14 four-inch-center bathroom sink faucets suitable for a postwar bathroom

4 inch retro faucetsSince Pam’s favorite 4″-centerset bathroom sink faucet (from Strom Plumbing ) appears to be no longer available, Pam assigned me to search the sea of other styles available today to identify other options. I found 14 retro bathroom faucets — all sitting on on four-inch centers —  from nine companies that we think would be a good aesthetic fit for a mid-century bathroom sink.

Search tip: Several of these faucets are labeled for commercial use — so a reminder, as we’ve discovered before: checking a company’s commercial offerings can be a gold mine for retro home products such as faucets, flooring and lighting.

AND: As time goes by, be sure to check the comments on this story, too, as readers often find additional options and add them to our comment stream. We may not update this story for a long time — so read those comments, too.

14 retro bathroom sink faucets on 4″ centers:

Union

This list of 14 is roughly in order of our aesthetic preferences — our favorites at the top. However, we are not experts on quality, so that is something you will need to research.

Elements of Design:

Elements-of-Design-faucetThe Metropolitan style faucet from Elements of Design is a top pick for looks (love those hexy edges). It looks very similar to one of Pam’s all-time favorite styles from Strom Plumbing/Sign of the Crab — Mississippi faucet — which is no longer available as a 4″ centerset design.

Union:

post-war-bathroom-faucetAbove: Top of our “we like the looks list: We like the angular styling of this Union brass 70A 4″-center chrome lavatory faucet from Locke Plumbing. It’s Pam’s sense that faucets in the 1940s and 1950s had angular design touches like this; not 90-degree angles — but angles like you’d see on a hex nut.

Kingston Brass:

retro-faucetThis affordable Kingston Brass 4″ centerset faucet — available through Amazon.com — has great “hex” details that make it a pick for a post-war bathroom faucet.

Kohler:

mid-century-retro-bathroom-faucetAbove: The Kohler Triton 4″ centerset faucet would look great with a pastel hudee-rimmed sink in a mid-century bathroom. I’m considering this style to replace the high arc bathroom faucet in my hall bathroom.

Chicago Faucets:

mid-century-bathroom-faucetsAbove: Another company offering a few options of retro-styled 4″ centerset faucets is Chicago Faucets. Both faucets would work well in a mid-century pastel bathroom. Above left: Model number: 802-244ABCP  Above right: Model number 802-1000-244ABCP

Pfister:

retro-styled-bathroom-faucetAbove: We just recently learned of two retro-styled 4″ centerset faucets from the Pfister Pfirst line through a tip from reader Matthew, who used these affordable faucets in his mid-century bathrooms.

Matthew writes:

Hi! I wanted to turn you on to the “Pfirst” line from Pfister – I have chosen them for the “refresh” of my Mid Century Modest master bath. I think the lines are very appropriate, and you rarely see the double metal handle design. (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Pfister-G143-6000-Centerset-Bathroom-Polished/dp/B002TWK4SA)

Simple, good taste, and a classic design that has been around since the 50s. They’re very reasonably priced as well. Perfect to go on my vintage seafoam green sink.

Thanks for a very helpful site!

Matthew  (Proud owner of two vintage baths – pink and seafoam green. Both currently being remodeled to highlight the vintage charm.)

retro-bathroom-faucetAbove is another mid century styled faucet from Pfister’s Pfirst Series — an excellent choice for a retro bathroom refresh. Mega thanks for the tip, Matthew.

American Standard

retro-single-handle-bathroom-faucetPam previously identified this American Standard single handle 4″ spread Colony bathroom faucet as one that could be straight from the pages of a 1955 Homart bathroom catalog. Note: Reader Jason just wrote us to say he purchase this faucet. He said that while he likes the looks in his bathroom, he was disappointed that the material used on the bottom throat of the faucet spout (the non-shiny piece/plate you see in the photo above sweeping from the inside base of the faucet up to the where the water comes out) is a chrome-covered plastic, rather than metal, Jason said. Looking at the Pfister photos, it seems like their design might use this sort of material in their design as well. We do not the trade offs.

Moen

mid-century-bathroom-faucetI found this  Chateau Chrome two-handle low arc 4″ centerset bathroom faucet from Moen, which is similarly styled alternative to one of the Pfister faucets above.

Delta

retro-styled-bathroom-faucetDelta had two options for 4″ centerset mid-century styled bathroom faucets. The first is the Classic chrome two handled lavatory faucet. Note, we are now at the point in our list where the faucet part is getting too tall and rounded and swoopy (rather than squat and angular) for our period tastes. But, there’s some appeal to these last few, so we’re including them.

vintage-style-faucet-bathroomAbove: and from Delta’s commercial offering, this 4″ centerset lavatory faucet.

California Faucets

retro-styled-centerset-faucetIf your bathroom leans more towards the prewar, this 4″ centerset faucet from California Faucets could be just the ticket. Pam wrote about California Faucets vintage-style faucets before, and it is great to know this classic style is still available. But prewar bathrooms faucets: Well, that’s another story…

Wolverine

vintage-style-bathroom-faucet-crystal-knobAnd heading into the postmodern era — If 1960s and 1970s crystal knobs are your thing, this Wolverine Brass Endurance Lavatory With Pop-Up Acrylic Handle from Locke Plumbing has a nice look.

Three specialty 4″-6″ spread bathroom faucets

shelf back faucetSince Pam constantly gets emails from readers who are looking for  replacement slant-back or shelf-back bathroom faucets, we also wanted to repeat our known resources. Our first go-to source woudl be DEAbath.com, which offers both slant-back and shelf-back faucets — above.

retro-shelf-back-faucetsAnd, above: The Kohler Triton line also includes a shelf back option, which is what Dave and Fran used in their 1930s bathroom remodel. Thanks, Dave, for this tip!

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Comments

  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Good Morning, Kate and Pam!

    Matthew, I envy you your seafoam green bath! Can’t wait to see when you are finished with your projects. All I want is a seafoam or mint drop-in sink, and have not found one yet. None of the companies that make retro sinks have picked up the color yet. The shower and toilet in my second bath are white, but I can paint the rest of the bathroom the right shade of green to go with the sink.

    Just wanted to add that when we went shopping for a faucet for our newly restored pink bathroom, we were surprised that not all the faucets that fit our aesthetic were actually made in this country. Home restoration products made in the USA are a top priority of ours. When you buy a faucet online, it doesn’t always say “imported” or “made in USA.” So readers who share our priority should go to the plumbing supply store or call up the online source to inquire.

  2. virginia says

    This is one of those things wherein one feels one’s life flashing on the screen. I feel like I’ve encountered all of these faucet features over the course of the last 60 years–because I have. We are now living with American Standard in our main bathroom — which sounds grand. One of two bathrooms — both very small — House built in 49.

    Mary Elizabeth — I’m with you on looking for stuff made in the USA. Just because that would be good.

    I’m interested these days in some odd things — linens from the period, including towel sets. And trivets and plates. And bark cloth which I became collecting in the 80s.

    Faucets and plumbing are crucial of course and in this sense I’m all about functionality. HVAC and plumbing in these old houses — again, 1949, N. Arlington, VA — are a constant constant headache and their maintenance can mean not being able to do other things.

    One of few reasons I envy more recent structures.

    • Allen says

      I think the more recent structures will develop these problems you have mentioned sooner rather than later. This is why its so important to use the highest quality materials that can be afforded especially on things that you touch all the time (faucets, doorknobs, light switches etc).

  3. Marcia says

    I recently installed the American Standard faucet in my bathroom. I have liked these single-handle faucets ever since my Dad installed one in our house about 1959. I, too was disappointed to find the underpart made of gray plastic. You don’t see it when the faucet is in place, but still, I can’t help but think it’s not going to last like an all-metal fixture would. The packaging said it was made in Mexico. For now I’m quite happy with it. It’s so chrome-y and easy to clean. We’ll see about its longevity.

    • says

      What I did was to go to habitat for humanity at the RESOURCE store in my area. They have vintage sink parts with THE METAL underpart you can possibly intertwine with your newer faucet.
      I had found an old crane sink with this kind of faucet and stripped the part off the old one.
      That way maybe you can have the best of both worlds of old and new if the piece should fit your newer to replace the junkie looking plastic one underneath!

  4. db says

    I really prefer single-handle faucets (“must be able to turn on with elbow” is my primary requirement) like the American Standard, but was similarly disappointed as other RR readers when I saw it in person.
    We recently installed Delta Foundations 4 in. Centerset 1-Handle Low Arc Bathroom Faucet in Chrome (Model # B510LF-PPU) which is chrome all over, very affordable, and makes me happy, even if “the look” isn’t quite the same.

  5. Rudy says

    You had to rub it in! As I sit here waiting for my plumber to come fix my fancy Electric Eye auto shutoff mickle Dornbracht bath faucet that cost $2500.00, you have to go and remind me how smart the designers and buyers were “back then.” I actually have one of these in my laundry room. The delta needed a new cartridge after 12+ years I think. I think I got 4 cartridges for $10 or so. Next house, these are DEFINITELY on the list. The fact they look wonderful is certainly a plus!

  6. Sam R says

    I really wish Kohler made that Triton shelf-back faucet so that it could be extended to an 8″ center pattern. I have a gorgeous grey American Standard sink with a worn-out faucet, but I don’t want to spend $350 or so to rebuild/rechrome it for use in a basement 3/4 bath.

    • says

      Small update – the Union Brass models for slant and shelf back are adjustable from 4 to 8 inches. The Central Brass models are only adjustable from 4 to 6 inches. So, here is my score sheet:

      Central Brass:
      – Less angular design (but still MCM)
      – 4 to 6 inch spread
      – Metal valves (this makes the hot water taper off when running)

      Union Brass:
      – Much more angular designs
      – 4 to 8 inch spreads
      – Ceramic valves
      – 1/4 turn option available.

      Pretty sure the Union one is a better bet from a feature perspective – I’ll probably be ordering one soon to find out!

        • Sam R says

          I may be out to lunch here, but I thought that the Kohler Triton was also adjustable from 4″-6″. The 8″ spread is the hard one to find, and a complete functional/cosmetic rebuild on one through DEA Bath would run about $350. $160 is much more palatable, and will allow me to use that lovely vintage sink!

      • Sam R says

        Thanks for the lead on these! The spout on the Central Brass slant-back faucet is a much better cosmetic match for my 60 year old original Briggs faucet, and I just found a brand new one on eBay for about 1/3 of the Home Depot price!

  7. says

    This article is great – we were just beginning to look for a replacement faucet for our half bath. It has a 70s crystal on it now that we want to get back to something more appropriate. In addition to Union Brass, there is another vendor Central Brass as well.

    Upstairs we have a pair of slant back faucets – we put the Central Brass model in a few years ago and it’s a great faucet. There are only 2-3 vendors of slant backs out there – the two I found are Central Brass and Union Brass. The Union Brass ones are a bit more angular than the Central ones. I may have chosen them at the time had I known about them.

    I’d suggest perusing both the Union and Central Brass lines in their entirety – they basically make great faucets for both. Interesting note for the Union Brass model – you can get it with quarter-turn handles as well. Here are links to their lines (they include pictures):

    Central Brass (you have to click the faucets PDF on the right): http://centralbrass.com/TPM.aspx?PAGE_ID=638

    Union Brass: http://www.unionbrass.com/ublavatoryfaucets.htm

    • pam kueber says

      Thanks, Douglas!!! Kate’s next assignment is clear – to complete our “slant back faucets” resource list!

  8. Maureen Bajeyt says

    I think it should also be noted that the American Standard and Chicago Faucets models shown are good for aging in place. Our home has interior doors but came with no knobs! But, after learning from many older neighbors about the difficulty of turning an egg-shaped door knob, I began to realize how important it would be for us to add knobs that won’t be difficult for arthritic fingers.

  9. Jay says

    How timely. Yesterday before tackling yard winter clean up I decided to visit a furniture consignment warehouse. There was a beautiful mint green wall sink with chrome legs and towel bar across the front. It still had the faucet attached but the hot water handle was missing its “H’ cover. I seriously considered it for the $ 125 but for the future hall bath reno I think I am leaning towards the banjo sink top for a little more counter space.

  10. Lilly says

    The Union sink faucet with the triangular handles is the exact faucet we had in the bathroom of my parents 1950’s rambler when I was a kid. I have a weird photographic memory of things like that for some reason.

    Their house was built somewhere between 1954-57.

  11. Peg says

    I recently bought the Union Brass faucet shown for the retro bath we’re building. It goes well with the Symmons Temptrol shower valve I picked that has a triangular handle. They have the same shower handles in my mom’s 1950s highrise though I dont know if they are original. Symmons doesn’t make a matching faucet but the Union Brass one looks like it was made for it. It isn’t installed yet but it feels heavy and well-made, probably because it’s meant to stand up to commercial use.

  12. says

    That single handle American Standard is in our hall bath in our 1974 vintage tract house. Works as well today as it did the day we moved in 1980. The first Pfister you show is in our master bath. It has had many washer replacements over the years.

  13. Joe Felice says

    The American Standard single-lever faucet doesn’t look all-that mid-century, and I don’t recall ever seeing one of those back then. Like many, though, I recognized all the others! I always thought that Delta was just beginning to bring out single-levers in the late ’50s. It’s ball inside was pure genius! They always came with a little tool to make all the repairs, which were easy.

  14. Sam R says

    For those of us who have ledge-back and slant-back sinks with 8″ centerspread faucets, Union Brass is the only manufacturer who has one listed for that application in their catalog. However, I received an email from Central Brass today with the part number for an 8″ conversion center tee for their 1177 (ledge-back) and 1178 (slant-back) faucets! CS-43009 is the part number, it’s not in the Union Brass catalog but it is available. I think Chicago Faucet Shop lists it on their web catalog.

      • Sam R says

        I finally installed one of the Central Brass 45* slant-back faucets on my original pink 1954 Briggs sink this weekend. It looks and works great! The original faucet hadn’t been removed in 60 years and was leaking, though it’s overall in good mechanical condition. The drain assembly was so stuck in place that I had to use a Sawzall to remove it.

        After faucet removal: [IMG]http://i928.photobucket.com/albums/ad121/SamCogley/House-FinishedWork/SinkDirty_zpsjotvqxup.jpg[/IMG]

        After cleaning (ROG 1 is great stuff!):
        [IMG]http://i928.photobucket.com/albums/ad121/SamCogley/House-FinishedWork/SinkClean_zpsejpiw5h2.jpg[/IMG]

        New Central Brass 1178-DA faucet installed:
        [IMG]http://i928.photobucket.com/albums/ad121/SamCogley/House-FinishedWork/SinkFinished_zpsik6e5n8m.jpg[/IMG]

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