Al Moen and the Moen Story
It All Began…
On a typical Seattle night in 1937, a young college student working in a garage to earn tuition money was cleaning up shop when he went to wash his hands at an old-fashioned two-handle faucet. A sudden burst of hot water made him jump back in alarm. The young man's name was Al Moen. This typical evening's events would set in motion the thought and invention that would revolutionize the plumbing industry and how we get our water; the idea for the single-handle faucet was born!
In reflecting on that special evening Al said, "it got me thinking that you ought to be able to get what you want out of a faucet. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that a single-handle mixing faucet was the answer, so I began to make some drawings."
It took Al countless tries and revisions to sell his concept to plumbing products manufacturers. The Second World War put a hold on his plans, as materials were needed for the war effort. By 1947 Al found an interested manufacturer – Ravenna Metal Products of Seattle – and sold their first 250 faucets to a San Francisco plumbing supplier. From then on Moen was on its way to becoming a household name worldwide. This early step would lead to Moen's first partnership in 1956 with Stanadyne, Inc.
By 1959, the success of the Moen single-handle faucet was undeniable. Helped by the post war boom, Moen products could be found in hundreds of thousands of homes across the US. That same year, a survey of the world's leading designers published by FORTUNE magazine named the Moen single-handle faucet one of the best designed mass-produced products of modern times. Thirty-two successful years later FORTUNE magazine published another list that included Moen faucets as a part of the "100 of America's Best."
Al continued to head Moen's research and development group until his retirement in 1982. He held over 75 patents, including the replaceable cartridge, the screen aerator, the push-button shower valve diverter, swivel spray, pressure balancing shower valves and flow control aerator. Many of which were in fields unrelated to plumbing.
In 1988 Stanadyne, Inc. had been acquired by Forstmann-Little & Company which led to Moen gaining an independent status the following year. Renamed Moen Incorporated, the company was quickly purchased in 1990 by MasterBrand Industries, Inc., an operating company of American Brands. American Brands was adopted by Fortune Brands in 1997. 14 years later in 2011, Fortune Brands spun off its Home & Security segment as a separate operating company, and Moen became the largest company within this new entity: Fortune Brands Home & Security.
No matter what the parent company, Moen has continued its proud, inventive past by introducing a wide range of consumer-preferred, stylish products; making it the number one plumbing brand in the mind of consumers ... and market share.
Al Moen and the brand he created, have been honored by being nominated for the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Al Moen was also honored by the plumbing industry in 1993 by being named to the Kitchen & Bath Hall of Fame. His genius is perhaps best summed up by the simple title that appeared on his business card – Al Moen, Inventor.
A Timeline of Achievement
- Al Moen designs the first single handle mixing faucet.
- Kemp Hiatt of Ravenna Metal Products in Seattle begins manufacturing Moen's faucet. Palmer Supply buys the first 12 faucets for $12 a piece.
- Moen gains national recognition by supplying Hotpoint with 35,000 faucets.
- Ravenna is acquired by Standard Screw.
- Standard Screw becomes Stanadyne.
- Moen acquires Ziegler Harris, stainless steel sink manufacturer.
- Moen patents 1225 Magnum Cartridge, impervious to corrosion.
- Al Moen retires.
- Moen is purchased by MasterBrand Industries, Inc. Bruce Carbonari takes over leadership of Moen.
- Moen World Headquarters is relocated to North Olmsted, OH.
- American Brands becomes Fortune Brands. LifeShine is introduced. CSI is acquired by Moen. M-Pact technology is introduced. CFG is formed by Moen.
- Al Moen passes away.
- David Lingafelter takes over as president.
- The 1255™ Duralast™ Cartridge is introduced, providing smooth handle feel for lifetime of the faucet. Moen revolutionizes the bath with ioDIGITAL™.
- Moen is named 2010 WaterSense® Manufacturer Partner of the Year by the EPA, based on its significant WaterSense-labeled product offerings, promotional efforts and strategic collaborations. Spot Resist™ finish debuts, enabling consumers to clean their faucets less often.
- Fortune Brands Home & Security begins public trading. Mike Bauer named to President, U.S. Businesses. Moen introduces Reflex™ pulldown system for kitchen faucets.
- MotionSense™ digital convenience for kitchen faucets is introduced.