tappan-push-button-plumbing-1963ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT for something we’ve never seen before, I was ecstatic to find this “Tappan Ultraflo push-button plumbing” innovation. It was featured in a copy of Popular Mechanics (Sept. 1963) that I picked up at Ron’s place last week. According to the story, mysterious unseen solenoids mix the temp magically so you never have to bother with those, what are they called again…oh yeah, faucet handles.  This could be installed in the bathroom, too. Click through to see the groovy wiring diagram and full text.

And let’s hear your guesses… Why do you think this innovation failed?

Note: Get with your own properly licensed expert to assess safety etc.



  1. Amanda Bailey says:

    We still have the Tappan UltraFlow in our home, still working despite a small issue with the buttons in the shower ( we only get hot). We plan to replace someday. But for a house built in 1964, I feel the system did work.

  2. Suzanne Moe says:

    My in-laws have this system, installed when they built the house outside of Wannaska, MN, near Roseau, in 1976. My mother-in-law has had to call the company for replacement parts, on occasion, and no one there can believe the original system is still working. A few of the buttons have been lost or have fallen off/broken. Though the idea is novel, I’ve never been able to find a comfortable showering temperature at their house; WARM was not warm enough, and HOT was scalding. When our kids were small, I also worried about them pushing the various buttons in the shower (which were in reach of little hands) and scalding themselves. Thankfully, that never happened. Our research has shown that the new systems are touch-screen and can be adjusted for temperature, which would be really nice. I do wonder if the system will deter a future buyer if/when she decides to sell the house; the current original system has is definitely showing its wear. A new ultraflow system is quite pricey, but probably much less expensive than having to re-plumb the entire house with two water lines per tap, rather than a single line. Perhaps the woddest thing of all is that my in-laws are about as salt-of-the-earth, practical people I’ve ever met, and I’m just boggled that they would pay a premium price for such a fancy system back when they built the house. But hey, they sprang for colored bathroom fixtures too!

  3. Jen says:

    We have two Ultraflo push-button faucets, one in the kitchen and one in a bathroom, both of which we would like to keep. We’re having issues with one and would love to find new or used parts, but have been unsuccessful so far. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Jen, I don’t know the answer to this. You could try a place like deabath.com and see what they say…

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