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The color green in kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets — from 1928 to 1962

vintage green bathroom fixtures“Ming green — what color is that?” a reader recently asked. Pam had a few examples of this jadeite color in her vintage American Standard catalogs, and she sent Kate to hunt down more. So she headed to a favorite resource, archive.org — and found many more examples of this delicious color from Kohler, Crane, Briggs, Eljer and Montgomery Ward. Get your eyeballs ready, because Ming Green by any other name — and there are quite a few! — would look as sweet!

Ming Green — American-Standard

ming-greenAll of this research started with the debate in the comments section of one of our stories about Ming Green versus Mint Green. In story about Dana’s Ming Green bathroom, Sarah said: “I did a web search for ming green, thinking it must be some amazing retro bathroom decor that I have never heard of and came up empty. You mean mint green, right?”

Nope, Dana: “Ming Green” is American-Standard’s version of a prewar jadeite color.

Above: The image of the Ming Green steel kitchen cabinets, with Ming Green drainboard sink, is from Pam’s 1938 American-Standard catalog.

jadeite
Above: Eat your heart out, Erica scored this jadeite (Ming Green or whatever) drainboard sink for her thrifty kitchen remodel.

Kate was able to find American-Standard catalogs featuring Ming Green fixtures spanning the years 1930 to 1962. Golly, that’s a long time for a color to remain in a manufacturer’s portfolio. So: We will crown American-Standard empress of this green dynasty!

ming greenAbove: 1930 American-Standard Ming Green sink, tub and toilet from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

Ming green Ming green Ming greenThree images above from: 1950 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Ming Green bathroom fixtures.

ming green
Above: Note the famous American Standard Gracelynn bathroom sink and vanity. *hearts palpitate*

ming green ming greenThree images above: 1962 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Ming Green fixtures. What a versatile color!

replacement toilet bolt caps

Above: DEA Bath matched their replacement toilet bolt caps to American-Standard’s Ming Green.

Kohler — Spring Green to Spruce Green

A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. “Spring Green” was part of their historic first color palette.

spring green bathroom spring green bathroomKate found the earliest reference to this jadeite shade of green in a 1928 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org. It shows Kohler’s “Imperiator” tub, pedestal sink and toilet in “Spring Green.”

spring green bathroomAbove: A Spring Green “Mayfair” bathroom in a 1929 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

vintage spring green drainboard sinkAbove: We see Kohler’s Spring Green in this 1936 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

kohler spring green bathroomAbove: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, we see the whole palette for the year: Tuscan, Spring Green, Peachblow, Cerulean Blue, Ivory, Lavender, Autumn Brown, and Rouge. Yum.

spruce green bathroomAbove: In 1949, it looks like Kohler changed their green to Spruce Green, as shown in this 1949 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org. What a daring color combination — blue-green, violet and muddy chartreuse — by today’s standards! We love it!

vintage spruce green bathroomAbove: In this 1950 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, Spruce Green again.

According to Kohler’s excellent color timeline, Spruce Green continued to be in production until 1972.

Pale Jade — Crane

pale jade bathroomAbove: This 1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org shows their green as “Pale Jade.”

pale jade vintage bathroomAbove: Here’s another 1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org also showing Pale Jade.

P.S. Pam covets that toilet seat. It is The. Best.

1938-color-palette
1938 color palette for Church toilet seats — dreamy!

Sea Green — Briggs

Sea green vintage bathroom Sea green vintage bathroomTwo images above: A 1951 Briggs Beautyware catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org. Briggs made “Sea Green.”

Sea Green vintage bathroom Sea Green vintage bathroomThe two images above show more Sea Green; 1950s Briggs Beautyware catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

Pastel Green, Victoria Green — Eljer

vintage bathroom colorsPam spotted this Eljer catalog from 1939 from the MBJ collection on archive.org that shows Eljer offered two greens — Pastel Green and Victoria Green in their color line up.

Alliance Ware — Greenalliance ware vintage bathroom fixtures

Pam found this ad for Alliance Ware porcelain enameled bathroom fixtures that includes ‘Green’ in a 1950s Small Homes Guide.

Sea Green — Montgomery Ward

vintage green bathroomAbove: And finally, Monty Ward’s “Sea Green” may been a little more yellow; 1955 Montgomery Ward catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

Go Green:

vintage mint green bathroomDo you want to build a Ming Green bathroom from scratch? With her bathroom remodel, Laura shows us how B&W Tile’s #40W-Green wall tile and #40F-Green floor tile do the trick. GORGEOUS!

vintage green and pink bathroomAnother reader showin’ us how it’s done: Jane built-from-scratch bathroom again reminds us how lovely a soft green can look paired with pink. This green tile is B&W’s #43W- Kiwi Green, a bit richer than jadeite; the pink is B&W’s #70W-Pink.

So there you have it: From 1928 to 1962, your particular shade of vintage green could be Ming Green, Pale Jade, Spring Green, Spruce Green or Sea Green, depending on the brand. Bet everyone is now, yes, here it comes: Green with envy!

  1. PrimroseRoad says:

    Here’s a suggestion that’s been working for me — I’m looking for hard-to-find colors in less-common brands for a toilet and sink. I went to the Bemis website and picked out a few likely color samples in each colorway, then compared them to what I was looking for. Now carry the samples with me everywhere I go. Tried paint samples, but they were just too flat (although if you are working from a distance, having a paint color match is an easy way to give the person on the other end a good idea of what you’re looking for; computer monitors (and laser printers) are completely unreliable. No more ‘is it or isn’t it…’

  2. Grandma says:

    Grandson bought this 1964 house last fall; has original green tub and sink in main bath. Has anyone else ever heard of Rheem fixtures? I know they make water heaters, etc since we have one. The sink has a bit of rust around the drain (but not tub) and looking for a replacement, could not believe how much it would cost! For instance, this: http://asheville.craigslist.org/atq/5589995217.html which is an exact match, but yikes!

    Can’t find the single sink anywhere.

  3. VintageBride says:

    We are buying a 1954 house with the original 1954 sea green tub and toilet. I found where I can buy a coordinating toilet seat, but what to do about the sink? Right now the owners have a 1980s faux marble green sink on top of a white vanity. It seems we should embrace the green and go all out retro on this bathroom, but I really don’t know what to do about the sink/vanity. Any thoughts? The wall tile is yellow with a small band of white. The floor is a yellow/white/black design. We haven’t moved in yet, so I can’t give more detail than that. Not sure if the yellows are replacement since I haven’t seen any 1950 bathrooms with that color combo.

    Also, there are shower doors that I want to remove. They just are not attractive–shiny gold. Again, seems like it’s an addition and not original. Thoughts on a shower curtain?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi VintageBride, congratulations on your new/old house and welcome to our little community. Regarding your questions: Here’s a story on vintage green colors, the first thing you might want to try and figure out is exactly what color you have. Then, you can search for a replacement. Here is a story with some basic guidelines about where to hunt for vintage bathroom sinks.

      Yellow and a minty green as a color combo in the 50s? Sure! See this story for inspiration: https://retrorenovation.com/2016/09/14/decorate-yellow-bathrooms-idea-history-1927-1962/

      And this one too: https://retrorenovation.com/2015/11/16/green-kitchens-bathrooms-1928-62/

      For a vanity, use the Search box and/or see the subcategory Readers and Their Bathrooms for ideas — lots of folks have tackled this question.

      Re shower curtains, the options are almost endless today… if you search this using our search box you may see some we spotlighted in the past.

      Finally, before you start renovating be aware of the potential for hazards in old materials – for more info see my Be Safe/Renovate Safe page

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Rodger, as far as I know this color is no longer made by any companies, you will have to search out vintage. Try salvage specialists, they are likely your best bet — e.g. deabath.com, Toledo Artifacts, Ohmega Salvage — there are various places around the nation. You might also luck out on ebay. Good luck.

  4. Leeann says:

    Hello,
    I have an original Kohler spring green pedestal ceramic sink, but previous owners replaced the tub and toilet to white. I’m looking for any type of fixture to try to coordinate with the sink, but since this was their very first color introduced almost a century ago, it’s become Impossible to find even a toilet roll holder in the same color. Are there any other brands or color names that would match a Kohler Spring Green? I’ve tried with photos and toilet seat swatches to match but with lighting and shades it’s way too difficult. Anything close as possible will do.
    Thank you,
    Leeann

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Leannn, for the most part it sounds like you may need to to find such things vintage. See my Bathroom Category here for various stories and resources >> https://retrorenovation.com/category/bathroom-categories/

      Note, there are subcategories too.

      Hey, you can get reproduction toilet bolts in ming green! >> https://retrorenovation.com/2011/08/23/toilet-bolt-caps-in-five-1950s-colors-including-venetian-pink-regency-blue-and-ming-green/

      Good luck.

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