Crane vintage bathrooms sinks, tubs and toilets — catalog from 1954

My stacks of vintage kitchen and bathroom brochures have been taunting me lately, so Ms. Scan I Am. This 1954 brochure from Crane is a beauty. Crane was top-of-the-line when it came to bathroom sinks, toilets and tubs. Gorgeous products! And, 1954 was an interesting year:  America was just beginning to move into a new era of post-war styling, yet, with many of the same pre-war Streamline products. 

Because these brochures were meant to be aspirational eye candy, there were very very talented interior designers working on the mockup rooms: They were fearless in their experimentation with spacial organization, materials, colors, pattern, scale — it was all so modern. The genesis of this blog was my collecting materials like this and scrutizining every single detail so that I could consider how to replicate these looks in my own house. So today: Let’s scrutinize some of the most beautiful and highest quality bathrooms of … 1954.

Above: We know it as a “Cinderella” bathtub, but in the Crane line, it’s the Neuvogue Receptor Bath. I love the color combination in this bathroom: Light blue, medium blue, coral and brown — warm, wonderful and today, unexpected.

The catalog cover was targeted at the Mrs.
Note the tropical wallpaper. Has everyone noticed how palm leaf frond wallpaper is So Popular again today. I *think* they know it’s retro. 

The color palette in this one is very well done — while kind of “somber”, which keeps it pretty “neutral”, the designers added interest with materials, pattern and design. The color-values of the tile on the tub surround are particularly well done; the tile mix on the diagonal is pretty wild, but because the colors are toned down and used only around the tub, the overall effect does not “scream”.

It’s milady-from-the-cover’s bathroom: A before and after! Again: Lovely colors. That green is one of the most timeless colors ever.

This bathroom is a harmony of neutrals, anchored by beautiful Crane French Gray fixtures. Note the mix of materials: Ceramic, glass, wood, cork, vinyl, grasscloth, laminate, chromium, boucle.

Above, indeed: “Even the Smallest Bathroom has Room for Charm.” Because, golly, this is how big most everyone’s house was, in 1954.

Crane bathroom colors in 1954:

  • Pale Jade
  • Citrus Yellow
  • Shell Pink
  • Persian Red
  • India Ivory
  • Sun Tan
  • French Grey
  • Sky Blue
  • White

Interestingly, this brochure has no Mamie pink bathroom. In ’54, Mamie madness was only really getting started; buckle up.

Above: Interesting that Crane would sell you a wood-look laminate vanity too. Note, they seem to have postformed the Formica countertop right around the usually-tiled- or hudeed-in sink. The text explains:

The Modular Unit illustrated here has two Crane Criterion lavatories with a Formica counter-top. Base cabinets include hamper, drawer, utility, and lavatory…. Modular cabinets are made of wood and have a laminated plastic bonded facing which provides a beautiful and practical finish. The top and sides are available in a selection of attractive patterns and colors.

Crane sinks, toilets, tubs and hardware from 1954:

Above: Note they have a Swing-Away Tumbler and Toothbrush Holder. Surely this must have been made by Hall-Mack. But who knows!

Thank you, Crane bathroom designers of 1954, for all the great ideas! You must have been mighty proud, and deservedly so.

  1. Reuben says:

    I have a Diana lavatory. The faucet handles – the things you twist to turn on the water – need to be replaced because the threading that connects the handle to the valve below is worn down. Does anybody know where replacements can be found?

  2. Pam Kueber says:

    Try deabath.com — they are Crane specialists. Be sure to tell them Pam from Retro Renovation sent you!

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