The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets — from 1927-1962
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Posted by: Kate • March 22, 2016
Every Retro-Renovation-card carrying reader knows that pink bathrooms were wildly popular in midcentury America — thanks in part to First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, who popularized the color in the 1950s. When did we first see pink in bathrooms, though? And what were the different shades from the different manufacturers? I dove back into one of our favorite resources, The Building Techology Heritage Library on archive.org, to start tracking the history and see how many different pinks I could find in bathroom fixtures.
American Standard pinks — Rose Du Barry (pinky purple Orchid of Vincennes), Corallin and Venetian Pink
Above images: 1930 American-Standard Rose Du Barry bathroom fixtures and kitchen sink from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
In the 1930s, American Standard offered a Rose Du Barry pink (above) which looks to be a very rosy, bright pink. The company also offered Orchid Of Vincennes (below) that is likely a lavender pink, though it is hard to tell from the vintage catalog whether it leaned more toward purple or pink.
Above images: 1930 American-Standard Orchid of Vincennes bathroom fixtures from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
Above: By 1950, American Standard had removed their purpley pink Orchid of Vincennes from their color lineup and tweaked their Rose Du Barry pink to be a softer pastel pink, which they called ‘Corallin’. Above from: 1950 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Corallin Pink bathroom fixtures.
By 1962, Corallin was out and a very similar pink — called Venetian Pink — had taken over. In fact, Venetian Pink can still be found today at the last known source for a new pink toilet, Peerless.
Five images above: 1962 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing Venetian Pink fixtures.
Kohler Pink — Lavender, Peachblow
A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. “Lavender” was in the new palette — and golly, we think it looks pink. Above: Lavender fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
By 1936, Kohler had created a separation between Lavender and pink by creating a peachier pink named “Peachblow” which — along with Tuscan, Spring Green and Lavender — became one of their most popular colors. Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup and a Peachblow bathroom in this 1936 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
Above: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, we see the whole palette for the year, which included Peachblow, which Kohler says is a “..more restrained, almost beige” pink that is a toned-down version of Lavender.
By 1949, Kohler had reduced its color offerings to just four: Spruce Green, Peachblow, Cerulean Blue and Tuscan. Two images above: from a 1949 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
Above images: In this 1950 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, Peachblow is still going strong.
Crane — Orchid Pink
In 1940, Crane offered Orchid Pink along with India Ivory, Citrus Yellow, Pale Jade, Lavender and Sun Tan as part of their lineup. Images above from: 1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
Montgomery Ward — Tropical Coral
This 1955 Montgomery Ward catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org offers fixtures in Tropical Coral.
Briggs — Coral
The two images above show Coral from the 1950s Briggs Beautyware catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.
When I created my new retro pink master bathroom from scratch back in 2013, I used a vintage sink found on Craigslist, that I believe is Kohler Peachbow and a Bahama Pink toilet made by Gerber — a color that was sadly discontinued in 2015. Gerber also discontinued their matching lavatory sink in Bahama Pink.
Read more: The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets - from 1927-1962 - Retro Renovation
The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets - from 1927-1962 - Retro Renovation