By Ed Del Grande

My first big event with Kohler this year was the International Builder’s Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida, and I was really looking forward to some warm winter weather. While the outside temperature in Orlando for the week was at best “chilly”, inside the convention center at the Kohler booth, things really started to heat up!

I had the pleasure to introduce two new products for Kohler: the UltraGlide™ valve, and the newly redesigned Wellworth® toilet. This year is special for the Wellworth because in 2011, it is celebrating 75 years. I have to say that with its new makeover, it’s the best looking 75-year-old that I’ve ever seen!

A lot has changed over the years, especially when it comes to water use. The original Wellworth from 1936 flushed over 3.5 gallons of water. Fortunately, toilet technology has come a long way, and our new high-efficiency model uses a mere 1.28 gallons with a flushing performance better than the original!

Water-savings aside, my IBS presentation for the Wellworth had to be more than just talking about all the new changes to the toilet, inside and out. This was a toilet that my late grandfather installed when he was a young man in 1936, when the Wellworth first came on the market. This was a toilet that my father grew up with, and it was the first toilet that I learned to install as a kid.

For plumbing families like mine, the Wellworth wasn’t just a toilet, it was a rite of passage. The Wellworth, in my eyes, is not just a toilet: It’s a part of history.

For IBS, we ultimately decided that all I had to do was tell my family history since 1936 with the Wellworth. I spoke about how my grandfather came to America with nothing but a plunger and a dream, and how he built his business with the Wellworth.

After the presentation, I’m pleased to say that many contractors and plumbers I spoke with had a similar experience with their own family business. They thanked me for telling the Wellworth story, which of course left me “flush” with pride!

Ed Del Grande is a three-time master plumber, contractor and home improvement host on and the DIY Network. He writes a syndicated newspaper column for Scripps Howard News Service, and has also authored a home improvement book titled Ed Del Grande’s House Call.


Since 1873, Kohler Co. has been improving the level of gracious living among its customers by providing exceptional products and services for the home. As a recognized global brand, Kohler leads the way in design, craftsmanship and innovation. Kohler's product offering spans across all price points, offering consumers a wide variety of options in kitchen and bath fixtures, faucets, and more.

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