Dishmaster factory in Mitchell, Indiana – Mom & I take a road trip

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

As part of my trip to Louisville last week, I visited the home of the Dishmaster – a fun road trip to Mitchell, Indiana.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

Roger Swayer, owner of the company that makes this wonderful authentic retro kitchen faucet, gave my mom Fran and me a tour, told us how he ended up the caretaker of this amazing brand, and then took us for wonderful lunch at the nearby Spring Mill Inn, where we also met his wife Millie.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana
From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

The factory is a small operation – with lots of personal attention to the production of each Dishmaster faucet. There are six employees in this subsidiary of the business – including Sharon, above.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

Nearby, Sam was fabricating Dishmaster brushes – on a machine that has been in continuous use since 1948! Roger and Sam explain that it can be finicky, especially after the lunch break – but it gets the job done just as good as ever once it gets going.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

The steps to make the Dishmaster are mapped out on the wall. Every single unit is quality-tested by an employee.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

How did Roger and SilverStream LLC end up with the Dishmaster? Roger explained that the Dishmaster got its start in Pontiac, Michigan. The inventor/owner also had a place in Southern California. So the faucet was successfully marketed in those locations, in particular. Then, as Dishmaster owners – who are exceedingly loyal – retired to Florida, Arizona and Nevada, they took the faucets with them, literally and figuratively. The early models, Roger points out, look like Studebakers, and you can still see the Michigan/automotive influence in the M76  models today.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

Roger’s company SilverStream LLC acquired the original Dishmaster company in 2004, after seeing it advertised for sale in a trade publication. SilverStream had previously manufactured and sold bathroom fixtures – under the brand name Indiana Brass Co. – but they eventually had to exit the business as the mainstream fixture market moved to Asia. They had been looking for something unique to fill the gap – and are seeking to give the Dishmaster brand a whole new lease on life.

From Dishmaster factory, Mitchell, Indiana

At the end of the tour, Roger even showed me all these mint-in-box, new-old-stock Dishmaster faceplates from history, bought up with the factory and tooling four years ago. Guess what I came home with.

Thanks so much to Roger, Millie – and Ronda, my key contact at SilverStream LLC – for their exceedingly kind southern hospitality!!!

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Comments

  1. Tera is the Isles says

    This is fantastic! I’m going to get one soon for our kitchen! Plan on remodeling in the near future.

  2. Lawrence Bill says

    This is very cool stuff Pam. I love factory tours. It’s really remarkable to me that this dishwasher, this piece of Americana, is still being made. Thanks for doing this.

  3. Culver City Bronwyn says

    Very interesting! We bought a Dishmaster 2000 for our kitchen (sorry, Pam–it was only weeks before you were selling them) and although it had a slight leak, the Dishmaster Customer Service was EXCEPTIONAL. We received thoughtful follow-up phone and they replaced the faulty part within a week.

  4. JB says

    I was wondering if anyone has a preference between the 76 or 2000? They both look very cool. I want to stay close to the 50′s/60′s…Thank you!

    • Noah T.W. Givens says

      Well, actually the 76 regular model looks Jus’ like the 1959 model BUT I ordered (for about $45) an original frontplate. When I asked why so expensive they said, ” ‘Cause there are just a few left. When these are gone there are no more…. ” And to duplicate the original frontplates today would be prohibitively expensive…. maybe as much as $100 each.

      The 76XL will certainly do for the 50′s retro kitchen ’cause there WERE sinks in those days with the pull out sprayer. You can STILL hang up the spray/brush wand as usual behind the spout pivot even with the 76XL model.

      Wouldn’t it be something if they could duplicate the 1949 model?

      I’D BUY ONE ! ! !

  5. ilcoryell says

    how much and how doi order them and where?
    i had one for 30 yrs finly wore out i threw it out
    il coryell

  6. John Warner says

    Hi, I noticed on picasa you said you sell the vintage dishmaster faucet covers. If so I would to see what you have and get a price. I just bought a dishmaster for my 50′s ranch house and would love to get a cover. Thanks, John

    • pam kueber says

      Hi John, I don’t do this anymore – but contact the dishmaster folks directly – they have them, i believe. dishmaster-faucets.com

  7. Rick Santina says

    I had to replace our wall mounted kitchen faucet in 2001. Long story short the Dishmaster folks produced the only American made faucet I could find. I purchased the unit, installed it while my wife was out and presented it to her as her anniversary gift.
    The line around our house is, “Nothing says ‘love’ like a Dishmaster.”

  8. Lynne in LA says

    we’re in escrow on our wonderful midcentury modest first home and it has an old worn out dishmaster faucet in the kitchen. now i know where we can replace it! thanks, pam!

  9. Amy Jeannette says

    My mom swears our Huntington Beach house had a “push-button” sink faucet, with a coffee grinder, blender, ice cream maker, and a UV light sanitizer, among other things – including this Dishmaster scrubber. I can’t find any such thing. Does anyone know of such a MCM behemouth? It would have been late 50′s early 60′s they’d have bought this menagerie…

  10. John Taylor says

    Twenty years ago, I became interested in Retro Items. I started to restore my home to its earlier years, the 1950′s. It was a challenge, but a fun challenge I may add.
    I started looking for faucets for my kitchen and I found the one that I wanted it was a Dishmaster set. Well, I decided to venture out and see where I may find them. Well, I finally found the ad on this web site and was reluctant to find it. To my surprise I discovered that the manufacturing company was in my Mother’s home town.
    It gives me great pleasure to say that I am happy to see that the Dishmaster has a place in my heart just like it does in my home.

    John Taylor

  11. 20Twenty says

    I just got new stem ends the other day but noticed one of the seats had a notch in it…probably corrosion. That means I’m not far off from needing the whole unit. It was in the house I bought in 1976. I only get 35 years of use? Geeeze, things just don’t last these days.

  12. Janet says

    What is it like to use one of these?

    Does the sprayer brush get gummed up quickly and have to be replaced often? Is it more reliable and usable than the general run of sprayers?

    If you also have a dishwasher, is better to buy the coarser brush for pots and pans?

    If you have the older-style Dishmaster, is it a pain to have separate controls for hot and cold?

    Considering its use as a faucet only (disregarding the soap and sprayer), how does the quality and performance compare to a regular faucet?

    I’d like to have a Dishmaster just for the looks but my husband fears it might turn out to be merely gimmicky.

    • says

      Hi Janet,

      I worked in a hardware that sold the Dishmaster in the ’60′s. They are a very reliable unit, and the biggest wear points are the brushes, and the soap dispenser assembly. DO NOT use just any old dish soap in the unit. It will corrode the soap dispenser assembly. Dishmaster still sells the special soap on their website. (dishmaster-faucet.com) The first home I bought had a Dishmaster in it. My wife loved it so much, that we bought another one when we purchased our 2nd home. The 2 handle system works just fine, but you’ll find out that you use the hot water a lot more because you don’t have to have your hands immersed in it. I only used the red pot & pan brush and the black regular brush. It works really well on residue left in pans and on dishes. The big thing that I liked about it, was that you only have to handle the dishes once! Pick them up, wash them in the sink, and put them in the dish drainer to dry. No pre scrubbing is necessary such as needed for a dishwasher, and since you most likely have to wash the large pots & pans by hand anyway why not just go ahead and do all the dishes. Also, no filling the sink with soapy water, and then washing dishes in dirty water, no having to load and unload the dishwasher. I just love my Dishmaster, and I have one waiting to be installed in our new home right now! I will strongly recommend the unit, quality made in the USA!!!

  13. says

    I recently got one brand new and the faucet just fell off the pivot thingy.

    I’d MUCH rather have the oval one pictured on the pegboard than the M76 I got from California.

    Noah 8-?

  14. pat miner says

    i have a different twist to Rick Santina’s “nothing says love like a dishmaster” at our house!!

    i wanted a dishmaster for my birthday and while on trip to beach last week, my husband ordered one and had it installed while we were away.

    i walked into kitchen to see a bow on the spout- only to see that it was a 2000 model!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He had such a big smile on his face and i loved him for the thought
    however…… i wanted the m76xl, our home was built in 1955!!!

    then i realized that the m76 has seperate hot and cold

    PLEASE could some of you comment on the spererate hot and cold:
    is it a pain to use seperate faucets (spoiled or what?)

    OR absolutely worth it for the midcentury look.

    I love our mid-century house, bought it when visiting a garage sale that was next door, one owner, well cared for and we only changed one tub for walk in shower.

    Oh yes, we did turn the nice gazebo into a city chicken coup!

    He is willing to make amends and change it out.

    could you please respond soon :)

  15. CarolK says

    I’m pretty sure that top picture is from the old Queen for a Day TV show. It starred Jack Bailey and he’d ask at the beginning of each show “Would you like to be Queen for a Day?” It’s pretty cool that one of the prizes they awarded was a Dishmaster.

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