Satin Glide Relaxation Unit — a second brand, joining Hall-Mack

satin-glideI’ve written about Hall-Mack Relaxation Units before — but looking back at some old stories on the blog, I was reminded that Satin Glide — a maker of steel bathroom vanities <– see 1963 brochure here — also made this nifty recessed bathroom cubby that ensured… you would never be bored while you… went about your business.

satin-glide-bathroom-vanities-vintage-4049vintage bathroom vanitySatin Glide vanities and the pieces that came with them — cosmetic box under the mirror — closed cupboard above the toilet — were masterworks in their own right. Fancy!

Satin-Glide-retro-bath-vanityAbove: Back in 2012, there was a Satin Glide vanity for sale on ebay in Iowa. Buy-It-Now for just $250! Long gone…


williams-products-elkhart-indianaNot made by Hall-Mack! Made by Williams Products Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana. I wonder if this is the company; in business since 1953, but the current location is Troy, Mich. I bet it is the same company… and (1) the Elkhart location was a second location / manufacturing facility, or (2) they moved or were consolidated and over time transformed to focus on manufacturing other products.

hall-mack-relaxation-unitHall-Mack Relaxation Units were one of the very first woddities that entranced me when I started the blog. Hall-Mack was SO inventive back in the day, it was really quite amazing: See this catalog from my collection of 18 rare vintage Hall-Mack bathroom accessories.

Vintage bathroom Relaxation Units

Vintage bathroom relaxation units are very desirable to find vintage. Along with the other Hall-Mack woddities, they usually command high Buy It Now prices or, if up for auction, fierce bidding. Now you know: Lookie for Satin Glides, too!


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  1. Carolyn says

    DH’s bath (1974) has a light, mirror, and slider such as these as does our travel trailer (1959). Both have notches instead of knobs to open and close. Fluorescent lighting isn’t flattering but he only needs it to shave. Handy in some ways but can be tricky to clean the tracks and shift the slider mirrors to get them allover clean. (Heehee – not my job!)
    “Relaxation Unit” – that’s funny! It begs the question why this went out of favor, especially to have the paper recessed. Unless it was too hard to change the roll?
    I’m afraid to click on your links since seeing what used to be available but is no longer baffles me. (But you know I will anyway!)

  2. Dan says

    If really designed with “a man in mind”, the relaxation unit would have a beer tap, but that risks turning it into a sort of perpetual motion machine. I also suspect it would be ‘Argosy’ or ‘Field and Stream’ for the master’s reading pleasure.

    • Carolyn says

      Speaking of magazines – pictured is Better Homes & Gardens. In the Oct. 2016 issue, their Trend Watch on pg. 46 features “Modern Laminate”.
      #4. “Some of the most memorable patterns don’t mimic stone. Grass cloth in lime, anyone?”
      Is this one of those deja vu all over again moments?

        • Carolyn says

          BH&G: On the minus side, they show MCm’s that the owner “just fell in love” with a feature…and proceed to remove every vestige of Mid-Century, painting everything white with subway tiles, and my personal gag-reflex of “decorating with books”. The “before” pics seem to be saturated with dark color and “After” is so bright and airy.
          On the plus, the last page has been reserved this past year to the “BHG Throwback” of 1960’s and ’70’s. Something alters their ink over time (there’s at least one website that makes fun of their books because of this) so if someone hadn’t lived through an era such as the ’70’s Bicentennial and only saw these images would be immediately turned off.
          Funny how we who love MCM are “stuck in the past” yet know of cutting edge products that Pam informs us of. WE knew about the laminate at least a month or more before the magazine showed it!

  3. Melinda says

    This would have been perfect for my grandfather. Alas, he just flipped his ashes into the bathtub while he relaxed. Ick.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Melinda, our 1959 house with the pink bathroom also features an outhouse in the back yard, because the wife of the builder/owner did not allow him to smoke cigars in the bathroom–or anywhere inside the house. When we first moved in, we told guests that the outhouse was the “guest bath.”

      Too bad he didn’t think to install a “relaxation unit.”

  4. ineffablespace says

    The house my parents built had the Hall-Mack recessed rotating cup/toothbrush and soap holder and the kitchen had a recessed paper towel holder.

    By the early 1970s a standard roll of paper towels was too thick for the recessed towel holder.

    I think there were several things that lead to the demise of the rotating cup/toothbrush/soap holder:
    First they started making toothbrushes with thicker more ergonomic handles that no longer fit in the toothbrush part. Then there was a shift away from the use of a common cup or glass for rinsing and people went to disposable cups. Finally people switched away from bar soap to liquid soap at the sink.

    Also for the soap holder portion of it, you are pushing it open with either dirty or wet hands and you are closing it with wet hand unless you wait until you dry your hands. (We actually never used the soap dish part because of this)

    That said the whole idea of something that rotates and is recessed is great for keeping stuff off the counters. But it would be better, I think if the door was “panel ready” or something instead of chrome which shows lots of fingerprints.

    Because I wanted to recess the toilet paper, wipes and such in my small bathrooms, I designed one vanity to have a recess in it for toilet paper, a shelf, and a wastebasket.

    For the other bathroom I designed a toilet paper/ wipes niche that is fully recessed into the wall and will fit into the tile pattern and somebody is making it for me out of Corian.

    Another reason people don’t do things like this often is because it takes planning right from the very beginning. We had to frame the wall a certain way to be able to fit the recessed piece. We had to make sure that there was nothing to go in the wall on the other side that would be a conflict. We had to make sure wiring ran around that area not through it.

    It’s not something that you can just “plug in” at the end of the project and hope it works. Most builders don’t want to do that much planning. and there are too many people involved getting it accomplished. Much easier to buy something decorative when the room is finished and screw it onto the wall surface.

    (The bathroom in my 1965 house was remodeled in the 1990s. We found out that one of the reasons that the HVAC was nearly non existent on the third floor of the house was because of the recessed medicine cabinet in the hall bathroom. It was recessed into, and blocking about 80% of the main duct that fed the floor above. (and some of the screws were justbarelymissing electrical wires) Had they penetrated the nearby plumbing it would have been the perfect trifecta.)

  5. Kristopher says

    Our 1954 home in Wisconsin has a similar recessed toilet paper holder/magazine rack, but it looks to be a 3rd brand? The label calls it “Family Hospitality – created for you by House of Hospitality” in Hollywood, CA. A quick google search didn’t turn up anything, but I haven’t explored too far yet.

  6. mark says

    we have a knockoff medicine cabinet with the incandescent bulbs (6) open at the top.and plastic diffuser at front yellowing, no maker listed on unit, the indirect light box at top is major dust collector and underside of bottom is rusting, it is also very big for my tiny bathroom.

  7. Jason says

    I used to live in a 1962 apartment building in the Detroit area (about 2 suburbs away from Troy), and had one of these in the bathroom. I always wondered with the little shelf next to the toilet paper was for! I don’t smoke so I never thought of an ashtray.

  8. lisa in Seattle says

    The Apartment Therapy blog just featured a bath remodel in which one of these relaxation centers was discarded. Not judging — I’m not sure I’d actually like having one — but hopefully it went to a salvage yard!

  9. Joe Felice says

    “Relaxation unit?” My idea of that would be a reclining seat back. LOL I never did understand wanting to read in the bathroom, but I’m told some men go there to get away from others in the house. Maybe that’s the only place they don’t get bothered?

  10. Trisha says

    We purchased our first home 2 months ago- one of the things I love most about it are the awesome mid century things original to the house! We have a “relaxation unit” in our bathroom (though we didn’t know it was called that until now) and love the quirkiness of it. I can’t tell you how giddy this post made me!

  11. Lydia says

    The only place I ever saw a “relaxation unit” was my grandmother’s swanky black and white zebra-inspired bathroom with a sunken, black tile bathtub big enough to swim in! And, oh yes, the strands of beads separated it from the quiet flush (wall mounted?) black toilet which was positioned next to the relaxation unit and scales that fold in and out of the wall. She and my grandfather owned a plumbing company back in the day and I would give my eye teeth to get back in that house and grab the bathroom fixtures!!! I would even take the 1/2 wall of block glass. The girl had some style!!!

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