Guerin Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 05/23/22
23 Jane Street
New York, NY 10014
(by appointment only)
Footnotes:1. The company offers no warranty but does have a return policy that states:"All goods supplied by P. E. Guerin, Inc., are understood to be free from defects in material or workmanship. We will replace any defective merchandise returned to us within 30 days of delivery, but will not be liable for any labor, shipping or other costs involved with the sale, use or replacement of said material."
This Company In Brief
P. E. Guerin, founded in 1857 and incorporated in New York in 1903 is the oldest faucet company in the U.S. still selling faucets.
Faucets are not its principal product, however. It is more well known for its hand-crafted cabinet and door hardware, lamps and lighting, and decorative household items made of non-ferrous metals, primarily brass, and bronze.
Some of its faucets, are cast and machined in its Greenwich Village foundry where the company has been located continuously since 1892.
The majority of its faucets, however, are manufactured in Valencia, Spain by an outside manufacturer.
The faucets are expensive, starting at $2,000 and rising rapidly. Its finish can add spectacularly to the cost of a faucet, particularly a rare metal finish such as gold.
None of Guerin's faucets are certified to North American standards.
Founded in 1857 by French immigrant Pierre Emmanuel Guerin (1833-1911) to make artistic hardware, P. E. Guerin operates the last metal foundry in New York City. It has been manufacturing door and cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, and other decorative metal products in Greenwich Village since 1892 using processes that have remained virtually unchanged since the 19th century.
Pierre Guerin is considered one of the pioneers of artistic metal in New York City and his original works command astounding prices at auction.
The company remains family-owned in the person of Andrew F. Ward, a great-grandnephew of the founder. It originally specialized in furniture hardware but subsequently branched out to offer cabinet, window, and door hardware, builders hardware, faucets, showers, tub fittings, lighting, candelabra, and metal furniture. Its manufacturing range is broad. Its builders' hardware alone includes 20 categories. For door hardware, the firm can provide knockers, doorknobs, and levers, thumb turns, key plates, pulls, hinges, push-plates, kickplates, backplates, and cremone bolts. The hardware is available in many styles suitable for any decor period from early colonial through Victorian and Arts & Crafts to Art Deco.
In addition to its showroom in Greenwich Village, the firm licenses showrooms in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Northbrook, Illinois. These are identified with contact information on the company website.
A metalwork technique used to define or refine the forms of a surface design and to bring them to the height of relief required.
The metal is worked from the front by hammering with various tools that raise, depress, or push aside the metal without removing any material from the surface. (If metal is removed, the more appropriate term is "chiseling".)
A particular form of chasing, called flat chasing, involves hammering with small, blunt tools to give low-relief ornamentation. It was popular for silver decoration in Europe in the early 18th century and was widely used in the United States during the second half of the same century.
Chasing is the opposite of embossing or repoussé (Fr: "to push out"), in which the metal is worked from the back to produce a higher, more pronounced relief.
Although P. E. Guerin's promotional literature makes it seem as though the company is the last place in North America where metal chasing is practiced, it is actually quite widespread, especially among hobbyists, and chasing tools are readily available from commercial tool sources.
Guerin's hardware has been displayed in various museums but never as stand-alone items. It is always exhibited on the furnishings for which it was originally made. For example, Guerin made the hardware used on a Victorian-era sofa of unknown provenance now in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Guerin hardware was also shown on some of the furniture displayed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its 1995 exhibit of Herter Brothers furniture and interiors from the 19th and early 20th century and again in its exhibit of "Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age" in 2015-2016. The Frick Museum in New York City also has furnishings in its permanent collection that include Guerin hardware.
The company offers products in two broad classes: "Stock" and "Made-to-Order". Made-to-order items are not manufactured until they are ordered. Then they are cast, refined, and finished one at a time in Guerin's New York foundry.
Stock items are manufactured in lots and kept in inventory until purchased. They may require some refinement but are usually ready to finish. Stock products tend to be less intricate patterns that do not usually require the detailed handwork of made-to-order products.
Made-to-order hardware is cast from a wood model called a "pattern". The company owns thousands of patterns created in the century and a half it has been in business, although no one seems to know exactly how many patterns are housed in the company's pattern room. Company estimates put the number at more than 50,000 but less than 100,000.
If none of the extensive library of patterns exactly suits your needs, Guerin's can create a unique item just for you, and if it's interesting enough, the pattern will be added to the pattern library. Or, you can bring in an item to be duplicated, and a pattern can be made from that object.
The pattern is used to make a mold by packing a special fine-grained sand (called "greensand") around the pattern in the bottom half of a wood or metal frame (or "flask"). This bottom half is called a "drag". The sand is dampened just enough to hold its shape, but not too damp or the casting will explode.
Sand casting produces a fairly rough, granular surface that requires considerable refinement after casting to produce the finished object. The rough casting is refined by machining and smoothed using and files. Details of the pattern are defined through a process called "chasing" in which various tools are used to emphasize the object's pattern. How much machining, filing, riffling, and chasing is required depends on the type of item and the amount of detail in the design.
Sand casting is time-consuming and expensive. A sand mold can be used only once. It is destroyed with each casting and must be reconstructed for the next casting.
For this reason, a more modern casting method is used to cast Guerin's stock products. Because the faucets are made in small runs, the most probable method is lost wax (or "investment") casting. A lost wax mold, once made, can be used to make many copies of an object.
Stock hardware is designed by Guerin but manufactured by contract companies in Valencia, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal. Very little, if any, handwork is involved. Essentially the manufacturing process is the same used to mass-produce decorative hardware in any modern factory that makes decorative hardware.
Stock items are considerably less expensive than made-to-order hardware but still not particularly cheap. Even the least expensive stock faucet starts at about $2,000. But, The company swears that there is at least one doorknob that can be yours for a paltry $80.00.
The majority of the faucets shown in Gueron's online catalog are identified as stock faucets. Like all of Guerin's stock items, these faucets are not manufactured in the U.S. and are not made by Guerin. A Guerin spokesperson somewhat reluctantly identified a company located in Valencia, Spain as the source of its stock faucets but asked that the company not be named.
Stock faucets are then held in inventory by Guerin until ordered by a customer at which time they are given the finish of the customer's choice and a final polish in Guerin's New York facility, assembled, boxed, and shipped.
These are equivalent to the faucets made by other up-scale boutique manufacturers such as the companies identified below in this report. The designs are striking and unique to Guerin but these are not the museum-quality of Guerin's made-to-order faucets.
Guerin faucets are all two-handle designs. Guerin does not offer the more contemporary single-handle mixing faucet. Twenty-three standard finishes are available along with two varieties of silver and six of gold, all electroplated except black which is a The company does not offer the more technologically advanced finishes. Some faucets are available in
The mechanics of the faucets are completely up to date. They are fitted with modern ceramic stem cartridges made by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, a German firm located in Lüdenscheid, Germany since 1926 that is world renown for its precision machining.
Its cartridge is the heart of a modern faucet. Without a working cartridge, a faucet is no longer a faucet. So, it is important that the cartridge is robust and durable to give long life to the faucet. Flühs cartridges are about as durable as they come.
According to the company, these are not standard Flühs cartridges but a proprietary configuration used only in Guerin faucets. The disadvantage to the consumer of proprietary cartridges is that there is no third-party source for replacements. Guerin is the sole supplier. It controls the price and is not at all shy about charging for its replacement cartridges.
Guerin offers no written warranty. The standard warranty in North America is a limited warranty against the failure of any part or finish for the lifetime of the original owner of the faucet — a warranty first introduced by and adopted by all major faucet companies in the U.S. and Canada. The complete absence of a warranty on an upscale faucet, especially a faucet as costly as those made by Guerin, is very unusual.
The company has a return policy that permits a defective faucet to be returned within the first 30 days of ownership at the customer's expense but the policy is unclear about any remedy — it does not promise to replace the faucet or return the purchase price. If this is a warranty, it is not much of one and certainly does not inspire confidence in the quality or durability of the product. Nor does it comply with the requirements of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Guerin faucets are not certified. They have not been tested for compliance with joint U.S./Canadian faucet standards required by law. As a consequence, the faucets are illegal.
They cannot be legally held for sale, advertised for sale, offered for sale, or sold in the United States. Further, they are banned from any drinking water system in either the U.S. or Canada and cannot be legally installed in a public water system in either country and in most states and provinces are also prohibited in private drinking water systems.
Be aware that if you do install an uncertified Guerin faucet in your kitchen or bath it is you, not Guerin, that is on the hook for any resulting legal penalties, including the criminal penalties that may be imposed in many states and provinces. So, the rule of caveat emptor applies here.
Companies offering faucets that are roughly equivalent to Guerin stock faucets include
There is no equivalent to Guerin's made-to-order faucets with the possible exception of the unique items made by Sherle Wagner. All of these companies sell faucets that are fully certified and legal to sell in the U.S. and lawful to install in the U.S. or Canada.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Guerin faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.