Damn! WHAT is a period-correct faucet????????


In my previous post on the butler’s pantry in the Cross House I showed this image of the original copper sink. But the faucets are missing. The faucets were a “single tap” type. It would seem easy to simply order a new pair, either reproductions or restored originals, right???????? Ah, no. It is not easy. For, such taps, as available, are almost always later than the 1894 Cross House. And I have no idea what 1894 single taps look like!


Below are a bunch of single taps. All are from Bathroom Machineries. But are any period-correct to the Cross House?

Oh, the vexation! The vexation!


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.47.34 PM

1920s. Lovely, but not right for the Cross House.


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.48.09 PM

Pre-WWI. But does this mean 1904 or 1894?


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.48.32 PM

Circa-1915. Sigh, not right.


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.48.43 PM



Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.48.54 PM

Late 1930s.


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.49.34 PM

Pre-WWI. Again, HOW pre-war? Bathroom Machineries explains: “These nice, heavy valves date to before WW1. Braided supply lines will not hook up as the inlets are not the standardized 1/2” pipe thread. This is how we know they date before WW1. You will need 1/2” supplies with the bullnose end to make these work. Spouts are longer than normal, they extend out 4 1/8”. Handles are reproductions.”


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.49.52 PM

More pre-war. But are these the right perfect period-correct pre-war? These look pretty much like the pair above but Bathroom Machineries explains: “The inlets are 1/2” pipe thread, so braided supply lines will fit.”


Who knew that simply trying to buy faucets could be so vexing?

It belatedly occurs to me me that there might, might, be a box of old plumbing parts in the basement. Might the original faucets still be in the house? My heart races with anticipation!





  1. David Franks on March 19, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Do the square holes in the countertop offer any kind of hint? It seems odd to make square holes if they aren’t necessary.

    • Ross on March 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Golly! I don’t know!

      • David Franks on March 19, 2016 at 11:47 pm

        Seems like a square shank might somehow be involved.

  2. kerri on March 20, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Or maybe brass, something like these?

    • Ross on March 20, 2016 at 12:06 am


  3. Bo on March 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    How funny – I neglected to read this before adding my comment on the previous post.

    Most Victorian kitchens, and Victorian kitchen faucets, tend to be grossly over-designed based on false romantic notions and the general need for anything Victorian to be “fancy” – why they can just stick to the authentic basics I’ve never understood.

    Any Victorian kitchen done by Karla Pearlstein here in Portland is usually thoughtful and exceptionally sympathetic to period.

    Here are a couple:

    You should be able to find a decent faucet – today these are referred to as bar faucets. Try going to Google Images and search “victorian single hole bar faucet” – the problem is, with everything else in the pantry so authentic, the faucet will stand out if also not pretty dang close. The “spell” you know. 😉

    This one isn’t god-awful:

    Polished Nickel is the only period-correct finish (most brass Victorian faucets you see were nickel and have just had all the plating worn or stripped off).

    It is not impossible to find old ones – they tend to be hard to sell and sit around in salvage yards – but they often have the Fuller-style valve, which can be repaired but it takes someone with special knowledge. You can always try Brian here in Portland:
    More here:

    While the old ones were single valve, they are hard to find because people want mixers today. You could consider a practical two-valve with the right looks like this one:
    And then put a standing soap dish or similar in the second hole – not an uncommon practice.
    Both of these faucets would be acceptable if they only made the same body form in a single-valve version. A miss for them there. All their single-valve bar faucets look wrong.

    Chicago makes some with the right form factor (you can choose spout and handle options), but not the elegant period detailing (you have to have the chrome stripped off of Chicago faucets to get down to the nickel).

    I’m sure there are more options, but that’s my quick stab at it. Don’t give up finding old ones though until you (and your internet posse) have beaten the bushes…

    • Allison on May 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      I love it when you comment, Bo! You always have the BEST information.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.