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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. Beth says:

    I bought a green vanity sink at the Habitat ReStore for $20 a couple of months ago, and it is pristine. I had to get it because it is so beautiful, even though I have nowhere to use it. I was thinking that maybe a friend or someone with a need might be able to use it. I was calling the color as jade green until I read this article. The style is like the one in the ad for the Kohler Spruce Green. I could try to post a photo. There were no legs with it.

  2. Gus Luttrell says:

    Many an audible gasp as I (slowly) read through all this awesomeness. I am uh, green with envy! Thank you two so much for this valuable information. I am going to ut it to good use in the near future. Trust. ????

  3. Joe Felice says:

    Yes, we Americans have run the gamut from jade to ming green, to aqua to avocado. Spring green looks like robin’s egg, and sea green looks totally different in the pics, but I suspect it was meant to be more of an aqua. Muted green made a brief comeback in the ’80s with seafoam green.

    I’m not partial to green, but some of those baths really appeal to me.

  4. lorraine says:

    LOVE the Ming green color. Reminds me of our bathroom growing up. I am doing my cottage now with jadeite accents . I may have to add some “Ming” green in the bathroom too. Have a pale rose/ lavender on the walls with white fixtures. Hmmmm.

  5. CarolK says:

    Jay, What a find! I’d love to have a bathroom sink with chrome legs when we renovate the bathroom in a couple of years. The kitchen reno comes first, though.

  6. Lynda Durfee says:

    We moved to a custom built house in 1961 when I was 10. Prior to that, we lived in an apartment in a Victorian house where everything was green: wallpaper in dining room, kitchen, bath, etc. Mom hated it, so the new house had NO green at all (one pink/grey bath, one white/black 1/2 bath and a second white 1/2 bath. But almost every other house built in that era had a green bathroom!

  7. Joy says:

    WOW, great job, what a wonderful page, that one bathroom looks just like the one I grew up with. These are so much nicer than the new junk in bathrooms. Thanks for the memories. I love your website. Keep up the great work. Many of us really enjoy it & are thankful for your hard work.

  8. Penny says:

    Great post! Sea green is such a great color and does go nicely with pink as well as many other colors. I love the way the towel bars were attached directly to the side of the bathroom sinks!!! Why can’t they do that now-a-days?

  9. amelia says:

    FINALLY!!!!

    Oh my good green goddess!! I literally go through oodles of old Time Capsule posts /drooling/ over the gorgeous greens, wistfully wondering when my whimsical green dreams will come true.

    This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve read since the Alabama Hidden Time Capsule article from 2010. I’m gonna go make myself a Matcha, crunch some kelp and soak in the gooey great greenness of this fabulous blog post a second time.

    THANK YOU!!! <3

  10. Suzy says:

    I have a “mint” green Universal Rundle toilet from 1962 … having difficulty finding a sink to match … Does anyone know what they called their green? I am supposed to get the matching tub that goes with this toilet from the house it came out of .. but I NEED A SINK!! I did order a sink that I got a great deal on ebay then it came and just was too different for the color 🙁

  11. Lori says:

    I really enjoy learning about historic design and especially color schemes! It’s like a kind of time machine!

  12. sherree says:

    Suzy, I have a 1952 (or 3) minty green Univeral Rundle sink and toilet that were removed from one of my bathrooms just a few months ago. No one locally seems to want them. I cannot even give them away 🙁 Where are you located? If anyone knows about Univeral Rundle colors perhaps they are the same as what you are looking for? Pam, how would I go about contacting Suzy?

  13. Nansi says:

    I am looking for a light yellow toilet, kohler’s Sunlight #Y2. Can anyone direct me??? Thanks in advance. Nansi

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