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Plumbing Trade catalogs
I am interested in rapping with anyone who has an interest in plumbing trade catalogs from the Victorian era. I have been collecting them since about 1980, and have amassed about 150 or so, including some of the very best ones. These catalogs are the best way I know to become educated in the world of Victorian bathroom fixtures. I am always on the hunt for some of the good early ones, by the better known companies, especially the ones with the full page color lithograph illustrations. I have several duplicates of some of my best books, and will always entertain trade offers.
If anyone out there has one or more of these great early catalogs, please drop a comment, and lets talk about it.
Shown are three real special original catalogs. The first is Mott's Plumbing Catalog A 1908, the second is Standard Mfg Co. "Standard Baths, 1891" and the third is an original 1888 J.L.Mott Iron Works Catalog G, the book that is so widely available as a reproduction by Dover Books.

21 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 4th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)

The history of the bathroom

I'm an italian girl. I'm in my phd in the University of Florence, Italy, and I work on the history of the bathroom since 1800 till now.
I ask you if you can give me some advices for find ancient catalogues or if you can send me something of interesting.

My e-mail address: sarolina7@hotmail.com

Thank you very much
From: don_vp Date: October 12th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: The history of the bathroom

Hello Sarolina,

May I suggest you obtain on a copy of The Bathroom The Kitchen and the Aesthetics of Waste, A Process of Elimination. by Ellen Lupton, and J. Abbott Miller. The book is the result of study they did similar to the study you are doing. They combined their study with an exhibit at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in 1992. I believe the book was published in 1996. You can GOOGLE this info and get your hands on their book.

I am certain that the info that their research revealed will be of assistance to you and your study. Vintage Plumbing provided fixtures and information for the exhibit.

Good luck to you.

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: The history of the bathroom

Hi Don,
It's Chris from Baltimore (the emailer with the butchered original standing waste unit on my Trenton Pottery Co. serpentine sink...).
FYI, Ellen Lupton is a graphic designer/professor who lives in the next Victorian neighborhood over (Bolton Hill). I know of her because a friend of mine works with her at the Maryland Institute College of Art -- also, and more interestingly, because both her house and mine were in the running to be used for certain interior shots in the soon-to-be-released Nicole Kidman sci-fi film "The Invasion" (hers was ultimately picked, doh!).
From: don_vp Date: June 20th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: The history of the bathroom

Hello Chris,
I did not realize that Ms. Lupton would be a Victorian house owner.
I spoke to here in the early 90s when she was gathering fixtures for her research project. She was not a professor back then, but not surprising to hear she is now. Her study was incredibly thorough and detailed.
One more tidbit, I recall seeing a story that said that "The Invasion" was being filmed on the streets of downtown LA, like so many movies are, and during one driving scene, the camera car took a corner too fast and several of the crew were hurt when they got tossed around. I believe I recall that Ms. Kidman might have also been slightly injured in the mishap. Thanks for writing Chris,,,,,,,,,
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 28th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

1894 Dawes &My.ler sanitary plumbing supplies

Hi I bought this book at a yard sale and I would like to know if these books are worth anything. the pictures are beautiful, its 1894 W. A. MYLER and E.L. Dawes porcelain=lined baths and sanitary plumbing supplies.I can not find out to much on the line about it.if you know anything about itI would really appreciate it. Thank You Barbara
From: don_vp Date: August 28th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: 1894 Dawes &Myler sanitary plumbing supplies

Hi Barbara,
Catalogs like the one you found sell in the couple $100 range. I am interested in buying yours. Please write me at my email address:
thank you
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 24th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Victorian towel basket

Hi Don! The blog is a great addition to your website. I was hoping you might have an illustration or photo of a free-standing, brass, dirty towel basket in one of your catalogs or from past sales? I know they are rare, and I think I have one. I've seen the illustration that shows a free-standing dirty towel basket under a sink but that illustration is too small to really see the details of construction. And I've seen the wall hung dirty towel basket you sold on your site. Thanks so much for any help! Helene.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 24th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Victorian towel basket

sure Helene, I have pictures. send an email to my email, and I will reply with a picture. and let me know what you want for your basket.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)

historic tile


On the subject of old catalogs, I am a tile maker that specializes in historic reproduction/restoration. We collect catalogs of tile companies from the 1860's to the 1930's. Some have plumbing fixtures.

In the 1920's Kohler and some other foundry operations were joining up with tile companies to coordinate colors.

Old catalogs are very interesting.

Let me know if you have an interest in tiles.


From: (Anonymous) Date: July 19th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Speakman Shower Part Catalogs?

Hi Don,
As I'm a few years late to this post I hope this receives an audience!
It seems I'm about to cross over into your world as I'm going to be a proud owner of a speakman single arm (sort of a derivation of the rib cage style) shower complete with marble enclosure and original nickel/glass shower door. From what I've been told, this was taken out of a house in a wealthy Baltimore neighborhood that was originally installed at the turn of the century. As I'm unable to locate any of these single arm sread style fixtures for reference I thought you may have some leads for me to go on in finding an original parts spec list. I'll need 2 or 3 lever style valve handles at the very least as the previous owner sold them separately (the horror) and as I'm not sure how well this thing actually works, I may need more parts after the install. My concern is that if I can't use universal replacement parts, is this a white elephant of a project? Any info or guidence would be a HUGE help....thanks in advance! Kara Snyder
From: don_vp Date: July 19th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Speakman Shower Part Catalogs?

Yep, write me at
vintageplumbing@sbcglobal.net, and send some clear images of your shower. I will help out as much as I can,
thanks for writing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 12th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

trade catlogues

I have a trade catalog from Kohler and Son Co
It is Catalog A from 1908
It has adorable photos of sinks toilets bathtubs, etc. Does it have value? I was thinking about framing some of the pages, but don't want to do that if it is valuable.


From: don_vp Date: July 11th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: trade catalogues

Sorry for this delayed reply Susan.
You have probably cut up your catalog by now. I say do not do that as there are people who would like to have that old catalog for reference to old bathroom designs. That book would bring some money if offered out on eBay.
good luck
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 2nd, 2012 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Mott lavatory

Hi Don,

I am building a model of a New York 30 sailing yacht designed in 1905 by the famous NG Herreshoff. The drawing describes a Mottt lavatory 353-y.

I wonder if you could find such item in one of your catalogs.

If you do find it I really would like to get a picture of it, Costs on my account of course

Look forward to your answer

Kindest regards and all the best


Dees Wilmsen
Bremweg 19
5915 ge Venlo
From: don_vp Date: December 2nd, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Mott lavatory

Hello Dees
I do not have that lavatory, or any images of it, but maybe someone finding this blog will, and will drop a note to me or to you. Good luck
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 8th, 2014 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Restoration of 7 1904 Bathrooms

Hi, I realize this is an old thread, but I hope you can help. I'm restoring a 1904 American 4-square in Salt Lake. All of the bathrooms had been gutted and redone so we are taking them back to pre-1920. We've bought all antique fixtures, toilets, tubs, sinks. The problem is that our plumber is having a hard time finding faucets and fittings and what-not for these antiques, plus he could use some help in placement. I have found many old photos for inspiration, but if you or anyone on this board has suggestions for where to find either reproduction or original faucets (etc) for antique fixtures, I would be so grateful. We've been searching since May of last year when the house closed, and now we are finally ready to lay the plumbing -- but we have no faucets.

Any suggestions would be so appreciated.
From: don_vp Date: January 26th, 2015 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Restoration of 7 1904 Bathrooms

Sorry for this very tardy reply. I was not notified of your inquiry on my blog. I hope you have resolved your dilemma by now. Finding old fittings or new fittings to fit old fixtures can be very difficult. One of the best places to look is www.deabath.com in central CAL. They have many solutions for fitting up old fixtures. Or write to me a vintageplumbing@att.com and send photos of the fixtures you are trying to use. I may have some solutions for you.
Good luck
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 19th, 2015 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)

old plumbing books

i have about a dozen old plumbing books and catalogs i would like to sell they are from around 1900 to 1920 i can list them if your interested thanks bob
From: don_vp Date: November 19th, 2015 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: old plumbing books

Hello Bob
sure, list your catalogs, and your contact information.
thanks for writing,
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 19th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: old plumbing books

thanks don for getting back to me so quick i will list what i have standard plumbing supply co. not sure what year around 1910, wolverine brass works 1915,standard plumbing goods 1919,the ideal fitter 1920,valves and fittings catalog no 50 1917,george limbert steam goods 1902,crane plumbing catalog b 1915,kohler catalog k 1914,the ideal fitter 1916,the national sanitary co.1914. all in very good shap for there age you can contact me at bobphin@yahoo.com and i can send pictures if you wish thanks bob
From: don_vp Date: November 19th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: old plumbing books

Anyone interested in these early plumbing catalogs please contact Bob directly at bobphin@yahoo.com
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