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Price • Origin
Made in U.S.A.
Certified Safe and Reliable Only in PartOnly a portion of Wolverine's faucet inventory has been tested and certified by an authorized independent testing organization to comply with ASME A112.18.1 or CSA B125.1, the joint U.S./Canadian standard for faucet safety and reliability.
Certified Lead Free Only in PartOnly a portion of Wolverine's faucet inventory has been tested and certified by an authorized independent testing organization and certified to comply with ANSI/NSF 61/9, the joint U.S./Canadian lead-free standard.
Only those faucets that have been tested and certified may be lawfully installed in the U.S. or Canada.
Certain Wolverine products comply with the requirements of the Buy American Act.
Wolverine Brass, Inc.
2951 Hwy. 501 E
Conway, SC 29526
(Below North American Standard)
Wolverine makes a reliable faucet. That is not just our opinion. Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine, the well-respected plumbing industry trade journal, rates Wolverine as the most reliable faucet made anywhere. If the nearly indestructible residential models are not tough enough for your household, try one of the even more durable and more reliable commercial lines. For high style, however, you need to look elsewhere. Wolverine has never been a style company.
Unfortunately, however, an increasing number of Wolverine faucets are no longer made by Wolverine. The company has shifted a significant percentage of its manufacturing to China, so the Wolverine name is no longer a guarantee of an American faucet, and has not been for a number of years. We are also very unhappy having to report that the company is disregarding the safety and reliability certification requirements that apply as a matter of law to faucets in the U.S. and Canada. It stopped submitting its U.S.-manufactured faucets for testing by third party independent laboratories just about the time the new lower lead limits for faucets became effective in the U.S. in early 2014. Only those faucets made for Wolverine by in China are known to have been tested and certified. Faucets must be certified annually, and all plumbing codes in effect in the U.S. and Canada require that faucets have a current certificate in order to be installed in a drinking water system. An uncertified faucet cannot be lawfully used in North America for its normal function of dispensing household water, nor may it be lawfully "distributed in commerce" (i.e. sold or offered for sale) in the United States.
More about these certification issues below.
Founded in 1896, Wolverine Brass, Inc. is wholly owned by Professional Plumbing Group, Inc. (PPG), which is essentially a holding company that also owns Plumbmaster, a well known manufacturer and distributor of pipe fittings and fixtures based in Concordville, Pennsylvania since 1928. Plumbmaster manufacturers its own line of commercial faucets sold under the brand name.
Professional Plumbing Group is, in turn, owned by Dunes Point Capital which acquired PPG from Bradford Equities Management, LLC in 2013 in a debt financed leveraged buyout. Dunes Point is a wholly owned subsidiary of White Group Holdings which is funded by Nationwide Insurance and managed by Timothy White, a former Blackstone Group LP executive.
We hate to see old-time faucet companies fall into the hands of private equity groups, especially in a debt-financed buy out. It almost always means a myopic concentration on increasing profits to pay the debt, and typically results in cost-cutting measures that erode the quality of the brand. Wolverine has engaged in exactly that kind of ill-advised cost cutting that is already degrading the quality of the product and the brand.
Wolverine has a very different business model. It sells exclusively through licensed plumbers. If you want a Wolverine faucet, or even a part for a Wolverine faucet, contact your local plumber. He or she is the authorized Wolverine dealer. Even our company, a general contractor, cannot buy a Wolverine faucet except through our licensed master plumbers — something that amuses them to no end.
Wolverine claims that because it pays a lot of attention to what plumbers say they need, the company makes products that "make sense". And, because it makes only very high quality products, it enjoys tremendous customer loyalty. "Ask a Wolverine customer if they would every use anything else. You will always get the same answer: No!" OK, a little hyperbole here, but it actually is a very good faucet, not long on style, but very long on quality and reliability.
Wolverine engineered and was the first U.S. faucet company to patent a ceramic disk valve in 1972, and has been perfecting it ever since. It is one of the few faucet manufacturers to make its own ceramic valves. It's a good one, too. The company uses just two cartridge styles, one for Sngle handle faucets and one for double handle faucets. Every American-made Wolverine faucet made uses one or the other of these two cartridges. This keeps parts inventory to a minimum. Every faucet part is brass and/or stainless steel. Wolverine guarantees all of its finishes, except the usually fragile oil rubbed bronze, to be free of defects for 100 years. It guarantees its cartridges to be leak free for the same century. However, it does not guarantee any other part of the faucet to be free of defects.
That hundred year warranty is actually more marketing fluff than actual reality. The real length of the warranty is for as long as the faucet is owned by its original buyer, or 100 years, whichever comes sooner. You can bet that the 100 years is not going to come sooner. The average American moves every seven years.
Wolverine contracts the manufacture of some of its faucets to Chinese factories.
When Wolverine needed to expand its production a few years ago, rather than making the capital investment needed to enlarge and upgrade its South Carolina plant, the new bottom-line-oriented private equity owners, in truly stunning example of corporate brain freeze, decided to out source manufacturing to Asia. Wolverine's Chinese manufacturerS include,
• Huayi Plumbing Fittings Industry, Co. Ltd., a division of the Huayi Group of affiliated companies that manufacture inexpensive faucets for RONA's
• NCIP, Inc. a company chartered in Taiwan, but manufacturing in China. It manufactures four sink faucets for Wolverine's "value" line of Simplicity faucets (See table below) and also supplies faucets to
At one time the company also purchased faucets from Kaiping Longho Plumbing Industrial Co. Ltd., which sells faucets in Asia under the Diablo brand, but that relationship appears to have ended. Wolverine contracts with other Chinese manufacturers to make its fittings such as stop valves and shower components, but none of these other manufacturers make sink faucets.
Moving manufacturing to China may have seemed like a good way to save money in the short run, but it was undoubtedly a huge strategic mistake — one that shows an astounding failure to understand the company's customer base. Wolverine sells to plumbers. Plumbers may be the nation's most conservative group of people, somewhat to the far right of teamsters and longshoremen. They probably won't take kindly to giving American jobs to China. Once the China connection becomes more widely known among plumbers, we predict they won't be quite as ready to specify Wolverine products, especially as other excellent, American made, faucets are readily available like Right now, we know of no plumber around here who will specify a "China Wolverine" faucet, and we think that attitude will probably spread.
We have found certification listings for only those faucets appearing in this list. So far as we can determine no other Wolverine faucets have been certified by any independent testing organization to comply with the safety, reliability, water conservation or lead-free standards that apply to all sink faucets sold or installed in North America.
Certified Safe and Reliable Only in Part: Only those Wolverine faucets manufactured in China have been tested by IAPMO-RT and certified to meet or exceed every requirement specified in ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1, the joint Canadian/U.S. comprehensive standard for faucet reliability and safety. Only certified faucets may be lawfully installed anywhere in the U.S. or Canada unless otherwise restricted. Check your local plumbing code for confirmation. There are no certification listings on file for Wolverine's U.S.-made faucets. Uncertified faucets may not be lawfully sold or offered for sale in the United States, nor may they be lawfully installed in any State or Province in North America governed by a plumbing code.
Certified Lead Free Only in Part: Only those Wolverine faucets manufactured in China are certified lead free. They have been tested and found to comply with ANSI/NSF 61/9, the joint Canadian/U.S. lead-free standard, that prohibits more than a "weighted average" of 0.25% lead in the waterway of a faucet, and requires that a faucet not leach lead into water passing through a faucet in an amount greater than 5 parts per billion. Faucets that meet these requirements also,
Several of the testers on our plumbing panel have been told by Wolverine's customer service that Wolverine faucets have been tested in house and are lead free. Wolverine has at least some of the technology required to test its own faucets for lead content and self-testing is permitted by the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, the fact that the company has the technology available to test faucets for lead content does not mean that testing has actually been done.
We have seen no documentation of any such testing and there has been no public disclosure by Wolverine of the results of any such tests. And, while the Safe Drinking Water Act permits self testing, plumbing codes do not. Codes require third party lead-free certification by an approved independent laboratory. Without lead-free certification by independent laboratories, faucets cannot lawfully be installed in any state or province in North America that has adopted a plumbing code, and that is everywhere there is a public drinking water system.
When have been told several times by Bob Martin, Wolverine's engineer, that the U.S.-made faucets would be or were being submitted to for testing and certification. So far, it has not happened. As several years have now passed, we are beginning to suspect it might not be true.
American-made faucets comparable to Wolverine Brass include T&S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc.. In Canada take a look at Waltec, a commercial faucet line owned by Masco, manufactured in St. Thomas, Ontario. All of these faucets are certified safe, reliable, lead free with flow rates that do not exceed the maximum allowed under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. If you are in the market for a reliable, North-American-made sink faucet, these companies may be a better choice.
We are still gathering information on consumers' experiences with Wolverine Brass products. If you have had an experience with a Wolverine faucet, — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please let us know.