The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets — from 1927-1962

vintage pink bathroomEvery Retro-Renovation-card carrying reader knows that pink bathrooms were wildly popular in midcentury America — thanks in part to First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, who popularized the color in the 1950s. When did we first see pink in bathrooms, though? And what were the different shades from the different manufacturers? I dove back into one of our favorite resources, The Building Techology Heritage Library on archive.org, to start tracking the history and see how many different pinks I could find in bathroom fixtures. 

American Standard pinks — Rose Du Barry (pinky purple Orchid of Vincennes), Corallin and Venetian Pinkvintage pink bathroom vintage pink bathroom vintage pink bathroom
vintage pink Kitchen sink

Above images: 1930 American-Standard Rose Du Barry bathroom fixtures and kitchen sink from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

In the 1930s, American Standard offered a Rose Du Barry pink (above) which looks to be a very rosy, bright pink. The company also offered Orchid Of Vincennes (below) that is likely a lavender pink, though it is hard to tell from the vintage catalog whether it leaned more toward purple or pink.

vintage lavendar bathroom vintage lavendar bathroom

Above images: 1930 American-Standard Orchid of Vincennes bathroom fixtures from the MBJ collection/archive.org

vintage pink bathroom 1950s vintage pink bathroom 1950sAbove: By 1950, American Standard had removed their purpley pink Orchid of Vincennes from their color lineup and tweaked their Rose Du Barry pink to be a softer pastel pink, which they called ‘Corallin’. Above from: 1950 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Corallin Pink bathroom fixtures.

midcentury pink bathroom midcentury pink bathroomBy 1962, Corallin was out and a very similar pink — called Venetian Pink — had taken over. In fact, Venetian Pink can still be found today at the last known source for a new pink toilet, Peerless.

midcentury pink bathroom midcentury pink bathroom midcentury pink bathroomFive images above: 1962 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Venetian Pink fixtures.

Kohler Pink — Lavender, Peachblow

vintage pink bathroom vintage pink bathroom

A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. “Lavender” was in the new palette — and golly, we think it looks pink.  Above: Lavender fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

1936 Kohler bathroom colors vintage pink bathroomBy 1936, Kohler had created a separation between Lavender and pink by creating a peachier pink named “Peachblow” which — along with Tuscan, Spring Green and Lavender — became one of their most popular colors. Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup and a Peachblow bathroom in this 1936 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

1948 Kohler colors bathroom vintage pink bathroom vintage pink bathroomAbove: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, we see the whole palette for the year, which included Peachblow, which Kohler says is a “..more restrained, almost beige” pink that is a toned-down version of Lavender.

vintage bathroom colors vintage pink bathroomBy 1949, Kohler had reduced its color offerings to just four: Spruce Green, Peachblow, Cerulean Blue and Tuscan. Two images above: from a 1949 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org. 

Kohler colors 1950s vintage pink bathroom

Above images: In this 1950 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, Peachblow is still going strong.

kohler bathroom pinks 1970-2004According to Kohler’s excellent color timeline, Peachblow remained in production until 1973, when it was joined by Pink Champagne, a much bolder pink. In the 1980’s Wild Rose and Innocent Blush took over, though they were much more beiged-out pinks. Antique Rose was added in the mauve crazy mid 1990s and then Vapour Pink, a light pastel pink similar to their vintage pinks, was around for a short while before Kohler completely removed the color pink from their lineup.

Crane — Orchid Pink

vintage Crane bathroom colors 1940

vintage pink bathroomIn 1940, Crane offered Orchid Pink along with India Ivory, Citrus Yellow, Pale Jade, Lavender and Sun Tan as part of their lineup. Images above from: 1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

Montgomery Ward — Tropical Coral

coral pink vintage bathroom

This 1955 Montgomery Ward catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org offers fixtures in Tropical Coral.

Briggs — Coral

Vintage pink bathroom Vintage pink bathroomThe two images above show Coral from the 1950s Briggs Beautyware catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

Eljer — Old Rose, Royal Orchid and Coral Blush

vintage bathroom colorsPam spotted some Eljer catalogs from 1939 and 1940 on archive.org that showed several shades of pink — including Old Rose, Royal Orchid and Coral Blush.

Alliance Ware — Pinkalliance ware vintage bathroom fixtures

Pam found this ad for Alliance Ware porcelain enameled bathroom fixtures that includes a pastel pink in a 1950s Small Homes Guide.

Present day

1960s-pink-bathroomGerberViper_Bahama-Pinkpink sinkWhen I created my new retro pink master bathroom from scratch back in 2013, I used a vintage sink found on Craigslist, that I believe is Kohler Peachbow and a Bahama Pink toilet made by Gerber — a color that was sadly discontinued in 2015. Gerber also discontinued their matching lavatory sink in Bahama Pink.

retro toiletToday, the only source we know where you can still find a pink toilet and sink is Peerless. Their Venetian Pink fixtures come in several styles of toilet and sink. The company also offers a few other select retro colors. There is currently no known company manufacturing pink bathtubs.

Still want more?

See our other stories about vintage bathroom colors:

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Comments

  1. Sam R says

    I have two 1970s American Standard toilets (one late 70s, one early) that are both a dead-on match for the original 1954 Briggs pink sink and bathtub in my hall bath. Some of those colors hung around for a long time.

  2. Mintrad42 says

    I know that a link was provided in a story recently about how to safely renovate/install NOS tiles that may have lead.
    Is there any info on keeping intact tiles and safety?
    I only ask because I was watching a buy/renovate show where a woman who loved her vintage kitchen and bath tile, that was in beautiful shape, was told it would have to go because of lead.

    • pam kueber says

      Mintrad42, I don’t have expertise on this issue and don’t remember a link like that; I would not typically give or allow a reader to give this sort of advice, as I am all about getting folks to get with their own properly licensed pros. When it comes to safety issues like this, please get with your own properly licensed professional so you can assess what you have and discuss how to handle any issues.

    • pam kueber says

      So another comment came in on this thread/question re tile and lead. I did not approve it because it tiptoed into “advice”.

      Is there lead in the glaze of old tile? Is there lead in the clay body of old tile? Is there lead or asbestos or other vintage nastiness in the glaze, the clay body, the adhesive, the grout, the wallboard, etc.? And if so, what to do? To answer these questions you need to GET WITH YOUR OWN PROPERLY LICENSED PROFESSIONAL to find out what you are dealing with and then provide the latest advice and guidance so that you can make informed decisions how to handle.

      Everyone: Precautionary Pam returns: As I repeat fairly often, there is the potential for vintage nastiness like lead and asbestos etc., and safety and environmental concerns of all sorts, in our vintage houses and their layers. When you get in your home — you are going to need to get with your own properly licensed experts to assess what you have and give you the latest guidance so that you can make informed decisions how to handle. If you later go to mess with the layers — again, get with your properly licensed professionals to assess what’s in those layers and how to handle. The same goes for New Old Stock: It may contain vintage nastiness and/or other safety and environmental concerns. On these issues, all: Consult with your own professionals who can help you assess what you have then access the latest information and guidance to help you make informed decisions how to handle.

      I can raise awareness. But I am not an expert; and I don’t readers giving advice here either.

  3. Judy H. says

    I mentioned yesterday that the “present day” photograph, above, has identical color wall and floor tile to my bathroom. Do you know the name of the color of the wall tile and pattern/color of floor tile?

    Thanks!

    btw, I can see Mamie in a lovely Orchid Pink bathroom.

  4. Melissa says

    I recently purchased a 1937 Standard pedestal sink and toilet in Rose Du Barry at a local salvage shop for $65. Unfortunately the matching tub was demolished with a sledge hammer instead of being salvaged in one piece. Now I’m on the hunt for a left handed tub in Rose Du Barry.

    The first floor bathroom in my 1939 house was badly updated in the late 60s. When I found the sink & toilet, I had already replaced the floor with black & white basketweave tile and installed white subway tile with black trim on the walls. The Rose Du Barry really pops against the black & white tile. The 2nd picture above showing the close up of the Woodmere Neo Classic tub is a pretty good representation of the actual color.

    • Carol I. Picciolo says

      I recently replaced my bathroom floor with black and white basketweave tile. My 1960’s wall tile is still in extremely good condition. What color should I paint my walls? I do have a Bahama Pink tub and toilet (ordered last summer but installed last week).

  5. Jacqui says

    What a great story…cannot wait for other ones that include blue and yellow. My 1953 bathroom is Pomona tile also labeled peach blow!

  6. Neil says

    I purchased a set of original, never used bathroom fixtures in corallin and it included the original Church toilet seat. The day I had the fixtures installed and the first time using the toilet, the seat cracked! It is now replaced with a black plastic seat from Lowe’s and I can’t get used to it although I am OK with a pink/black color combination. I think I saw on your site a few years ago, a company that sold replacement seats in corallin. If so, can you repeat that info? It would be greatly appreciated!

  7. CHH says

    Now I’m anxious to see my mom’s pink bathroom in person again in the next couple of weeks to notice the style of the tub and fixtures more closely. And what pink would it be?! Yesterday the plumber who came said it was the oldest toilet he ever saw and that with the curved end of the pink bathtub it will be hard to get anything like it if it needs to be replaced. The house was built in 1900 and we moved in in 1957, but Mom has thought that bathroom was renovated in the 1930’s. I think it looks more like the pink in your 1950 photo.

  8. Nina462 says

    I just caught the old Bob Hope/Lana Turner movie Bachelor in Paradise this past week….he rented her house which was pink. The color was called California Coral…good funny movie…lots of lovely mid modern set designs. It took place in a new planned community called Paradise.

  9. Lynda Durfee says

    Mom’s house (1961) has Kohler “pink” tub, toilet and sink. The color seems to be a pale pink, rather than a peachy pink. Can’t get replacement toilet seats in pink anymore, nor pink bathroom rugs, toilet seat covers, shower curtains, or even towels! Any leads on these? The current pink towels are getting pretty ragged!

    • Dorothy says

      Target has pink towels. I bought a beautiful pink Fieldcrest towel there. If you buy white cotton rugs and shower curtains, you could be really retro and dye them. I remember my mother dyeing a bedspread to make it match a new color scheme

    • missbike says

      Amazon and Wal Mart both sell toilet seats in MCM pastels. Got a pink one a couple months ago. You need to look online, the big box stores get these as plenty of older customers live with these bathrooms still.

      Pink accessories show up, but the colors cycle around from year to year. You just need to keep an eye out. Macys is very good for many, many towel colors (or was). You need to keep an eye out to catch your color, it’ll show up. I bought pink towels a few years ago, they come and go. People buy them for girls bathrooms.

    • Margie C. says

      I second the mention of Target having some fabulous colors in towels & bath accessories right now. And a few weeks back I got a terrific pink towel at JCPenney, Liz Claiborne Home Microcotton in a very Mamie pink that goes with my half bath.

  10. Katie says

    IKEA has towels and bathmats in pink. No pink shower curtains, but they do have a few patterned ones that have pink in them.

  11. Cheryl says

    We just bought a house built in 1960. It has a very dark pink bathroom which I am going to keep, with grey and pink small tiles. The house also has the formica counter tops and because everything looks so good(like no one lived there) we will be keeping as well.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Kudos to you, Cheryl! Welome to the “Save the Pink Bathroom” club. Why is it that so many of the midcentury houses look spanking-new clean? Was it the quality of the fixtures or was it the obsessive cleaning that a stay-at-home mom could find time for? Maybe a little of both?

      Enjoy decorating your pink bathroom and finding things to go with it. There are many, many stories on this site that will help you. Look also for discussions of non-abrasive cleaners to keep that tub, sink and toilet looking spiffy for another 56 years! Also enjoy your “new” old house in every way.

  12. Amber Dancy says

    I think my master bath might be Venetian Pink. It’s more of a peachy-pink as opposed to a feminine pink, but paired with very light peach tiles it makes the toilet and sink look brighter. I imagine this was a compromise between husband and wife.

    https://flic.kr/p/uBFfLr

    As much as I love vintage wallpaper, I’m not a fan of my master bath. It hurts my eyes and I’d love to pair the pink with an aqua or a light blue. Maybe make it pop a bit more.

    Our original bathroom (circa 1948) has white fixtures, but the tile used to be this AMAZING shade of blue-green. https://flic.kr/p/uzjind
    Can anybody identify the color? Shame it was painted over. Everything in the house was made by American Standard, as far as I can tell, if that helps.

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