. BrassCraft is making (or at least distributing) repair kits, but the stem was pretty badly butchered during removal, so I think he's going to need the whole stem, if not a new fixture. They're probably available locally, but I'll leave finding them to my friend, who likes driving around town a lot more than I do.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    They are also available at hardware and "big box strores" for LESS than $30.00.
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    I suspected that, but as I said, finding them is a job for my friend (we live in the suburbs of a town of 1700). I sent him the information early this AM and haven't heard back yet...
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    quote; we live in the suburbs of a town of 1700).

    If the town has 1700 people, how many does the suburb have?
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Actually, I should have said city of about 1700. That's the number everyone bandies about, but Mr Google says anything from 1580 (US Census Bureau, July 2011) to 11,720 (zip-codes.com). The most recent list of registered voters shows 5581 in the two districts containing the city proper, but voting districts don't mean squat these days. Suburbs is also a bit of exaggeration -- we're technically in Unincorporated Polk County. One of Polk City's mottos is "The Gateway to the Green Swamp", which probably doesn't encourage a ton of tourists, but does describe our geography -- were in the southern edge of the Green Swamp, an 870 square mile area "which represents rural Florida" and is a haven for naturalists. So the northern suburb is pretty-much unencumbered by civilization, which is starting to crowd us from the southern region.

    It would be an interesting project to ask everyone in the area if they consider themselves in the "Polk City suburbs" or not, and plot the results. Maybe I can talk a local sociology student into doing this as a thesis project -- I'm sure there's grant money available. It's a nice place to live, but there's talk of putting in a stoplight, which will be the beginning of the end, IMHO.

    Taking all this into account, I'd say that 2,729 folks live in the suburbs; I'll check with some friends in the county GIS (Geographic Information Systems) IT area and see if they've got a better number (and maybe a better definition of the "Polk City Suburbs" boundary).
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    quote; but there's talk of putting in a stoplight, which will be the beginning of the end

    Yes, once you have one stoplight, then they want two, next will be parking meters, and finally speed/red light cameras on the stoplights. Then you will really be "modern".
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Yup, I can't wait. That'll be time to move on. Is Cave Creek as nice as it sounds? I guess we're traying off topic here.
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