If the washfountain design in an earlier post about the invention of the washfountain doesn't look very familiar to you, it's because Bradley has continued to innovate and update the design over the past 90 years.
One of the first changes happened before production even started. The original patent showed a bowl that basically sat directly on the floor. More people could have washed their hands at the same time, but who wants to bend over and wash their hands in a tub on the floor? Imagine the back strain for the millions of workers just trying to scrub up after work.
The Bradley Corporation made its first significant refinement on the original washfountain design by lifting the bowl up off the ground with a pedestal. This seems pretty obvious in retrospect, but all the good ideas do.
As you can see in the image to the right, the pedestals were initially manufactured out of the same terrazzo material as the bowl. This was an incredibly sturdy design, the washfountain in the picture is over 60 years old. A bit of a consequence for being so solid is that these stone pedestals are correspondingly very heavy and cost a lot to ship for a number of reasons.
Over time it became clear that making the pedestals out of terrazzo wasn't really worth all the extra costs and effort that it came with. By the mid 1940's, the design was updated to a pedestal made of formed and pressed stainless steel sheet metal. It was still more than sturdy enough to hold up the bowl, and made repairs easier by providing better access to the plumbing.
One final benefit to the new design, that will be clear if you've ever bought furniture from IKEA, is how much less shipping space was required. The parts that make up a stainless steel pedestal fit almost entirely in the negative space of the washfountain bowl. The reduced shipping costs more than made up for the need to assemble it on site.
There have been many other innovations over the years that have benefited users, maintenance people, and facility owners over the years. We'll continue to explore those in future posts.