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toilet age


AHI in AR
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I inspected a 3300 s.f. house yesterday and I'm trying to determine its age. It had been so heavily remodeled that most normal clues were not there. There was one original bathroom, and the tile was black and white. The commode had a wall mounted porcelainized cast iron tank, with a metal pipe connecting it to the bowl. The seller claims 1946; I think it has to be older than that, as in 20's or 30's. What do you guys think? Anyone know when they got away from wall mounted iron tanks and went to all china tank-on-bowl construction?

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Kevin,

I check the County tax records for the age of the properties I look at. Erie County, NY has a pretty easy to navigate website for that info, some of the surrounding Counties are a little tougher, but it's all public info and is out there somewhere. I have yet to see a house that has been accurately sized though. My parents house for example, was 2800 SF (it's over 5000 with the finished basement) and was built to replace an older house. The build date is correct, but it is listed as the 1800 SF of the previous house. The moral is you need to verify the accuracy of what you find there.

Added:

To answer your toilet question, mid century is way to late for that type of fixture. I think you're on the right track.

Tom

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I've seen a few toilets with the wall mounted tank and the flush tube in houses built in the 1940's.

I know of an entire subdivision in Jackson MS that was built right after WWII all 2&3 bedrooms with 1 1/2 baths and all have wall mounted tanks. So I would say that they were used up till the late 1940's.

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Anyone know when they got away from wall mounted iron tanks and went to all china tank-on-bowl construction?

I've never seen a wall-mount tank toilet assembly that was manufactured after 1939 (many have the date inked in the glaze). I've never seen one installed in a house built after WWII. Things could have been different down that way though.
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I too pull up the county assessors records before going to the inspection. It can be very informative. If there are a lot of changes I also give a copy to the client and let them know they may see a big jump in taxes in the future.

As for square footage the basement is not counted here. It is below grade and not always considered "living space".

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The black and white tile schemes are from the 30's (at least up here).

That's why I included that info; it's the same here. There was no date visible inside the tank. If there had been, it was obscured by rust and gook. The home had been vacant two years. The toilet was a Crane. Still worked great!

It's not required that I list the exact age of the home; it just got my curiosity up. I just keep thinking 1938...

It was NOT a typical post-war GI special.

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I've got a couple original crane fixtures from 1950; awesomely wonderful brass in the tank; never leaks, brass ball float valve, etc.

The lav popup is milled so fine, the metal on metal joint holds water better than my new Grohe.

The date on the toilet tank thing, in my experience, is hit or miss; some have them, some don't. Some got shifted around, or bought new to replace one that broke. Showing customers a date on the tank cover always impresses them though......

Wall tanks faded out here in the 30's. They were largely gone during the late '20's.

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Dates are cool when you can find them. I have a solid porcelain pedestal sink in my house that came from a salvage shop, it is signed and dated on the bottom of the basin inside the fitter where it rests on the pedestal, 1915 if I recall correctly. I found it while cleaning it up prior to placing it, amazing that they would hide something so interesting. The thing is so heavy I have it free standing, the brass trap is rigid enough to keep it from walking around.

Tom

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