What can you tell me about this vintage faucet?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by savvygl, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Hello. First time post, though I have lurked this site on occasion for quite a while. So here is the deal...

    I am purchasing a house in Charleston, SC that was built in 1961. The guest bathroom is in original condition, complete with vintage tiles and fixtures. It seems to me that the tub/shower fixture is missing a piece that would act as an extension arm and allow for showering. As it exists now water comes out of the faucet around waist level. The faucet swivels up and down. Please see the pictures attached to better understand what I am talking about.

    I am hoping someone here could help me identify the faucet and tell me what I am looking for as a replacement part. I have conducted a google search with all the keywords that seemed logical to me and have not found anything similar so far. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is a Milwaukee Queen Anne style although several other companies, such as Lady Kenmore, also sold it under their brand names. The shower "riser" tilted up for use as a shower and down to fill the tub. It was also used in many RV coaches and trailers, so you should be able to find parts at a "good" RV service company.
  3. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Thanks for the info, hj! So... my house has plumbing hardware also commonly used in RVs? Classy.

    Anyway, this should be enough info to help me track down a replacement riser, but if anyone knows of a specific site or source please let me know.
  4. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    I am not very knowledgeable about plumbing fixtures, so please excuse the elementary question. Can this type of faucet be easily replaced without accessing from the back or opening the wall? If so, what type of fixture would I be looking for?
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is the other way around. RVs used a surface mount faucet used in homes. That faucet is COMPLETELY accessed from outside the wall. You need another one just like it, but since I have not seen one in decades, you would have to find out if anyone still makes that style. As mentioned previously, since it was a popular RV faucet, there might still be parts, and maybe even complete valves, still available. It is 4" or 6" centers instead of the more common 8" and connects to two pipes projecting from the wall. There are videos showing how to replace a surface mount faucet in a mobile home, but it is made of plastic and has the connections inside the wall, so it does NOT apply to your situation. If you remove the spout, and MAYBE the stems, the chrome cover will come off and you will see how your faucet is attached.
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,265
    Location:
    Maine
    On another note, that tile work is stunning. You don't see that much anymore unfortunately
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    At least not in green.
  8. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Thanks again for the feedback. I assumed this was an external valve set up. Fortunately, there are no leaks or problems currently except for the issue of not having the original riser for showering. I have seen several shower risers online, so hopefully I will be able to find a compatible piece (we close on the house in a month, so I do not yet have specific diameters, lengths, etc.).

    Sounds like there is good news and bad news if I ultimately need to replace the faucet. Good - the faucet is completely accessed from the front, which is great since there is not access from the back. Bad - this type of faucet (of a quality worthy of putting inside a respectable home) will be hard to find. I have searched Google land far and wide for any mention of Milwaukee or Lady Kenmore 'Queen Anne' style faucets and I have found nothing substantial. Anyway, knowing what type of hardware I am dealing with is really helpful.

    Also, Tom Sawyer, it's nice to hear a compliment on the tile work. It definitely looks like quality craftsmanship to me too.

    Personally, I really like this vintage color scheme (beats the heck out of pink, which we have in the master bath), but different strokes for different folks. Unfortunately, the floor tile has been replaced with run of the mill white 12" square tiles - I bet the original floor was a great basket weave or hex mosaic.

    Thanks.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I was going to call one of the local RV service companies and see if they had an "old time" service man who remembered them and might know if there was any replacement for it. The riser could have been a 3/8" chrome pipe, but it had a second "swivel" at the top so the head could be used as either a tub spout or a shower head.
  10. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    I am pretty sure this is a 6" OC faucet (haven't moved in yet, so I don't have access to it yet). 6" OC faucets seem near impossible to track down. HJ - I have not yet called around to find knowledgeable old timers at RV service companies, but that is a good suggestion that I will keep in my back pocket.

    I am just curious... hypothetically, if worst came to worst and I was dealing with a failing, irreplaceble 6" OC faucet, would something like this suffice?

    http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/detail.jsp?from=thumb&frm=&module=Faucet+Collection+Commercial&item=411902&prod_num=7252&section=2&category=20

    It is an exposed shower fixture with 6" centers. Notice the current placement of the faucet in the pictures above - seems like the height might work. I know with this specific faucet I would be sacrificing use of the tub. I am just curious if this type of fixture would be a compatible replacement.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2011
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It should. It may be your best alternative. However, California Faucets, makes an 8" Balboa wallmount with a diverter and hand held shower. You would have to use four 1/2" chrome plated street elbows to "swivel" the openings from 6" to 8", and it might look a bit "funky" or maybe just "unique".
  12. savvygl

    savvygl New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Since the last post I have found a few exposed shower/tub fixtures with either 6" or variable centers. I think that kind of fixture would work well in this particular situation. Anyway, I will be sure to document and post the when it is all complete so others searching for 6" OC solutions have an example. There is scant info on the web currently.

    Thanks for all the feedback, hj!
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There may be only TWO kinds of people looking for 6" conversions, and they may both be the same one, since Sears/Lady Kenmore, and by extension Milwaukee, were about the only ones using 6" centers. They did it with their kitchen sinks also, but they are easier to find, because some single handle faucets are convertible from 8" to 6".
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