23 October 2009

Supercharged Sink

Forty years after its 1968 introduction, this sink [the 'Fiesta' model from American Standard] looks insanely radical when compared to the legion of drawn-cornered, stainless steely basins that populate our kitchens today. With its array of accessories and mean green color, it would make quite a conversation piece—then as well as now. What thoughts does it inspire in you?


  1. Just out of sight is a pair of tweezers, a small scissors and a toothpick.

  2. I found a larger copy. It reads:

    The sporty Fiesta makes other kitchen sinks look like they're standing still.

    You get a whole new feeling with that souped-up instrument panel to command. With one hand, you shift into the perfect water temperature, pop open the drain, even shoot out a stream of detergent. And Fiesta colors are as wild as the action — all five of them.

    Add an American Standard food waste disposer and V A R O O O M — you've left dullsville behind!

    The revolution is on at American Standard.

  3. Obviously, the ad is a romp down Brando lane. American Standard was trying to tie itself lightheartedly to an American original, like the GAP tried to do with Jack Kerouac and plain front khaki pants. The American sink as motorcycle.

    Today, however, two irregularities stand out. First, 1968 was a time of supposed revolution. American Standard was trying to be mildly irreverent so they could seem totally with it. The problem is that Brando's character isn't a revolutionary, he's a disenchanted hipster. He's stuck in dullsville with nowhere to go. Kathie: "You're still fighting, aren't you. You're always fighting. Why do you hate everybody?" Well, you hate who you can. He has no program, no vision, no ideal. Kathie again: "I wish I was going someplace. I wish you were going someplace. We could go together." But he wasn't.

    The second problem, more obvious today than it was then, because of the great Harley revival, is that Johnny rode a modified Triumph Thunder­bird T6. In other words, this American original rode a British motorcycle. Who knew?

  4. Johnny: [voiceover] It begins here for me in this sink. How the whole mess happened I don't know, but I know it couldn't happen again in a million years. Maybe I could of stopped it early, but once the trouble was on its way, I was just goin' with it. Mostly I remember the girl. I can't explain it — a sad chick like that, but somethin' changed in me. She got to me, but that's later anyway. This is where it begins for me right here in this green sink.

    (With some help from IMDb)

  5. Seriously, though, for a forty-year-old kitchen sink, this looks strangely contemporary. Green is back, not in the kitchen yet, but give it time, and this is a gorgeous green, at least in the ad. I was in olive drab at the time. Also, people love gadgets. This one's smaller than a Hummer, but larger than a universal remote, and just about perfect, stick shift and all. I wouldn't try flying with it, but sign me up. I'll take it.

    As always, a wild onederful choice.

  6. As always, thank you for reading and writing.

    The angle of the photo interests me. It's a view unlikely to be seen once the sink is installed; it maximizes the 'stick shift' of the control lever.

    In addition to the automotive overtones the sink prompts, there's one other image that comes to my mind: A chess set designed by Max Ernst.

  7. Good point. The shapes, from this angle at least, are definitely mysterious. So, the King and Queen would be… Also, and I'm working with distant memory here, one of Ernst's chess sets was produced in sterling silver, which would be right at home here. By the way, the platform strikes me as being a very nice solution, also mysterious. So much better than just drilling extra holes in the top of the sink.

  8. The gearshift opened and closed the drains. Is that right?

  9. I'm thinking the shift controlled the water flow, and the knobby gizmo in 'front' of the spout was the drain pop-up.
    Let me contact the AmStd brain trust and see what they say. I'll report back with their answer.

  10. I have this sink! How can i find replacement parts if any???


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