Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spigot Spout Clawfoot Faucets: Add a Little Period Style with these Compact Vintage Clawfoot Tub Faucets

Today clawfoot tubs are known for their elaborate exposed plumbing and shower enclosure sets, however, very simple spigot style clawfoot faucets were much more common during the golden era of clawfoot tubs of the early 1900’s. Spigot clawfoot tub faucets are also called down spout clawfoot tub faucets as their small spout points down directly from the body of the faucet. Reproductions of spigot clawfoot tub faucets are still available today and they remain a popular choice for use with small clawfoot tubs. Basic models of spigot clawfoot faucets are usually the most affordable faucet option available for clawfoot tubs. Models of vintage tub faucets, however, are also available with shower diverters for handheld shower attachments or complete shower enclosure sets.

The simple design of spigot clawfoot faucets does have a few drawbacks. Unlike other styles of clawfoot tub faucets, the simple down spout of spigot style clawfoot faucets limits it to installations on tubs with tub wall faucet holes. Further, spigot clawfoot faucets are not code compliant in some areas of the country where plumbing codes require tub faucet spouts to be above the rim of the tub. They are also not available with modern thermostatic technologies like anti-scald and anti-siphon features which are also required by plumbing codes in some areas.

Shop 4 Classics is currently offering added savings on clawfoot faucet and plumbing orders with its FAUCET5 promotional coupon. FAUCET5 will apply a 5% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes a clawfoot tub faucet or clawfoot tub shower, supply lines, and drain from the same manufacturer. The FAUCET5 coupon applies in addition to our already discounted prices and, as always, shipping is free for any order of $100 or more from a single manufacturer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Toilet Paper Holders: An Indispensable Dispenser of Toilet Paper

Toilet paper holders are often an afterthought in bathroom design and remodelling projects. We know we need one but it seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Today, however, the toilet paper holder gains some long deserved respect from the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog.

To gain some appreciation for the toilet paper holder we should consider life prior to toilet paper. Ancient civilizations substituted organic materials such as grass, straw, or leaves in place of toilet paper. One could argue that these folks were simply early adapters of today's "green" movement. Ancient Romans preferred a salt water soaked sponge attached to the end of a stick to tidy up after conducting their business. In Mideastern cultures, a little water and the left hand served the purpose (perhaps inspiring the "fist bump" greeting popularized by Howie Mandel). Early Americans used corn cobs or pages from Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogs. Today, unfortunately, you could use stock certificates from either of those two companies but I digress.

Paper specifically designed for use as toilet paper dates back to 14th Century China but it was not until 1857 that toilet paper was first packaged and sold in the US. Introduced by Joseph Gayette, this early toilet paper was made from hemp. Toilet paper is no longer made of hemp so ne'er-do-wells should not try smoking it. Like the toilet paper from 14th Century China, Mr. Gayette's hemp-infused toilet paper was sold in sheets. It was stored in a box near the toilet which means that the first toilet paper holder was a box. By the 1880's, toilet paper had advanced to the rolled and perforated paper that we are familiar with today. Simultaneously, toilet paper holders were designed to accommodate the new rolled tissue.

Toilet paper holders are usually installed about 26" above the finished floor. They should be placed within reach of a person seated on the toilet, approximately 6" in front of the toilet bowl. Freestanding pedestal toilet paper holders can be used in bathrooms where a wall mounted toilet paper holder might be inconvenient. One final installation note, surveys indicate that nearly 70% of Americans agree that toilet paper should be installed on the paper holder with paper coming over the top of the roll, not from underneath.

Today, the average American uses nearly 21,000 sheets of toilet paper each year. That statistic alone suggests that the toilet paper holder is a rather indispensable dispenser of toilet paper.

Shop 4 Classics offers a complete collection of bath accessories including toilet paper holders. Our bath accessory series allow you to match towel bars, robe hooks, soap dishes and toothbrush holders, toilet paper holders, and other bath accessories for a coordinated look. Pedestal toilet paper holders are also available in a variety of popular finishes. Appreciate the toilet paper holder and the next time you reach for toilet paper, thank the Chinese it isn't a corn cob!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pewter Knobs and Pulls: Attractive and Affordable Cabinet Hardware

Shopping for unique cabinet hardware is a rewarding last step for those creating a fresh look for kitchen cabinets or completing a wood working furniture project. Finding distinctive knobs and pulls priced within one’s budget can add frustration to this otherwise enjoyable process. The local big-box hardware store may offer hundreds of mass-produced brass knobs and pulls but they all may begin to look strangely similar in spite of their varying shapes, sizes and finishes. Recently, pewter cabinet knobs and drawer pulls have become an increasingly popular alternative to brass cabinet hardware for a variety of reasons.

Pewter drawer pulls and knobs have a very distinctive look that contrasts particularly well against both dark and light painted or stained wood furniture and cabinets. Pewter cabinet hardware has either a polished or an antique finish. Polished pewter has a satin light gray appearance while antique pewter is a darker gray accentuated with even darker shades of gray within the recesses of the hardware’s design.

Pewter knobs and pulls can also take on unique shapes and cast with fine details due to the metal's low melting point. Pewter cabinet hardware, therefore, can not only take on the same shapes and designs as brass hardware but also can be created with more complex shapes and with details that can not be created economically with brass or bronze.

Last but certainly not least, pewter is a comparatively inexpensive metal and therefore pewter cabinet knobs and pulls are generally less expensive than similar brass or bronze cabinet hardware. In fact, only cast iron cabinet hardware is less expensive than pewter cabinet hardware and cast iron hardware is typically available only in more simple designs.

Visit Shop 4 Classics and check out our latest addition of pewter knob and pull cabinet hardware.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sign of the Crab's Seneca Acrylic Soaker Bathtub: A Tub With Mork In Mind

Before Robin Williams was Robin Williams, he was Mork from Ork. Mork traveled to Earth in an egg-shaped spaceship. Mentioning Mork and his spacecraft might seem odd in a blog dedicated to antique reproduction hardware and plumbing for vintage homes but I reference them because Sign of the Crab recently introduced an acrylic soaker tub that reminds me of Mork's means of intergalactic travel.

Sign of the Crab's Seneca acrylic soaker bathtub is new for 2012. It is a freestanding contemporary tub constructed of durable lightweight acrylic. At just around 90 lbs., this egg-shaped acrylic bathtub is relatively easy to move, which makes it ideal for upper story bathrooms. Acrylic is naturally warmer to the touch than cast iron and water stays warmer longer because acrylic is a good thermal insulator. The Seneca double-walled acrylic bathtub stands 26-1/2" tall overall. It is 65" long and 30-3/4" wide with a 37" long by generous 19" wide seating area.

The Seneca acrylic soaker bathtub features an integrated waste and overflow (otherwise known as a tub drain). The drain trim is available in today's most popular finishes. The smooth curves of the tub go uninterrupted by faucet holes. It can be coupled with a wall mounted tub faucet or over-the-rim freestanding faucet to provide one heck of a sophisticated bath. Shazbot! The Seneca acrylic soaker bathtub is sure to be a winner in 2012.