Cullen’s vintage Dishmaster kitchen faucet — installed

dishmaster faucet

cullens vintage apartment
Click here to see 40 photos of Cullen’s amazing apartment!

In 2012, I anointed Cullen Meyer the “Crown Prince of Kitsch,” in amazement at his Brooklyn time capsule apartment, which he has decorated with all manner of vintage wonders. Recently, I saw that he had added a new toy to his playhouse — a circa-1948 Dishmaster faucet — the original hunka hunka. It’s sitting quite pretty — don’t you think? — on his Youngstown Diana sink base. 

dishmasterI asked Cullen for the back story. He said:

I’ve actually had it for a few years but I thought I asked for so many vintage installations from my landlord that I was waiting for an excuse and recently my kitchen faucet had been acting up, so I took the opportunity to put in the Dishmaster.

More link love: We tipped off the New York Times to Cullen’s apartment — and they did a story about it!

pams dishmaster
Pam’s Dishmaster, acquired in 2010. Read it and weep.
electro sink center
Even though the Dishmaster is retro-awesome, the Electro-Sink Center is the MOTHER OF ALL WACKY FAUCETS. Clicky-loo here to read more.

For readers who may be newish to Retro Renovation, the Dishmaster is an early design “dish washer” whose key feature is a brush wand that dispenses soapy water when you push a red button. There’s a built-in reservoir that holds the soap, and it is mixed with your hot water via that brush nozzle thingie. Cullen says that he was able to get the contraption to work as intended. Note, to those of you considering using old kitchen faucets: Be aware that they, like other old products, may not meet current safety specifications/contain hazards — get with a pro to assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions how to handle, yes, Be Safe Renovate Safe.

The Dishmaster is still available for sale today — although the design has evolved and the casing is no longer that heavy chunk of steel; it would be way too expensive to replicate, the owner of the company told me when I visited the Dishmaster factory. Yes: I went with my Mom on a road trip to visit the Dishmaster factory in Indiana. I also own three versions of the Dishmaster — an early model, like Cullen’s, and one each of the current designs. I also own several vintage faceplates. It’s hard to pass up a Dishmaster once you get the bug, they are so… ridiculous. In a good way.

magic queen faucet
In 2012, reader Tami spotted the Dishmaster-like Magic Queen faucet. Click here to head down the rabbit hole in this direction.

More stories about the Dishmaster:

  1. Joe Felice says:

    I’d love to have one, but haven’t been able to justify the $200.00 cost as of yet. (The Caliber needed new struts and bushings, which cost $1200.00.) I do not recall Magic Queen, however. But I do remember the ubiquitous Dishmaster in Laura and Rob Petrie’s kitchen. Oh, how I loved that house, and still find it hilarious that women ran around in dresses (sometimes with aprons) and men ran around in suits, even when lounging at home! I missed the one on “Hot in Cleveland.” I’ll have to watch for it. That show is one of the best on TV today, and Betty White is still the bomb!

    1. Lee Ann Ferguson says:

      Worth it. Well I my eyes. Figure w decent faucet can cost close to it. But doesn’t even wash our dishes. Love love mine.

  2. Joe Felice says:

    Cullen, let me know if you are ever coming to Colorado. I’d love to hob nob with you and pick your brain. Lucille is still waiting to rock around the clock!

  3. Nicole says:

    While I think the faucet is cool, I’ve lived in old house apartments and had sinks like those….and well…they aren’t too cool…and I love vintage but for me, I could do away with the whole cast iron, single sink idea..but very cool faucet..

  4. Scott says:

    It’s beautious. Anything that looks like it came right off the dashboard of a postwar Detroit dreamboat is okay with me.

    I was so shocked when I read right here on RR that you could still buy one of these new it was on my “must have” list when I redid my countertops. It’s really a no-brainer when you factor in you can pay just as much if not more for other contemporary faucets that don’t even do tricks like a Dishmaster.

  5. Jonny says:

    I’ve been looking for a dishmaster for a while, hoping to find an early one like this and keeping my fingers crossed.

    Cullen, where did you find this one? And did you ever get to swap out your fridge and stove?

  6. TappanTrailerTami says:

    I have one of the new ones, but it isn’t installed yet. Love Cullen’s apartment, he should open for paid tours!

    Just cruised through eBay completed listings and I didn’t realize Dishmaster also made this chunky square version! Must be from the 60’s “Dishmaster 300”:


  7. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Hooray (again) for Cullen’s ingenuity and fun taste. But I have questions, not a comment.

    First, how well does the faucet work on washing dishes? Better than soapy water and a brush?

    Second, how much water does it use? Is the water continually flowing through the washing process, or can you turn it on and off with ease? Do the new models have energy star ratings?

    Third, does it require a certain brand or type of detergent, or can one just use the one that he or she likes (cuts grease, easy on hands, etc.)?

    Finally, can you switch off the dishwashing function and just run regular water (for filling pots, washing hands, etc.)?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Most of these questions are addressed on the company’s website, I believe. Re ‘better than soapy water and a brush’ – I think that would work just as well. Obviously, the Dishmaster is an invention designed to obviate that requirement.

      I do not know whether there is even an Energy Star rating for kitchen faucets….

          1. Mary Elizabeth says:

            Oh, I know there’s no motor. I was thinking about the amount of hot water expended. For example, modern dishwashers use much less hot water than it would take to wash the same amount of dishes by hand–if you wash dishes under hot running water instead of turning off the water in between rinses. Hence my question about the amount of time the water is actually running.

            1. pam kueber says:

              What I have read recently is that if you do not rinse your dishes, using a dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. In my house, however, we pre-rinse all our dishes before loading, because my husband has monitored the options and insists that dishes just do not get clean if you do not pre-rinse. Also, we always have many many pots and pans and implements to wash by hand…

              All this said, I am not an expert. Also, I tend to believe that there are numerous higher-leverage ways to minimize water usage, even. Even as basic as: Use less energy; it takes a lot of water to create electricity; all forms of energy creation may be #1, I’ll wager. The size of the automobile we drive (fuel consumption), the size of the house we live in (energy and materials consumption) — must be HUGE. Can you find me an authoritative resource, Mary Elizabeth, that has enumerated, by priority, the largest water-using impacts by a household, taking into account all types of consumption? I have thought about this a lot and have come to the conclusion: “Make less money. Spend less money.” Live small. Live with as little as possible. That, to me, is the fundamental. Not that I claim that I faithfully do this, of course; I can easily get sucked into the consumption culture…

              1. Cheryl Powell says:

                I am thinking about purchasing a dishmaster but have a few questions. I have a porcelain vintage double sink with the porcelain drain board cover. How do you change the soapy water solution and detergent? Do you have to remove it from under the sink? How do you add the detergent and do you have to buy a special detergent?
                Thank you for your help.

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