Alfred Moen; Inventor Created Single-Handle Sink Faucet
Alfred M. Moen, who was inspired to build a better faucet after nearly burning his hands trying to wash them, died Tuesday at his home in Destin, Fla. He was 86.
Moen invented a single-handle faucet, which mixes hot and cold water before it exits the fixture. It transformed the American home and became the basis for Moen Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures.
Moen’s story began in 1937 when he was a college student working evenings in a garage to pay his tuition at the University of Washington. At the end of his shift one night, he went to wash up at the sink, which had a conventional two-handle faucet.
When he turned on the spigot, scalding water burst forth, making young Moen jump back in alarm. The incident did more than scare him, however. Moen couldn’t put the mishap out of his mind.
“It got me thinking,” he said, “that you ought to be able to get what you wanted out of a faucet.”
What he wanted was a way to control water volume and temperature at the same time. Since everybody washes their hands, he thought, solving this problem might have broad appeal. It began to consume Moen, who was a mechanical engineering major.
After several sessions at the drawing board, he arrived at what he believed was the answer: a faucet with a single handle that would mix water in the spigot before releasing it at the desired temperature.
Calling his creation a single-handle mixing faucet, Moen borrowed money to build models and pitched his design to plumbing manufacturers. It elicited a less than gushy response at first, with at least one major manufacturer telling him that his design had serious flaws.
Then World War II broke out, making brass and other necessary materials scarce as the nation geared up for combat. Moen went to work as a tool designer in a Seattle shipyard and then for Boeing Aircraft before being drafted into the Navy. But he never abandoned his vision for a perfect faucet.
It was not until 1947, a decade after he came up with the idea, that he found a willing manufacturer. That year, Ravenna Metal Products in Seattle sold 250 of Moen’s faucets to a San Francisco supplier, which retailed them for about $12 each. Soon Ravenna was producing 5,000 of the faucets a year to meet growing demand.
“The price was right, and it was easy to use,” Bob Miodonski, editorial director of the trade publication Contractor Magazine, said of the faucet’s popularity.
By 1950, Moen’s one-handled wonder was becoming the sink fixture of choice.
In 1959, Fortune magazine named Moen’s single-handle faucet one of the top 100 best-designed mass-produced products, along with Henry Ford’s Model-T and Benjamin Franklin’s stove.
Moen’s invention transformed his industry to the point where today more than 70% of kitchen faucets sold in the United States are the one-handle variety.
Moen never held an ownership stake in the company that bears his name, preferring instead a behind-the-scenes role. He ran Moen Inc.'s research and development division until his retirement in 1982 and held more than 75 patents.
His replaceable cartridge eliminated washers, drips and leaks. His pressure-balancing valve prevented shower shock, the rude surge of cold water caused when someone flushed a toilet or operated the dishwasher while another person was in the shower. He also invented the screen aerator, which prevented sediment buildup, and the swivel spray, which allowed the user to change the force of the water flow.
In his spare time, Moen skated, once placing second in men’s figure roller skating in the Washington state championships. He learned to fly in a float-plane before mastering more conventional aircraft.
Despite his varied talents, he listed only one occupation on his business card: “Inventor.”
“Al Moen was a giant in the plumbing industry,” said Bruce Carbonari, chairman and chief executive of Moen Inc., now headquartered outside Cleveland. “The conveniences many of us enjoy in our homes today came from the ideas of this gentle, inventive man.”
Moen is survived by a daughter, Christine, of Destin, Fla.; a son, Eric, of North Ridgeville, Ohio; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
About Moen Faucets, Parts, and Accessories
Al Moen was a college student back in 1937 when he first had the idea for a single-handled faucet. He had scalded his hand on the traditional two-handled model and saw a need he could fill. Thus the Moen faucet company was born. Moen fixtures are known for quality engineering. PlumbersStock is proud to carry a variety of discount Moen faucets and other products:
You'd be surprised to know that some of our most popular products are just parts, like the U by Moen 4-Outlet Valve and the Moen S6320 Rainshower Showerhead. These are great examples of the variety of solutions that Moen has to offer.
With hundreds of faucets to choose from, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with PlumbersStock's selection. Use the filters on the left of the page to refine the product results to match the features you want in your kitchen faucet. You can also find specific Moen kitchen faucet parts for repair projects. Whether you need antique bronze or stainless steel, we have the faucet for you.
We have hundreds of lavatory faucets to offer you. With the best prices on the web, you are sure to find the perfect fit at the right price. You can find matching accessories like towel rings and soap dishes to give your bathroom an optimal look and feel. Find the part that best fits your needs, and remember to consider all areas. For instance, if you buy a Moen bathroom faucet with a two-handle configuration, you have a stylish look to your sink, but for functionality, a single handle is more user-friendly. Choose wisely, and if you need help, please contact us.
Features Offered by Moen
- Microban - Microban technology does just as the name implies and bans those nasty bacteria that build up on your sink. This patented technology adds an extra layer of protection to your sink and helps you to keep your kitchen faucet and sink clean, preventing the spread of germs in your home.
- Spot Resist - Offered exclusively through Moen, Spot Resist helps you to keep your Moen kitchen faucet looking clean and sparkling. This technology helps to prevent spots that often tarnish other faucets from water and fingerprints. This will give your kitchen a 'just cleaned' look that keeps your style looking fresh and modern. That's just one of many reasons to choose a Moen faucet.
- LifeShine Finish - Everyone loves the look of a brand new faucet, and everyone wants to ensure that the new look will last over time. That is why Moen has created their LifeShine Finish, which is an extra coating guaranteed to keep your faucet from tarnishing, corroding, or flaking off. This guarantee lasts for life, ensuring your kitchen faucet looks brilliant for years to come.
- M-Pact System - The M-Pact system is a common valve system that is used with all Moen faucets. The hassle alone of installing and replacing faucet plumbing can deter a consumer from upgrading their shower. Upgrading a Moen shower faucet is so much easier. The M-Pact system offered exclusively by Moen gives you the confidence to invest in their products because you can change it out later without the hassle of replacing the plumbing. Switching out Moen products is a breeze with the M-Pact system.
- MotionSense - This innovative technology eliminates the need to use your hands to turn on the water. With just a wave above or below the spout of your Moen kitchen faucet, the water turns on in an instant. You can turn it off with another wave, allowing you to operate the faucet with filthy hands. When using the MotionSense feature, the water turns on to the last setting used. Of course, Moen faucets with MotionSense all come with handles so you can turn them on and adjust the auto setting the old fashioned way.
- Duralock - An impressive display of ingenuity and forethought resulted in the most revolutionary installation application on the market today. Designed to combat problems faced by installers every day, the Duralock quick-connect system offers click-to-connect capabilities and a one-way installation for effortless, rapid, and foolproof water connections.
- Reflex - The Reflex system offers smooth operation and flexible movement with a hose that retracts with ease but also features secure docking of the pulldown/pullout spray head.
Does Moen Make Efficient Faucets?
Water conservation is on the minds of many consumers, and Moen is committed to providing high-quality products that help you to conserve water with each use. In 2010 they were awarded the WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Moen faucets help you to save water, and they are committed to helping you find just the right part and faucet to meet your needs. These efforts to save water and money help to conserve the environment!
Moen is known for being industry-leading innovators, and that reputation is well deserved. Our customers love the Flo by Moen Smart Valve released in 2019. This cutting edge technology protects you against flood damage and allows you to make informed decisions about your water usage so you can save your money and the environment.
We sell lots of Moen parts. Their faucets' style and beauty last a long time, but the components don't always keep up, so if you need replacement parts, you're in the right place. Check out this Moen Hydrolock hose kit.
Buy Discount Moen Fixtures Online
Moen has the faucet to meet your kitchen or bathroom needs, and you can conveniently find it here at PlumbersStock. Feel free to contact our service professional or browse our Moen faucets online! Learn more at Moen.com.
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Introducing the new Moen Flo Smart Water Valve
Moen faucets with MotionSense technology take hands-free operation to a whole new level. Simply wave your hand by the faucet, and two state of the art "Wave Sensors" will turn on the flow of water. Just as easily, you can pass your hand over the Wave Sensors again to turn it off. The sensors activate the flow of water even when the handle is set to the off position.
Moen's Reflex hose technology is truly a user friendly experience. Get all the benefits of a flexible hose, plus the convenience of a spray head that retracts fully and securely.
Spot Resist Finishes
Tired of fingerprints and water spots covering your kitchen or bathroom faucet? Spend less time cleaning with Moen's Spot Resist stainless and brushed nickel finishes. When it does come time to clean, forget about scrubbing - wipe away those spots with ease in a matter of seconds.
To complement their wide range of kitchen faucets, Moen offers a great selection one and two bowl kitchen sinks in 15, 18, 20 and 22 gauge stainless steel. Moen sinks are a popular choice for timeless style, versatile utility and exceptional durability.
Moen recently introduced a new line of powerful, continuous feed, eco-friendly garbage disposals. They are designed for easy installation with power cords included, and a technology called SoundSHIELD for extremely quiet operation.
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