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Antique Plumbing - Cleanliness In The Gay NinetiesAuthor: Alice G. Harvey
( Article orginally published December 1959 )
FASHIONS in plumbing fixtures, as in everything else, are subject to change, and the embossed closet bowl pictured here was a short-time fad, manufactured by the Trenton Potteries Company for Crane Company of Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1890s. The original unit included a water cabinet in a wooden box, fastened high on the wall, with a chain pull.
There are two trademarks on the bowl. One identifies the Crane Company, the other, the Trenton Potteries. The latter also includes the patent date-April 15, 1890. At that time the Trenton Potteries were making plumbing fixtures for several companies, but within the past ten years, the Crane Company has purchased the pottery and now its output is used solely for Crane fixtures.
For those restoring a house of the Gay 90s period, or seeking an unusual fixture for a Victorian powder room, such an ornamental and elegant seat is an appointment to know about, to look for-and quite possibly to find!
LAVATORIES with water supplied through taps were, in the 1890s, for mansions or clubs. Conservative bedrooms still did with a jug and basin, unless they succumbed to the "Toilet Acquarius" pictured, patented and manufactured by John J. Royle of Glasgow, Manchester, and London. Here, to pour water, it was necessary only to tilt the container for ward. It was announced as "a new domestic comfort."