Retro atomic tub and shower knobs — at an affordable price

Vintage pink bathroomWe have long been fans of the bathroom faucets at Locke Plumbing, but it wasn’t until we featured Nanette and Jim’s all-new pink bathroom that we saw all the awesome retro tub and shower faucets available in abundance at Locke, too. These would be great for a mid-century bathroom — and they are very affordable. There are a variety of styles in addition to the ones Nanette and Jim chose.  

Nanette and Jim purchased a Sayco design set. But, there are other designs — from Union Brass, Gerber and Central Brass, in particular — that have just the look we pine for. Following are a few shots from Locke Plumbing’s website.

retro-tub-shower-faucetsretro tub and shower faucetsvintage style shower tub faucetsretro shower tub faucetPlumbing hardware never looked to luscious, don’t you think?

Thank you, Nanette and Jim, for the sleuthing.

Link love, repeated:

CategoriesShower Bases Tubs
  1. Kittee says:

    I’m getting ready for a bathroom remodel and fell in love with these. Just a heads up–depending on where you live–these do not come with tempering valves, which are required in many locations.

    To install these, I would need to buy extra fixtures and spend about 350 for additional plumber labor. Also, they would require some type of box or door be installed for easy access…

  2. Juli says:

    I am hoping this is a lifesaver. My 1953 green/yellow bath has a diverter and faucets that are all shot. This is an 8″ set. I have been suffering for ten years and it’s gotten to the point now that the drip has become unstoppable. I narrowly missed the chance to recover a set from a bath that got ripped out up the street. Argh! Locke appears to be “the” place. Consulting with my plumber now. I also have to solve the pink/brown shower that is leaking into the basement. “Save the tile!” Wish me luck and thank you! I would never have found this on my own.

  3. Kathy says:

    You do not have to tear out your tile or put in an escrutcheon plate to retrofit your old 2- and 3- handle showers knobs. Don’t let the plumber twist your arm or say it isn’t possible. It is possible, but it can be fairly costly.

    You can retrofit old shower fixtures and bring them to code in most states by putting in a pressure balance valve between the knobs and the shower head. I sent inquiries to Locke Plumbing this summer (Thanks Pam for the original link!) and they have them available for about $100, and you can also check your local plumbing supply store for a valve.

    If you love the fixtures you have, or it is a size that is hard to find, the whole valve assembly can be rebuilt. Dea Bath does this, or check a local plumbing supply for a source.

    You can also replace the whole shower valve assembly–there is one from American Standard Hampton 8″ on center with a built-in anti-scald feature, with sort of retro handles–more 1920/30 than 50/60. This is the only 8″ on center new set I could find with this feature, and it is widely available. http://www.americanstandard-us.com/assets/documents/amstd/spec/SpecSheet_535.pdf

    Chicago Faucet Shoppe is also a good source for retro-style shower and bathroom faucets in the brands listed above, plus check out the commercial lines for mid-century flair. Cross or lever handles are great for earlier bathrooms c. 1900-1940.

    It is also possible to just change out the handles with universal replacements. Walmart actually carries the crystal type, and you can get some mid-century types at the big box stores, although selection is limited. It is also possible to just order the Hot and Cold button pieces–check your local plumbing supplier.

  4. Devon says:

    I installed this very set in my bathroom when we remodeled it last year. I really like them but couldn’t find matching faucets.

  5. ineffablespace says:

    If you are planning on using the 2-3 knob separate hot/cold shower set up make sure you are still allowed to use these in your jurisdiction. Where I live, new work has to be either a pressure-balanced or thermostatic single-handled valve–something with an anti-scald mechanism built in.

  6. Mary Elizabeth says:

    We had the “crystal ball” style handles in our old trailer. I love that look, but I have to say that stuff gets stuck in those little facets, as well as behind the “Hot/Cold” discs, and we had to periodically take them apart for a thorough cleaning. I like the ones N. and J. picked out the best.

  7. Scott says:

    I so love those and ordered a set as soon as I read about Nanette and Jim’s fantastic pink bathroom. I have no idea when I’ll get to redo my shower surround but I do know Id kick myself if I would look for these later and they’d not be available.

    1. Scott says:

      Just realized I lost my mind so much that I didn’t even think to look if there were matching or similar sink fittings. Guess I need to go back and spend some more quality time on the Locke website. 🙂

  8. Robin, NV says:

    Oh wow! When I read the post on Nanette and Jim’s pink bathroom, I just assumed they found NOS faucet handles for their shower. My exact thought was “I really wish you could still get those handles.” This is great. But I still have the original faucets in my bathrooms. Ooh Pam, how about an original plumbing hardware uploader? 😀

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