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.
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.