<![CDATA[Barry E. Walter Sr. Company - Articles & More]]>Sat, 13 Apr 2024 09:55:23 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Plumbing Industry Terminology]]>Sat, 18 Mar 2023 05:00:00 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/plumbing-industry-terminologyWhen it comes to identifying stems, valves, and cartridges, it is helpful at times to know the Terminology of those parts. When you take a look at the historical usage of terminology in the plumbing industry, different words were calling the same parts different things - it can get confusing quickly. 

So, let's alleviate some of that confusion by illustrating common plumbing industry terminology:
You can see in this old American Standard parts breakdown where terms like “seat washer screw, seat washer, stuffing box, and stuffing nut” were used. 

When you look at this Eljer parts breakdown, instead of using stuffing nut, they used the term “packing nut”. Instead of stuffing box, the manufacturer is using the term “bushing” - Not the more modern terms: bonnet or gland. Seat washer is still used and the screw is no longer called a "seat washer screw". Nowadays, we also hear the terms bibb washer and bibb screw

Terminology at BWSC

So how do we use these terminologies at Barry E. Walter Senior Company? Let's start with where the handle attaches. We call the end of the stem (where the handle will go) the spline or broach.

Next, let's look at the part of the stem unit that seals against the valve body. We differentiate these by calling them glands or bonnets, rather than stuffing boxes or bushings.

So, what is the difference between a gland and bonnet for us? 
  • When the stem is operating in the part that is sealing against the valve body, we will typically call it a gland. 
  • When the stem is operating or moving in something besides the parts that seal inside the valve body (typically the valve body or a barrel or sleeve), we will call that part that screws in and seals against the valve body  the  bonnet.
  • You can see an example of both a gland and bonnet in this picture. You can also see that both threads are 29˚ ACME Threads:

Here are some other key identifiers that we like to use for identification purposes:

single-lead thread will have one start or beginning. Since it's just one beginning, it will turn slower than a double-lead thread that has two beginnings.

Typically, when lever handles were used, the manufacturer wants the stems to turn faster, so double-lead or even triple-lead threads are incorporated.

Looking at the matching Crane stems below, Crane used the single-lead threads when they provided round, cross, or knob-handles, and they used the double-lead threads when they provided lever handles. 

​You can also see on these stems that the threads have a different angle or pitch - these are 60˚ Stub Threads.

On these two stems, you can see one is a 60 Degree Stubbed Thread, and the bottom one, while similar to the 29° ACME Threads, is actually modified square and does not have much of an angle on the pitch. 

Ceramics, Non-Rising Stems, Thermostatics, and Newer Cartridges

  • When we get into some of the newer style cartridges such as ceramics, instead of the cartridge being a stem moving up and down compressing against the seat, you now have parts of ceramic cartridges that use a stem and a housing  ​​
  • In a typical housing like this, there will be internal stops that work with the stem to designate it as a quarter turn or half turn cartridge. 
  • The tolerances in a ceramic disk cartridge are much tighter than a traditional compression stem - this is to provide the proper dimensions for the two disks to seal and not let water molecules through.

When discussing non-rising stems, we're talking about cartridges where the plunger moves up and down and the stem does not. 

These were typically used in decorative fixtures.

​As you can see in this picture, a typical non-rising stem will have plungers, stems, and a housing or bonnet. ​​​​

​And in even more modern cartridges - thermostatics - there is an entirely separate set of components that are much more complicated than other cartridges.  These cartridges control temperature regardless of water pressure or volume.

Although thermostatic cartridges can occasionally include volume control, they typically only control temperature.   

Thermostatic cartridges most commonly use a wax element as the temperature control motor. The motor is attached to a shuttle that regulates the volume of hot and cold water.

Additionally, the use of springs and plungers allow the turning of the stem to control the temperature by adjusting the shuttle.

We hope this quick article will be a helpful resource for you and your team. Our goal here is to give you more information to help with the identifications of a cartridge.

If you still get stumped, you can always email or text a free parts identification request to:
To learn more about our Parts ID process, check out our help desk video and download our free Stem Identification Guide by clicking the button below: 
Help Desk
<![CDATA[A Guide to Identifying Stems (Free DOWNLOAD)]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2023 05:00:00 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/a-guide-to-identifying-stems-free-downloadIn addition to our help desk video , we have developed a handy flyer for your parts counter and customers to use when submitting requests to our helpdesk. Keep reading to learn the steps to a successful help desk parts identification request submission.


​The Help Desk is a free parts identification service offered by Barry E. Walter Senior Company to help service customers and reduce the many frustrations associated with trying to identify plumbing parts, old and new alike. We highly recommend watching our full help desk video to see the process in action. For a step by step explanation, keep reading:


  • Remove part from valve body
  • Remove trim
  • Lay part next to a ruler
  • Use a broach gauge to determine spline count
  • Take the stem out of the bonnet (for compression stems)
  • Take clear photos of the entire part next to a ruler


  • Leave Part in Valve Body
  • NOT Remove Trim
  • NOT Get the Spline Count
  • NOT measure the part length
  • Send an incomplete or blurry photo

After you have successfully photographed your part, submit it to our help desk:

 Click the button below to download your
​free copy of our printable flyer:
Download the Stem ID Flyer

We hope this quick guide proves to be helpful to you and your team. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions!
<![CDATA[Catalog History]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2023 06:00:00 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/catalog-historyWhen it comes to plumbing parts, identifying parts, and cataloging, my family has a long rich history. 
The way my grandfather identified and cataloged parts 70 years ago, still affects the way we do things today.
The Very First “Plumber’s Index to Concealed Tub and Shower Valves.” - 1953
1953: Lauren D Walter compiled and published the first “Plumber’s Index to Concealed Tub and Shower Valves.” At that time, he was working for H.E. Holzemer Company in Los Angeles, but it was several years earlier, when working the counter for Hirsch Pipe and Supply, that he recognized the need to help the plumbing professional identify the shower stems that needed to be replaced.

The original concept for The Plumber’s Index was to provide the plumber with a subscription to an ever-updating catalog of stems. All the stems in the index were drawn to scale by hand on draft paper. This allowed for my grandfather to put in key areas of identification. Subscribers paid an initial fee of $10 for the first year and $5 every year after that. As more parts were identified and drawn, they were added to the subscriber’s index.

Serving the contract professional by eliminating the headache of trying to identify parts, Lauren’s index provided drawings of 87 supply valve stems and 34 diverters. The index was laid out over 12 sections that included over 40 manufacturers, ranging from American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corp to Stephen A Young. Parts were classified with a manufacturer in each section and identified with three key points of a part: the seat retainer, the male lead thread of the stem, and the female lead thread (either in the body, in the gland or with a renewable seat in a barrel).
Draft paper drawings in “Plumber’s Index to Concealed Tub and Shower Valves.”

By showing items of the stem unit like stem thread and the serration count of the spline, he allowed the repair plumber to quickly and easily identify the part –saving them both time and money. 
Click the link below to read the full "Domestic Engineering" article
Click to read the article
Fast forward to today, where we have print catalogs with thousands of parts drawn and cataloged and we are constantly update our website with new parts.

Instead of draft paper and a pencil, we employ state of the art technology like Solid Works and AutoCad to allow us to draw the part to dimension, reveal the concealed, identifying attributes of the stem unit, and place the units on paper to scale – just like my grandfather did so long ago.

​Using these drafting tools also allows us to make mechanical prints of the parts we make so the machine operators know the critical dimensions of the parts and ensure the superior quality that our customers expect.

Our CAD Operator is employed full time to remain engaged in drawing and cataloging the constant flow of new parts. (For a demonstration of the process of rendering a part, please reference the video below).

​Armed with a process in place to remain up to date with new product, our CAD Operator is able to give our customers regular catalog updates on our website.

​With an increased level of engagement and an eye on future needs, we will be able to continue to serve the way my grandfather did all of those years before.
<![CDATA[Part Identification Made Easy: Barry Walter Sr Company's Help Desk]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2022 23:36:17 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/part-identification-made-easy-barry-walter-sr-companys-help-deskIn this video, learn how our team will help wholesalers and plumbing supply houses identify hard-to-find parts for the plumber, professional, and even the DIYer. It is our mission to make you the parts hero!

Try our help desk: 
<![CDATA[The HIstory of Barry E. Walter Senior Company]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2022 22:37:48 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/the-history-of-barry-e-walter-senior-company
Domestic Engineering Magazine Article - January 1955
Domestic Engineering Magazine Article - January 1955

Most family businesses have a story

 Ours starts with an incredibly talented man and a desire to serve others.

My grandfather, Lauren D. Walter, worked for several plumbing supply houses in the Los Angeles area after serving in the navy as a machinist during World War II. While manning the counter at Hirsch Pipe and Supply in the early 50s, he recognized the struggle of the plumbing professional to identify the concealed valves that needed to be replaced. To save them time, he developed the first stem guide.

After moving on to P&M Mfg., he saw the need for making parts that were no longer available. He convinced his boss to provide an engine lathe for him. When a plumber would bring in a part that they couldn’t supply, he would take it to his garage at home and he would duplicate the part from that sample. He would make a part for the plumber and several for P&M’s stock; He would hang on to the original stem unit the plumber gave him for his reference sample to make again when needed. As he added to his repertoire of completed jobs, the size of the samples that he collected grew. Lauren didn’t just ask for the stems and stem units, he asked for the valve bodies that were torn out of walls to use for testing the parts. Years of gathering samples garnered a virtual museum of plumbing parts and fixtures.

This “side job” was soon also done by the whole family as part of their chores. Over time, my grandfather left P&M and started making replacement plumbing parts full time.
Domestic Engineering Magazine - January 1955

​My father, Barry Sr., grew up working in his father’s business; just like most sons, he said he was never going to work for his father. After years of working for the phone company, he left to work for his father. Senior started working on the machines and eventually worked into more management positions.

My grandfather was incredibly talented
...when it came to building, design, and engineering

There was no operation that he couldn’t automate or make more efficient by standardizing the operation. Indexed tables and air-fed slides; as a small boy, it was amazing to watch. Grandfather also knew instinctively the areas in the market that needed to be filled and how to best serve his customers. What he lacked was the business acumen.

Over time, he took on partner after partner. After his retirement and selling the majority of the company to his last partner, the company closed its doors.

I was in high school at the time. My brother Lauren was 5 years younger than I and my mother was pregnant with my brother Franklin. I remember talking to my father about what he was going to do as he took me to school. I remember being really worried about the situation, but I also remember my father’s words and what he believed to be his future. He was going to buy the assets of the company.

He wasn’t as interested in the machinery or the inventory; he wanted those samples that had been collected over the 35 years of my grandfather’s time identifying and machining parts. He saw the future of machining in CNC equipment; not the screw machines or other automatic machines, but computer machines that could hold tighter tolerances and run unattended.

My father and my mother took a second mortgage out on their house and borrowed money to buy the assets of the company. Barry E. Walter, Sr. Co. was born. Senior started small, vowed to not take on partners and strove to be a good steward by managing the growth of the company.

Just like my grandfather, my father possesses the same foundational skills of entrepreneurship, design, engineering, and building. He has provided the foresight to see the need for replacement ceramic units to provide our customers with these hard-to-find replacements. Over the years, he too has built machines to automate the jobs that need to be done; machines like rotary tables with induction heating elements to solder retainers on stems. He also possessed the shrewd business skills that my grandfather lacked.

Just like my father before me, I also said that I would never work for my father. After I graduated college, I worked in my field of study but quickly found out that it wasn’t something I enjoyed. When I was working 2 full-time jobs, the reasoning I used to not work for my father – working a lot of hours – seemed insensible.

I went to work for my parents in 1994. I originally protested about moving back to the Los Angeles area after being away from it, but my parents had already decided to move to Colorado – the cost of doing business in CA proving to be onerous.

I went to work for the company, originally running our multi-spindle screw machines. I too, over time, worked my way into my former management position of COO, to the position I hold now; CEO. My brother Lauren also followed me over time and also after working for years on the machines, learning part knowledge, and gathering the operational skills that we both lead the company with now.

Entrepreneurship, building, engineering, designing, frugality, stewardship, managed growth. These make up the foundation of what this company has been built on.

It is a large part of why we are still here and still strong thirty+ years later. My parents’ four boys are now working in the business. Lauren, Franklin, Nathaniel, and I know the skill set, drive, determination, and principles of what we do have gotten us here. It is our vision to take this foundation of what got us here and build on that with the leadership that is needed to grow and strengthen us going forward.

It is our plan, with our mission and core values in place, to better engage with our customers and grow our relationships. Making superior quality plumbing parts here in America matters. Supporting small businesses is vital. Serving our customers and team members makes a positive impact. As we continue to partner with you, our customers, we hope that you feel the same as we do.

​-Barry Walter, Jr, CEO
<![CDATA[Hot COLD CHEAT SHEET (FREE DOWNLOAD)]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2022 19:58:50 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/hot-cold-cheat-sheet-free-downloadTo followup on our Full Hot/Cold/Left/Right Article, we have created a free, handy Cheat Sheet
​for you to print out: 
Feel Free to Right Click and Save this image or download the PDF version below:
File Size: 164 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

<![CDATA[Hot? Cold? Left? Right? Everything You NEED TO KNOW]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2022 18:29:12 GMThttp://barrywalter.com/articles--more/hot-cold-left-right-everything-you-need-to-know

There is a reason we do not differentiate between hot and cold with our part IDs.

It would be imperfect to do so. The use of the stems and cartridges vary with the installation type. Historically, stems were described by the thread direction used, which changed depending on the handle type and whether the faucet was on a deck or a wall.​
As you can see on this page from an old American Standard Catalog, stems and assembly units were differentiated by right hand and left hand threads NOT hot & cold.

​When it comes to two-handle faucets and valves, round and cross handles are used when the valves turn the same direction. In this case, the valves and handles will turn off clockwise, regardless of whether stems or cartridges are on a deck, slant-back, or wall.

The stems turn off in opposing directions only if lever handles are involved in the install. The orientation of the on/off operation in this situation is dependent on if the fixture is on a deck, a wall, or a slant back.

When lever handles are used on a deck, they should be rotated in towards the user to turn the water on and pushed away from the user to turn the water off. Thus, the hot side (on the left) should turn off clockwise, and the cold side (on the right) should turn off counter-clockwise.
As you can see from these Eljer Catalog pages, the deck- mounted faucet on the left uses a left hand stem unit for the cold, and a right hand stem unit for the hot. Conversely, the wall-mounted unit uses a right hand stem unit for cold and a left hand stem unit for hot.

However, when the faucet or valve is installed on a slant back or onto a wall, lever handles should operate inversely. The reason for this is due to gravity. Decorative, heavier levers might unintentionally turn the water on if installed and operated the same as the deck stems. To avoid this, the water turns on when the handles are turned upwards and the water is shut off when the handles  are rotated downwards.

This means that now the hot side (on the left), turns off counter-clockwise and the cold side (on the right) turns off clockwise.

It is for these reasons that we do not use the terms “hot” and “cold”
in our part IDs.

In the parts breakdown from this Price Pfister catalog, you can see this kitchen Wall Faucet calls out the cold side as part number 910-072.
In this parts breakdown from the same catalog, with the stem unit in the “deck” position, the 910-072 is now hot.

Our parts a identified by the direction of the thread.

So, how do you identify right hand and left hand threads? Quite simply!
Reference the picture below. If the thread on the stem is going up and to the right, it is a right hand stem. If the thread on the stem is going up and to the left, it is a left hand stem.


When does a left hand thread not turn off counter-clockwise?

On this unit, the stem is held in place by a clip

​In some cases, there are stem units that have right hand threads that turn off counter-clockwise and left hand threads that turn off clockwise. These are non-rising cartridges.

Simply put, non-rising means that the stem does not move up and down.
Kohler Valvet Non-Rising Unit

​On the "LF455362" cartridge, the stem is held in place by a clip. There is a plunger operated by the stem that moves up and down and turns the water off.

The majority of non-rising units are found in the decorative market. That being said, the most common and prevalent of these units are the Kohler Valvet (pictured left). They are the most popular of the non-rising units and have been around for the longest time.

​In what other cases do stem units turn opposite of the
thread direction?

Chicago Faucet Stem Unit

​The most obvious instances of a right hand thread turning off counter-clockwise and a left hand thread turning off clockwise are found in both the Chicago Faucet stem units and Crane Dialeze stem units. In both of these cases, the stem still rises. In doing so, the washer seals and stops the flow of water.
Crane Dialeze Stem Unit


What about when there are no threads?

In the case of ceramic units, there are no internal stem threads. We have chosen to use the numbering system we use for typical compression units:

  • Clockwise off = unit ends in the number 1
  • Counter-clockwise off = unit ends in the number 2
A Ceramic Unit

This means, on a deck with lever handles:
  • The cartridge ending in the number would be on the left side for the hot.
  • The cartridge ending in the number would be on the right side for the cold.

When moving to a wall using lever handles:
  • The cartridge ending in a 1 would be on the right side for cold
  • The cartridge ending in a 2 would be on the left side for the hot.

​Confused? Let's break it down.

  • If you have round or cross handles, the stems should turn off clockwise regardless of where they are located.
  • It is only when using lever handles that the cartridges should close oppositely.
  • On a flat surface or deck, the hot side should turn off clockwise and the cold side should turn off counter-clockwise.
  • On a slanted surface or wall, the hot side should turn off counter-clockwise and the cold side should turn off clockwise.

​We hope this article is both educational and of service to you.
As always, please send any inquiries you have to: