2021 UPDATE: Pastel colored sinks and toilets NO LONGER AVAILABLE from either Peerless or Gerber. Stay tuned, though, the former distributor for Peerless is looking for another option.
I will keep this story up for historical reference.
Do you want to buy a new sink or a new, low-flow toilet in a retro pastel color? Well, thanks to this tip from reader Kelly, we’ve discovered another company — Peerless Pottery — that has the largest selection yet of retro pastel toilets and bathroom sinks. As you will recall, we became very excited when we learned about Gerber’s retro color toilets and sinks. Gerber doesn’t have quite the lineup that Peerless does. But is their retro pink “better”? I got my hands on hard-to-obtain color samples and today, also will do my best to give you some sense of the differences in the colors, company-to-company.
Uncovering yet another source for pink pastel potties was particularly pleasing. To start, I contacted John Bennett from Peerless Pottery, Inc. [April 2015 – link not working, we don’t know why; go to Gerber!] to get more information about this 111-year-old, made-in-America company. Here is a history of the company from Peerless:
Around the turn of the century, an industrious man by the name of Michael Helfrich, was granted a plot of land about a mile from the Ohio River, in southwestern Indiana. The original plan was to distribute the regions plentiful supply of hardwood. This led him to pottery manufacturing to complement his growing sales of water closet tanks and seats, which at that time were made of wood.
In 1902, Mr. Helfrich and his associate Harry Weaver, founded the National Helfrich Pottery. After changing the name to “The Peerless Selling Company” in the 1920s the company introduced the first close coupled water closet, the “Silent Knight.” It featured “extra heavy vitreous china, fitted with a silent elevated compound ballcock” and the famous “Don’t Worry No Pinch” seat, in natural or antique walnut or oak.
In 1941, after the death of Mr. Helfrich, the company was reorganized by Harry Weaver, his son, Charles, and several other investors, under the current name, Peerless Pottery, Inc.
With over 100 years of manufacturing experience in vitreous china fixtures, our current facility is located on 90 acres in rural Spencer County, Indiana. We now occupy over 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space, manned by a dedicated, hard-working and highly skilled work force.
We annually transform tons of clay into quality vitreous china fixtures. All Peerless fixtures are produced under stringent conditions of cleanliness, precise time and temperature controls, with all hand operations performed by people with developed skills. Through each stage of production, constant quality control checks are performed on each product. Water flush testing of each closet bowl insures trouble free installation of all Peerless water closets.
Peerless looks confidently to the future. with fourth generation management, we are dedicated to the principles of quality and craftsmanship with have been an integral part of our past.
Comparing Peerless and Gerber colors
I had received sample colors from both Gerber and Peerless. I’m working on my pink master bathroom remodel right now — so my first task was to compare their bathroom fixture colors with a sample of the classic Mamie pink tile from B&W Tile that I will be using in my bathroom. As you can see, the Gerber Bahama pink appears to be slightly darker than the Peerless Venetian Pink, according to the samples that these two companies sent me. If you are using B&W tiles to construct a new pink bathroom, and would like a pink toilet that most closely matches the wall tile, then I would go with Gerber’s Bahama Pink. It is interesting to note that Gerber recommends using the Bemis or Church Venetian Pink/Bahama Pink toilet seat with their Bahama Pink toilet — which leads me to believe that they are close enough to be considered nearly the same color in the eyes of manufacturers.
On the other hand, if you have a vintage bathroom in need of a new fixture or two, the Peerless Venetian Pink might be an exact match. After comparing the Peerless Venetian Pink chip to the vintage 1960s pink sink — purchased on Craigslist for my bathroom remodel — I found that they were a near exact match.
Bottom line: In my opinion, both the Venetian Pink and Bahama Pink are a close enough match to be a good choice for a pink bathroom, either new or vintage. The slight difference between the two pinks is not enough of a difference and to the naked eye, either pink would likely be at home in a vintage or newly created pink bathroom.
Remember: There were lots of vintage pinks back in the day — remember how Pam counted 95 different pink tiles in the replacement section of World of Tile?
My next task was to compare the neutral Peerless colors available — here they are, compared to a white 2×6 from Home Depot.
Above: When comparing Peerless colors to Gerber colors, the two Biscuit swatches are a near perfect match.
Above: Peerless doesn’t have a color that matches Gerber’s Bone/Wheat, which is just a hair darker than Biscuit.
Above: Peerless Bone and Gerber Almond appear to be an identical color match.
While I did not receive actual samples of Peerless’ Dresden Blue, Sterling Silver or Harvest Gold, one can assume, based on how the other colors compared, that they are most likely similar or slightly lighter than Gerber’s Dawn Blue, Silver/Silverado and Spanish Gold. Though, if you are thinking of purchasing any of these colors of Peerless fixtures, we highly recommend trying to locate actual samples first to verify my suspicion – although, *good luck with that*.
It appears the Peerless fixtures can be purchased by contacting a sales rep in your area, or by contacting the company directly to order. The price range for Peerless pink fixtures seems to be in line with Gerber’s pink fixtures.
Personally, I’ve been trying to order a Gerber Bahama Pink toilet for three weeks from my local dealer, who couldn’t get me an actual product chip to look at — only printed paper cards — and they had no sample chip board like the company sent to me at their showroom. My local distributor told me it would be at least four weeks to receive the Gerber Bahama Pink toilet and quoted me $407 for the complete toilet with matching Bemis seat. He told me shipping would be somewhere in the $100-$200 range, which would get the toilet to my distributor across town and not to my door. I ended up following a fellow reader’s advice — Mary Elizabeth — who ordered a Gerber Bahama Pink Viper Ergo-height toilet from DecorIsland.com. The ordering process was quick and easy and I’m promised to have my toilet (and a matching seat) delivered to my doorstep in 7-10 business days.
It will be difficult to get samples or see real fixtures in these colors, from my experience
The bottom line in the search for a retro color toilet or sink for your remodel or restoration — these color fixtures are out there, but it’s hard to get your hands on sample boards… and we can’t imagine any plumbing supply companies are actively stocking these colors for you to come look at, live. I was only able to get samples directly from the two companies because we are media, I believe.
In some areas of the country, it might be easier to find vintage fixtures for your pink bathroom instead of trying to order new fixtures. But old toilets likely do not meet new water use restrictions in place in many parts of the country. If you are in need of a low-flow pastel colored toilet to match your vintage pastel tiled bathroom, either Peerless or Gerber may have just what you want — just be prepared to be patient — it is not as easy as driving to the nearest big box store and loading one on the cart.
UPDATE: As of 6/1/15, I contacted Matt Ford, National Sales Manager at Peerless Pottery who tells me that all of their fixtures except those crossed out on the graphic above are available in all of their colors — including 19 toilet styles, 2 pedestal sinks, 1 undercount sink, 2 drop in sinks and 4 wall mount sinks.
And 2021 UPDATE: Again, neither Gerber nor Peerless now make these colors any more. Peerless seems to have closed down completely in Dec. 2020. Stay tuned, though, as the former distributor for Peerless is seeking out an alternative – fingers crossed.