A Heritage of Two Families | Samuel Heath and KLAFFS Bring You Plumbing Fixtures from the UK that Combine Tradition and Technology
By Dr. Lloyd Blewett, Samuel Heath
Samuel Heath is proud to partner with KLAFFS across the breadth of their decorative plumbing and hardware collections. The synergy between the two companies is exceptional. Integrity and provenance are the foundations of both Samuel Heath and KLAFFS, two family companies that have enjoyed an exclusive partnership in the North-Eastern United States for three decades.
For Samuel Heath, these qualities are the bedrock that has been in place since 1820 when the company first began to manufacture the finest pieces of solid brassware from its premises in Birmingham, England.
The company began as a traditional brass founder and over its history has produced a vast array of products from bedsteads to high quality giftware and fireside accessories. Today, the company has built a worldwide reputation for stylish design, quality and performance as a manufacturer of bathroom accessories, faucets, showers and door and window fittings.
Indeed, it is craftsmanship that remains central to the Samuel Heath ethos. Yet, over time, the company has adopted technological advances that contribute to product quality. Each piece is meticulously formed from the purest Northern European solid brass, which is polished by hand to create a flawless finish.
The products then undergo a high-tech electroplating process. Attention to detail dictates that each product is then assembled, checked and packed by skilled individuals – underscoring the importance of the human touch.
All of these processes take place at the company’s Birmingham, England factory ensuring total control over manufacturing, quality and environmental responsibility.
Why is High Quality Brass a Benefit in Plumbing Fixtures?
For architects and interior designers, the copper alloys known collectively as brass, are among the most interesting metals available for the realization of imaginative ideas. This has been the case ever since brass was first manufactured. In fact, brass has done more to stimulate the designer in the creation of exciting architectural detailing than almost any other material.
Beyond design, brass offers many other benefits:
- Exhibits superb color and texture
- Accepts a mirror-like polish
- Resists corrosion (will not rust away like iron and steel)
- Has good strength and ductility
- Will not degrade in sunlight
- Does not soften in high temperatures (up to +200°C)
- Will not become brittle in sub-zero temperatures (down to -100°C)
- Well-designed and specified, components can be cheaper if they last their full expected life, than if designed only for lowest first cost.
Tradition Meets New Technology and Design Ideas
With its multi-century heritage as a producer of fine brass products, Samuel Heath is also a pioneer of new movements in bathroom and door and window fitting design. The company invests in state of the art technology and the brightest design talent while adhering to time-honored British craftsmanship.
This is exemplified by the Samuel Heath LMK collection, its latest line of faucets, shower controls and bathroom accessories, just introduced in the United States.
Inspired by the simplified forms and functional efficiency of the Bauhaus era, LMK consists of two distinctive collections, Pure and Industrial:
In LMK Pure, Samuel Heath has created a well-balanced line that builds on the foundations of its existing Fairfield and Style Moderne collections. Minimal embellishment and balanced proportions give LMK Pure a clean, concise appearance, while its exquisite detail provides the distinctive styling essential to luxury bathroom design.
LMK Industrial offers a modern interpretation of the values and style inspired by the rational functionalism of Bauhaus. The collection marries bold proportions with beautiful form, completed by machine detailing on selected areas of the fittings to create a contemporary, urban style with a practical, highly tactile finish.
In keeping with the modern vogue for metallic, LMK Pure and LMK Industrial are available in a range of matt and high-gloss finishes, including the new Urban Brass and Stainless Steel/Matt Black Chrome, plus City Bronze, Chrome Plate and Polished Nickel.
These finishes are, in part, the result of Samuel Heath’s technology investment. The plating process involves multiple individual operations. These include various washing and rinsing stages in between the three-part electroplating process. Computer controlled equipment predetermines how long each jig full of parts stays in each solution. This build-up of layers ensures good adhesion.
However, the hand crafting that underlies this process is at least as important a contribution to ultimate product quality. The high gloss polishing process involves starting with a coarse polishing cloth and going through several grades of cloth reducing to a fine polish to achieve the high gloss finish. The quality of the surface finish is crucial to achieving good adhesion in the plating process.
Pictured is a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine and its skilled operator. This is the state-of-the-art method of brass manufacturing. It brings speed, accuracy and quality to the process. Samuel Heath still uses a traditional technique called hot stamping or forging for some parts of its product line, as well. Time-honored craft meets todays tech advances.
A Few Words about Hand Craftsmanship and the British Brass Industry
Metal working, particularly with brass, has been a traditional industry in Birmingham which is where the industrial revolution began. It is where the company has been located since it was founded in 1820 by Samuel Heath.
Like KLAFFS, we’re a family business with management continuity and an extended family comprised of our dedicated staff. Today, our chairman is Sam Heath.
We still train our metal workers in-house, yet many of our craftsman are members of families that have been providing their skills to Samuel Heath for generations. We send our UK-made products out to the world from the same manufacturing facility where we’ve operated since 1840.
We are committed to maintaining our quality, our values and our relationships with retail partners like KLAFFS who help consumers understand the things that matter in their home improvement decisions.
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