Our Founder, Circa 1954
This Old Toilet®
Gary N. Tjader
Resume of Toilet Expertise
The King of Toilet Lids
(Read this only if you are really bored. Insert tongue in cheek.)
1953 - Born the son of a wholesale plumbing supply (toilet) salesman. Grandson of the owner of the wholesale plumbing supply company. (Heieck Supply, aka Heieck & Moran, aka United Pipe & Supply, founded 1933.)1954 - Successfully completed early childhood toilet training program aboard a modified F2112 American Standard round-front Cadet toilet. See photo above. (Seven gallons per flush - Giddyup!)
1959 - Occassionally went with Dad to the Heieck & Moran office on Saturday mornings and watched him complete plumbing supply (toilet) paperwork. Dad prepared toilet sales fliers using scissors, paper and glue while I became skilled at pushing myself around the large, empty office in one of those wheeled office chairs.
1963 - Traveled with Dad on plumber (toilet/plumbing) sales calls in the summer time...only went a few times though, because it required getting up early in the morning and it was boring.
1969 - Full-time warehouse helper at the wholesale plumbing supply company headquarters in San Francisco during summers and holidays. (Union member.) First job was "Dumpster Boy." "Go out back", they said. "...Take this hammer with you and break up all the defective and damaged toilets and put the pieces in the dumpster...and wear these leather gloves." (Kohler, Briggs, Crane, Norris.) Soon I was promoted to "lumper" - a union term for a laborer who helps a veteran. Task - "Unload 550 Briggs toilets (1,100 cartons) (by hand) from that railroad box-car over there."
1969 - 1975 - Worked at three of the four wholesale plumbing supply branches during summers and holidays. Performed various tasks such as order filling, receiving, counter sales and inside sales.
1975 - Dad, now President of Heieck Supply San Francisco, was presented with a bronzed Norris toilet from Norris Industries as recognition for outstanding Norris toilet sales. Inside the cover of the toilet seat is a plaque proclaiming, "The Norris Pot-of-Gold Award." The tank and bowl are gone now, but the tank lid and seat survive today in the collection of This Old Toilet®.
1976 - Completed Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting at California State University, Chico.
1976 - Started first office job: Product coding clerk in the pricing department. Task was to assign computer product code identifications to sold items including every friggin' toilet. Got to push myself around in the wheeled office chair again :-) - eight hours a day, five days a week. :-(
1977 - Promoted to accounts payable and processed the bills for all the toilets purchased.
1978 - Moved to new branch in San Jose. Traveled on outside sales calls one day a week. Purchased all Kohler products (toilets) for the branch.
1979 - Toured Kohler Company toilet factory in Kohler, Wisconsin. Completed three-day Kohler distributor training seminar.
1980 - Parents sold out their interest in Heieck Supply. Started new job as outside salesman for AMFAC Mechanical Supply, the largest plumbing wholesaler in the United States. Publicly traded on NYSE. Sold Kohler, Briggs, Norris, Vitromex, etc. toilets.
1981 - 1985 - Promoted to Branch Manager of AMFAC San Jose, California. The bureaucracy and administrative drudgery were debilitating. One day I lamented to a friend, "All I want to do is sell toilets again."
1985 - 1989 - Became associate sales representative with Buffington & Associates, the largest plumbing manufacturer's representative in Northern California. Sold toilet seats for Bemis and Church brands and toilets for Colton, Crane, Norris and Delta. Delta? Yes, Delta, the faucet company. (They invented the first, and last, plastic toilet. They made a red one which became know as "The Red Head.") Traveled with the Norris quality control inspector to process every darn defective or damaged Norris toilet in the area.
1987 - Toured Norris Industries toilet factory, City of Industry, California.
1988 - Toured Bemis Manufacturing toilet seat factory, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.
1989 - 2010 - Founded Tjader Sales, a manufacturers' representative for luxury kitchen, bath and plumbing products including toilet seats from Pressalit and toilets from St. Thomas Creations and Barclay Products Limited, including production from the international plants Celite, Ferrum, Orion and Vitromex.
1997 - 2000 - Volunteer advisor on two plumbing advice Web sites.
1999 - Sold a Norris salvaged toilet tank lid via contact from the plumbing advice Web site.
1999 - Toured Kohler Company Design Center and plumbing fixture (toilet) museum, Kohler, Wisconsin.
2000 - Sold several more salvaged toilet tank lids. Started a Web page offering the Web's first toilet tank lid replacement search service. The first inventory of three tank lids was stored in a laundry basket outside the garage.
2001 - Toured Villeroy & Boch "sanitary wares" (toilet) factory, Mettelach, Germany.
2002 - Opened the Web's first dedicated salvaged toilet tank lids Web site, www.ToiletTankLids.com.
2003 - Purchased an old house converted to an office. While primarily for the rep business office, space at the new location allowed for expansion of the toilet tank lid inventory. 300 lids were trucked from the side yard at home to the storage yard at the new office.
2004 - Established a Web site providing local toilet salvage and recycling service, www.ToiletSalvage.com.
2005 - In response to several years of requests, toilet seats were added to the store.
2005 - The business was renamed This Old Toilet® to better reflect the expanded offering of lids, tanks, bowls, seats, and bolt caps. www.ThisOldToilet.com
2006 - World's largest shipper of salvaged toilet tank lids and tanks. 418 tank lids shipped.
2007 - This Old Toilet® was featured in the The San Jose Mercury News where columnist Mike Cassidy said of Gary and his tank lids, "He walks among them like something of a toilet sommelier." In his blog, Cassidy writes, "The guy can spot a make and model from a block away..." And he describes Tjader as "The Toilet Lid King." Video
2007 - Attorneys from Rhode Island and Nevada requested expertise and knowledge from This Old Toilet® while defending a cinema and a hotel relative to personal injuries incurred from toilet seat falls. The Nevada attorney retained Gary for two hours of consulting research work tracking down an extinct brand of toilet seats.
2007 - A homicide detective from the Tucson Arizona Police Department contacted This Old Toilet® for assistance in identifying a toilet tank lid which was used as a murder weapon. Gary identified the lid's brand and model from numbers described by the detective and This Old Toilet® supplied a file-photo of the lid to the police department for use in its investigation.
2007 - ToiletTankLids.com was recommended in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Alan Havens, real estate writer.
2008 - Trademark Certificate of Registration for the name This Old Toilet® was received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
2008 - Jack Webb, Kohler Company, California sales representative from 1959 to 1987, stopped by This Old Toilet® to reminisce about old times. Upon walking through the inventory racks and looking at old colors like Spruce Green, New Orleans Blue and Peachblow, it was noted that some of the salvaged tank lids at This Old Toilet® were first sold as complete toilets in Jack's territory during his 28 years with Kohler Company. Mr. Webb donated his 1956 Kohler catalog to the archives of This Old Toilet®.
2008 - In November, This Old Toilet® was featured in "Captain Loo, the Toilet Issue," Angie's List Magazine In the column "Unusual Service," author YaShekia King writes, "...the emphasis on salvaged vintage lids and new toilet seats is second to none..."
2009 - Jury convicts woman of Tucson toilet tank lid murder. (See 2007 above.) Article
2009 - Trademark Certificate of Registration for the name Color-To-Match® toilet seats was received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
2009 - A Pennsylvania attorney's office contacted This Old Toilet® regarding specifications of 1970s wall mounted toilets in relation to a personal injury from a toilet that came off the wall in a hotel and resulted in a guest's broken tail bone.
2010 - Kay Keating, founder of the Web site Toiletology, emailed to one of her readers, "Gary is an authority on all things about toilet tank lids."
2010 - An attorney's office in Reno Nevada contacted This Old Toilet® for advice relative to a case of domestic battery with bodily injury involving a toilet tank lid. A woman's face and head were injured during an altercation in a bathroom where the toilet tank lid became broken.
2012 - UPS (United Parcel Service) featured Gary and This Old Toilet® in the May issue of Compass, the UPS online newsletter in an article titled, "You Make a Living Doing What?" www.Compass.UPS.com/ingenious
2014, August - The New York Times featured This Old Toilet® in the Shortcuts column in an article about hard to find home repair parts.
2014 - In the blog, Target Marketing, business author Denny Hatch said that This Old Toilet® inspired his column, "Become a Niche Entrepreneur!"
2014, December - The New York Times included This Old Toilet®, again, in the Shortcut's column as one the year's most interesting topics and showed a photograph of one of This Old Toilet's happy, satisfied customers with his vintage toilet bowl replacement. The column is by Alina Tugend.
Rare Parts and Components for Old, Obsolete, Discontinued and No Longer Manufactured Toilets