The mystery of the hootie ring – first clues uncovered

hudee ring ad

It’s not a hootie ring. Or a huddee ring. It’s a hudee ring. I still don’t know why it’s called that exactly – presumably there was a Mr. Hudee involved. But now, we at least have a paper trail via these 1958 and 1959 ads. At this point the ubiquitous metal ring for porcelain kitchen and bathroom sinks was sold by the Walter E. Selck and Company of Chicago. And according to the second blue ad, there were 1062 different kitchen and bathrooms sinks to take a metal ring!

In my research, I see there are numerous other manufacturers. But by 1958 some 5 million Hudee rings seem to have demonstrated their superiority in the market. Alas. It does not seem their days of ubiquity would last much longer. Although: You can still get metal rimmed sinks today from Kohler and Crane.

1958 hudee ring for a crane bathroom lav sink

Related posts:

1958 hudee ring ad
59 hudee ring for a crane bathroom sink

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Comments

  1. says

    Cool! The apartment I live in has a sink with one of those rings, I hadn’t realized it was particularly ‘vintage’ feature though the whole place is mostly un-renovated 1960s. I don’t think the sink is anything special, there’s no mark except EMCO on the faucet which isn’t necessarily the same as the sink…

  2. says

    Yes, Jerry – I need to do more research (actually read all the ads I’m now finding) – but from what I can tell they were marketed promoting the ‘one long flat’ workspace concept. That ring catches dirt, yes, but the whole installation is much flatter than a drop-in sink. And, undercounter sinks didn’t populate until…granite countertops, I presume. Thanks for the Comment. We have an Architect, hurray!

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Actually, no, Pam, the under-counter sink isn’t a late 20th/early 21st century invention. I grew up in a house (haunted, actually, by a benign former owner) that was built in 1902 in a small city in Connecticut and had the original bathroom when we moved in. There was the ubiquitous claw-foot tub with a circular shower curtain rod suspended from the ceiling. We weren’t allowed to take showers, only baths, as the curtain leaked horribly. The bathroom also had a small marble counter in the bathroom that had wrought iron brackets attached to the wall in back, with a backsplash of a separate piece of marble. Underneath the marble counter was an under-mount porcelain sink that was perfectly good except with a hairline crack. One day, in 1961,while setting my hair in rollers (remember those?), I dropped a comb in the sink. It must have hit that crack at just the right angle, and the whole thing shattered all over the floor. I remember being horrified and afraid my dad would be very upset. Actually, he laughed and said he wondered when that was going to happen. I remember he did have a terrible time finding another under-mount sink the same size, and we had to brush our teeth at the kitchen sink and wash our faces under the tub faucet for weeks. Shortly thereafter my dad rearranged his repair priorities and redid the bathroom in 1960s style, with a regular vanity with drop-in sink and an enclosed tub/shower and this laminate faux tile on the walls of the bath enclosure. I remember being very sad to lose the Victorian tub, even though the new tub was nice and new and easy to clean. That’s probably the day I caught the retro-renovation bug.

      • pam kueber says

        Thanks for this clarification. Yes, I also recall seeing Victorian style bathroom sink tops — marble — cut to hold an under counter sink.

  3. Culver City Bronwyn says

    I hadn’t realized that this was a particularly vintage feature either–aren’t I glad that we got one in our remodel? We purchased a CERA porcelain sink at our local hardware store. It just about drove our contractor nuts when they had to order the “beauty ring”. It took awhile for the the hardware store to get one in stock (thus holding up the kitchen work for a week) and now that I am aware of the rarity, it makes more sense.

  4. Penn says

    I live in an old farmhouse with a kitchen that dates to the mid-50s, but I doubt the people who put it in ever heard of Eames. It has a double sink w/double drainboard, and the whole thing is encircled with a hudee ring. I discovered the carton in which it came, probably half a century ago, in the basement on top of one of the oil tanks. It was from Mr. Selck’s company. I can’t imagine why the former owners of the house kept it, but think the contractor may have stuck it up there with the leftover laminate scraps and no one realized it was there. It’s empty, but if you want me to see if there’s any info I could try to pull from it, just let me know. It does say “Hudee” on the carton.

    I want desperately to replace the dull blue laminate on my counters with nile green, but am so nervous about pulling up that sink and possibly ruining or losing one of those hudee ring clips that I’m stalling out. Why no one makes those clips is beyond me. And “nile green” is a distant but realistic choice to my first, which the never-to-be-found Textolite laminate, in Fern Camelot. Sigh. Did you know that stuff was actually fabric?

    On the up side, I did discover that I have the most wonderful retro vinyl flooring in the kitchen, the original stuff that must have been put down in the 40s or 50s, hidden under 2 layers of fake tile vinyl. The original flooring has pieces of white, green, and pale blue vinyl embedded in a translucent, pale amber matrix, along with gold foil bits that make the whole floor twinkle. I’m uncovering it now, with the help of acetone to remove the hard yellow adhesive that was used to lay the first “tile” layer on top of it. Slow going, but worth it.

  5. Femme1 says

    Wow, Penn, that’s a job and a half. Just make sure you don’t lose too many brain cells inhaling all that acetone. Good ventilation is a must!

    And, being a words person (writer, editor), I have to comment on the whole Hudee ring saga. It’s interesting to me to see the evolution of “Hudee”—the name of the manufacturer—to “hootie.” Of course, if you only ever HEAR the name and never see it spelled out, you’d think it was “hootie.” And then, Bronwyn’s contractor ordered her a “beauty” ring. I can just see some old plumber talking about a “Hudee” ring, and a younger apprentice thinking he must have said “beauty” ring. For some odd reason, this makes me happy.

  6. Gary says

    I have a 1997 RV with a hudee ringed sink and removed it to update the kitchen countertop. Didn’t know the name of the ring or that removing it would damage it. Learn the hard way and trying to find a sink that will fit is becoming a precious learning process.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Gary, we have a 1982 Terry camp trailer that we have been fixing up, but are avoiding replacing the laminate countertop for the very reason you mention. There is a Hudee ring, not around the sink but 3/4 of the way around the stove, and we are afraid of ripping it up. We got a lot of ideas about fixing up the camper by going online and finding chats about various problems with repairing campers, but there must be a site like this for retro renovating trailers. There’s a great book out of the UK called _My Cool Caravan_, but it’s mostly visuals of restored campers and has no information about where people got their parts or how they installed them.

  7. Janet Switzer says

    I just bought a Kohler sink with the metal rim. According to my plumber, the wholesale house says these rings are being discontinued. So if you plan to get one, do it soon!

    Hopefully some insightful plumbers who remove sinks with Hudee rings will think to save them and put them up for sale on eBay.

    • pam kueber says

      I’ve emailed my PR contact at Kohler to get the official report on what/if anything is going on with this sinks. Oh my, I hope they are not being discontinued!

  8. Rufus Valentine says

    Actually, let me clarify: The house was built in 1928 and had some remodeling done around 1950, including cement asbestos siding, a large picture window installed in the front, and additional kitchen cabinets built in. The counter and white porcelain sink probably came later around 1960 based on the gold-flecked Formica pattern.

    Anyway, I just love it as it is. And I’m so thrilled to find this site and others who feel the same way about their homes.

    Thanks, Pam!

  9. Beverly Fann says

    Is there any way to clean up the hootie ring around my kitchen sink? It has several dull areas that I have not been able to get rid of. These dull spots make it loook like it is always dirty.

    Thanks.

    • pam kueber says

      Beverly, I believe these are stainless steel…. so I imagine a stainless steel cleaner? If you want to get a new one, Vance Industries has 18 sizes in stock or can make you one to order. Oh, and it’s “hudee”, dear! 🙂

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      I am coming late to this thread, but if you are still there and wanting to clean your Hudee ring, Beverly, try a vintage cleaning product, Cameo Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cleaner. If your local grocery or hardware doesn’t have it, you can look it up on line and purchase it from a number of vendors.

  10. says

    Is it possible to re-seal a hudee ring where the seal has broken? I can see mold growing under the one in our bath. We just moved in in June.

  11. Amanda Sparks says

    I’m looking at the kohler tahoe sink with the hudee ring. Does anyone know if the ring is matte or polished?

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