History of Moen Faucets and its Innovator Al Moen

Moen was started in 1937 in Seattle, Washington, by a young college student named Al Moen who was working in his garage to earn his tuition money. While cleaning his garage one night after work, he turned on his old-fashioned two-handle faucet to wash his hands, and a sudden burst of hot water made him jump back in alarm. That single incident changed the world of plumbing forever. An idea popped into All Moen’s head for the concept of a single-handle faucet. Meaning one handle to control hot and cold water. Al Moen once said, “it got me thinking that you ought to be able to get what you wanted out of a faucet. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that a single-handle mixing faucet was the answer, so I began to make some drawings.” Well it took Al Moen countless tries to sell his concept to plumbing products manufacturers. Al worked on many revisions over the years. World War II put his project on hold, as materials were shifted as priorty for the war effort. 10 years later in 1947, Al finally found an interested manufacturer named Ravenna Metal Products of Seattle. Ravenna sold their first 250 Moen faucets to a San Francisco plumbing supplier. The Moen single handle faucet was on its way to becoming a household name, not only in North America, but in approximately 55 countries around the world today. 10 years later in 1959, the Moen single-handle faucet was a hit. It made its way into hundreds of thousands of homes in the U.S., buoyed by the post-war construction boom. In 1959, a survey of the world’s leading designers, published in FORTUNE magazine, named the Moen single-handle faucet as one of the top 100 best designed mass-produced products of modern times. Another FORTUNE article published in 1991 listed Moen faucets as a part of “100 of America’s Best.” Who would have known that the single-handle faucet could have changed the world so much.

Al Moen headed Moen Incorporated’s research and development group until his retirement in 1982. He held over 75 patents, including the replaceable cartridge (eliminating washers in faucets), the screen aerator, push-button shower valve diverter, swivel spray, pressure balancing shower valve and flow control aerator. Moen changed the world of faucets and plumbing forever. Many of his patents were in fields totally unrelated to plumbing. A nominee for the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Al Moen has been honored by the plumbing industry, being named to the Kitchen & Bath Hall of Fame in 1993. His genius is perhaps best summed up by the simple title that appeared on his business card — Al Moen, Inventor.

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