When 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.
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).
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.
This cataloging innovation led to a feature in the 1955 January edition of Domestic Engineering, entitled Concealed Fittings Sleuth.
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.