There’s no doubt about it — yellow is just one of those happy, sunny colors that can instantly brighten a space. It is no surprise then, that midcentury bathrooms, which already featured smile-inducing pastels like pink, green and blue, would also be bathed in sunny yellow. In my research, I found that many manufacturers offered a version of Ivory that could be classified as a pale yellow, especially in the early years of colorful fixture production. By the 1950s and early 1960s, brighter yellows — such as American Standard’s ‘Manchu Yellow’ and Briggs’ ‘Autumn Yellow’ were becoming available. Let’s take a look at yellow bathroom fixtures from 1927-1963.
American Standard Yellows — Ivoire De Medici and Manchu Yellow
Ivory may not technically be yellow, but in my research, I found many manufacturers offering different shades of Ivory, such as American-Standard’s ‘Ivorie de Medici’ that look to be pale yellow in their catalogs. Above images: 1930 American-Standard Ivoire De Medici bathroom fixtures from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Kohler — Old Ivory and Tuscan
A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. Old Ivory — which looks like it could have been a very pale yellow — was part of that first color lineup.
Again, Old Ivory looks like a pale yellow, therefore I have classified it as such. Above: Old Ivory fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup 1936 Kohler catalog from Building Technology Heritage Library. While Old Ivory was offered, it was not one of their four most popular colors as indicated by the larger swatch size above.
Above: In this 1948 Kohler catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library, we see the whole palette for the year, which includes Ivory — though it seems they dropped the ‘old’ from the name. By 1949, Ivory was dropped from the Kohler color lineup.
Oddly enough, even though Ivory was not in the 1950 Kohler lineup, it is possible that ‘Tuscan’ made a shift from beige to a yellowy beige. You be the judge. Above images from: 1950 Kohler catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library.
Crane — Citrus Yellow and India Ivory
In 1940, Crane offered both a creamy ‘India Ivory,’ which looks like a pale yellow, and a bright ‘Citrus Yellow,’ along with Orchid Pink, Pale Jade, Lavender and Sun Tan. Images above from: 1940 Crane catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library.
Here’s Crane’s Citrus Yellow again in another 1940 Crane catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library.
Eljer — Jonquil Yellow and Colonial Ivory
Pam spotted some Eljer catalogs from 1939 and 1940 in the Building Technology Heritage Library that showed two shades of yellow — including Jonquil Yellow and Colonial Ivory.
Briggs — Autumn Yellow and Ivory
The two images above show Autumn Yellow — a cheery bright hue — from the 1950s Briggs Beautyware catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library.
The Briggs catalog shows their Ivory as slightly more beige than pale yellow. Above, two images above of Briggs’ Ivory from: A 1951 Briggs Beautyware catalog / Building Technology Heritage Library.
See our other stories about vintage bathroom colors:
- Decorating a beige bathroom: Color history and ideas from six manufacturers from 1927 to 1962
- The color green in kitchens and bathrooms sinks, tubs and toilets from 1928 to 1962
- The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets — from 1927 to 1962
- The color blue in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets — from 1927 to 1962