Unsung inventions – faucet aerator

Faucet aeratorWhen I was a kid I always had a problem with the kitchen tap. It seemed to go from a trickle to full-blast with only the slightest turn of the handle. I was always getting into trouble for splashing water all over the place.

Then one day Dad fitted an aerator. Easy as that – problem solved. No more splashing, ever, no matter how much I turned the tap on.

A simple invention that meant I would never be hounded out of the kitchen again after getting water over the bench, the floor and my freshly pressed school uniform.

I can’t remember when this miracle invention changed our family life, but I’ve found a US patent filed on May 14, 1962. It was submitted by Gottlob Hinderer of Sylmar, California, and appears to have been granted to the Price-Pfister Brass Manufacturing Company on June 23, 1964.

The patent notes that aerators of various kinds were in general use at the time, but this patent described a device almost identical to the ones we all have on every kitchen, laundry and bathroom tap to this very day. In fact, I don’t think you can buy a tap for these rooms any more that doesn’t have an aerator of this sort built in.

The design is simple, functional and trouble-free. In Sydney where I live, you have to remove the aerator to clean it about once every 10 years or so. You just unscrew it, pull out the mesh filter, flush out any debris and screw it all back on again.

Cheap to manufacture, reliable, it works all day, every day and lasts for decades. Beat that!


Factoid from Wikipedia: In 1994, Price Pfister became the first manufacturer to convert to ceramic cartridges, which enabled the industry’s first lifetime guarantee against leaks and drips.[1]

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