Henry Dreyfuss designed Crane sinks — how to tell if yours was made before or after World War II

Here’s more must-see-TV from our friends at Bathroom Machineries also known as deabath.com. These Crane Drexel bathroom sinks — designed by famous industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss — were super common before World War II through 1970. In this video, John (who also is my contact at deabath.com*) shows us how to determine whether your Crane Drexel sink was made before World War II, or after, from 1948-1970. Hint: It’s all in the handles.

John also reminds us: These sinks have an amazing provenance: Designed by Henry Dreyfuss, who was arguably the most famous industrial designer of the 20th century. Note the integral porcelain spout — cool. And, the lovely lines of the apron. These sinks are works of art.

1949 crane drexel sink

Henry Dreyfuss design 1948-1970 — dome handles are the only difference, otherwise the sinks are identical. This entire faucet still can be replaced.

Henry Dreyfuss design 1947 and prior

Henry Dreyfuss design 1947 and prior — cross handles and visible escutcheon. Safeguard your handles if this is what you have — there are no replacements

We also learn what the Pac Man handles are called — “dome” or “canopy” handles. Even more specifically: Temple Handles (must be a Crane-specific term), and deabath.com refers to them as Drexel handles. Above: 1949 Crane Drexel with post-war dome-style handles… and to the right, 1937 sink with the pre-war cross-handles — both pictures are from deabath’s website.

All of the parts to repair the post-WWII Drexel handle are available from deabath.com. But if you have the pre-WWII handle (with cross handle and visible escutcheon), safeguard these — there are no replacements, although you can get stems. I love these videos! There are now eight on youtube, and I am featuring them here, too. See my previous posting: How to install new escutcheons and handles onto a 1950?s vintage American Standard sink.

I love these videos! I love deabath.com — they really seem to know their stuff. If you have Crane… or need any type of parts for a vintage bathroom… or if you need colored bathroom fixtures… their site would be my first go-to recommendation.

*Deabath.com is a longtime advertiser on my site. But, this story is not part of the deal. Info on how I make money on the blog here.

Want to see more Crane eye candy ? See my 26-page kitchen catalog from 1953 here.

crane kitchen catalog

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Comments

  1. nina462 says

    My sister married a Crane. My Dad used to make this joke to her…I thought of you today when I was using the bathroom….Standard Crane plumbing…..little funny joke 🙂

  2. Martha says

    When I saw this on Facebook, at first glance the sink looked like a friendly little ghost’s face. Too cute. I like the little faucet nose.

  3. Janet in CT says

    I was surprised to see the large drainboard sinks came in colors too. I have only ever seen white ones so I thought that was the only color available. I just love these old sinks and far too many of them are ending up in landfills. I think the old kitchens, especially the one with the dining nook, are fascinating!

  4. Nancy H says

    A contractor accidentally broke my white Crane Diana sink when he was replacing the light above it. The tub and toilet are sill in perfect condition. I am looking for a replacement. I’ve spent some time on the internet which is how I pinpointed it is a Diana. Any ideas?

    • pam kueber says

      deabath.com — creators of the video — are the first place i’d try. i was on their website earlier this week, i think they might have some dianas. other than than, craigslist — BUT, it’s gonnna be hard, I bet, cuz sellers won’t know it’s a Diana. ReStore would be the other place I’d stalk – if you have the time to wait it out.

      • Nancy says

        Thanks for the thoughts Pam. I plan to hit restore this weekend. I did find a beige Diana online but I know I won’t be happy with that. So the search continues.

    • Henry says

      Nancy,

      I have a Crane Diana. I’m not a reseller, just someone obsessed with Crane Mid-Century Plumbing. Currently my inventory includes two white Criterion Sinks with original stainless and Lucite legs, one white Criterion toilet original seat, one jade Criterion toilet with original seat, one pink Criterion toilet with original seat, one pink Criterion tub, one grey Diana sink, one white Diana sink, and two white Drexel sinks.

      If you still need the Diana, I may be able to help you. I’m not looking for profit here, just to make right your plumber’s wrong. My master bath houses my white Criterion suite and it’s gorgeous. If I can help you bring your bathroom back to its original condition, please let me know.

      best,

      henry

  5. philq says

    We have original Crane fixtures in our bathrooms…Crane Drexel console on chrome legs in Citrus Yellow with Dome handles in the powder room, two tiled-in Crane Dianas in white with Dome handles in the guest bath and two tiled-in Crane Criterions in Shell Pink in the master bath. All in very good shape. One of these days I will contact deabath for some replacement parts to restore them to like new. I was not aware that they were designed by Henry Dreyfuss!

  6. Ana says

    I bought a white Crane Drexel off Craiglist before I remodeled my bathroom, but I ended up installing an IKEA one (the smaller size Ann sink). The Crane is sitting in the garage, and now I’m thinking I should swap it in.

  7. says

    We removed a post-WWII sink last year. I knew enough not to trash it, but need to look a little harder to find a buyer. Do you have a forum for sinks or just the metal cabinets? I sold our St. Charles cabinets, thanks to you!

  8. Melanie says

    We had a crane post-war sink in our former house. I kept it (and the tub) when we remodeled. Alas, I feel certain the owners that bought from the folks we sold to ripped it all out…

  9. IowaJoyce says

    HELP! I’ve two bathrooms with white double enameled vintage sinks, upstairs is the slant back. The downstairs is flat, perpendicular to the wall. Some !E$$#@!! plumber (pre-me!) replaced the water spouts with standard chrome. What’s most amazing is that there are square spouts coming through a round hole…. UGLY!!! Researching this site, and the deabath, it appears there is supposed to be ceramic water spouts, but I can’t find any information on them. Even a round spout would improve the looks. Any ideas?

  10. Terri says

    Thank you for the vid! I now know that I have a pre-WWII Crane Drexel sink. It has the cross handles, I need to double check on the bell-shaped pieces (too lazy to look up the spelling). It was in use up until the 80s, when the apartments on the third floor of my building went derelict because of the roof. The question is now, can we remove it, restore the chrome, and reinstall it at my new mid-mod house.

    I also have the world’s most elegant and outrageous pedastel sink that I will be subbing a photo of and putting up in the forum before I move.

    Terri

  11. David says

    I have a Diana sink in good condition, except for a crack in the back of it. Anyone have a use for it? I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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