Issue: 6/01

In 1901, founder Albert C. Brown set up shop on Chicago's west side to produce OEM faucets, lamp shade frames, gas regulator valves and oil burner tips and nozzles. By 1911, demand for the company's plumbing products had grown to the point where it began marketing them under its own name, and distributing its expanding line through wholesale plumbing supply houses.

In 1913, Chicago Faucets made a breakthrough in faucet design with Brown's patented Quaturn cartridge. It was a replaceable, self-contained operating cartridge with the then-revolutionary ability to turn water flow off from full flow with one-quarter turn of the faucet handle.

In 1915, the firm moved to a larger facility. By the 1920s, the company had carved out a niche as a supplier of faucets and valves to plumbing specifiers and commercial maintenance engineers in the Midwest.

During World War II and through the Korean conflict, the company's manufacturing capability was converted to war-related products, including screws for ammo cases, parachute hooks and specialty nuts and bolts. It was 1953 before operations returned to normal. The postwar building boom led to prosperity, and in 1961, a new, larger facility in suburban Des Plaines, IL. Significant expansions have taken place in every decade since.

Today, Chicago Faucets employs around 500 people in operations located in Des Plaines, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Huntsville, AL. Sales volume is "in the $100 million range," according to president Alan Lougee, great-grandson of company founder A.C. Brown.