Chicago Faucets: Est. 1901, The Great Depression & Today

Chicago Faucets: Est. 1901, The Great Depression & Today

Regina Yunghans
Mar 8, 2010

Store History

  • Founded: 1901
  • Founded by: Albert Brown
  • Headquarters: Des Plaines, IL

We're currently pulling through a great recession, and sometimes it's encouraging to hear stories of others' struggles and successes in tough times. During Kitchen and Bath Month, what better time to take a look at the history of The Chicago Faucet Company.

The Chicago Faucet Company was founded in 1901 by Albert C. Brown. He used his savings to open up a small shop on Chicago's West Side. It was there that he produced plumbing fixtures, lamp shade frames, gas valves, and oil burner nozzles.

The company grew over the next decade until it was marketing and nationally distributing plumbing fixtures under the Chicago Faucet name. It was at that time that Brown invented the Quaturn cartridge - a plumbing device capable of turning water flow completely on or off with a simple quarter turn of a handle (instead of turning and turning and turning a valve). The Quaturn became a standard and, though they've undergone some changes, cartridges today can still be interchanged with those from 1913.

Even with this great success, the onset of the Great Depression hit The Chicago Faucet Company hard because of the abrupt halt of new construction (sound familiar?). But the company held on, even though it meant cutting its work week to as little as two days. An eventual rebound was strengthened by participation in the Chicago World's Fair of 1933 and a brief conversion to the production of nuts, bolts, screws and parachute hooks during World War II.

Today, the company's name is still synonymous with high quality and reliability in plumbing fixtures. Though they were acquired by The Geberit Group in 2002, Chicago Faucets is still a name I and many others think of when specifying plumbing fixtures.

Read more on the history of The Chicago Faucet Company here.

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