The modern tap, which has so far been one of the most convenient sanitary units, was invented by an outstanding representative of the US Armenian diaspora Alex Manoogian, better known to all as the President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union.
Alex Manoogian was born in 1901 in Kassab near Smyrna in Turkey. He received primary and secondary education in the local Armenian schools. In 1915, when the Ottoman Empire was committing genocide against Armenians, his family escaped from Smyrna to Greece, and in 1920 crossed the ocean and settled in Canada.
The eldest son of the family – Alec (Alex) in search of a better life left for the US at the age of 19 – with only 50 dollars in his pocket and with knowledge of five languages (English was not among them).
Skilled workers were in great demand, and Alex Manoogian, who never before stood behind the machine, took up jobs with great self-confidence and got fired on the same day.
This was repeated several times, but after a few months, Alec already had a decent qualification. With experience and little spare money Manoogian together with Harry Adzhemyan and Charles Saunders founded Masco Screw Products company in 1929 with a capital of $ 5,000.
Despite the Great Depression, their initiative proved successful, and later, during the Second World War, everything went great: Masco became a regular supplier of a variety of complex metal parts for Ford and Chrysler, and it’s turnover in the 1940s was calculated in millions of dollars.
In the late 1940s, an inventor from California applied to the company, suggesting they buy his new idea on “revolutionary” tap. Instead of two valves for hot and cold water, there was used a ball valve, which simultaneously regulated both the pressure and the temperature.
Though the idea left indifferent almost everybody, Manoogian welcomed and approved it as he saw in the scheme a new mixer prospect that everybody else missed.
Manoogian together with a group of engineers took up the complete design. In 1954 a product was released called Delta after the Greek alphabet letter, which resembles a triangular eccentric mixer.
It was initially planned to sell the design to plumbing manufacturers, but none of them was interested in the idea. It was then that Manoogian made a decision that would soon bring him worldwide fame – to produce and sell the mixer on his own.
As a result, in 1958 Delta Faucet Company products sales already exceeded one million dollars. Today the company produces more than a million faucets a month.
Having realized the American dream, Alex Manoogian showed all his generosity to the Armenian people. In 1930 he joined the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the organization “Knights of Vartan”. Soon, he was chosen as the “eldest” Knight and in 1953 was elected the president of the International AGBU – a position he honorably served in for more than 30 years.
In 1970, after 17 years, the AGBU capital investments increased from 8 million to 50 million, which resulted in the holding of large-scale global equities. In 1989, Alex Manoogian was elected as a life-long president of AGBU.
With his wife Marie Manoogian, he founded and made great contributions to many schools, national centers, and churches throughout the diaspora in the US, Canada, Australia, Holland, Argentina, Uruguay, Israel, Lebanon, and Iran.
Throughout his life, Alex Manoogian invested about 90 million in charitable, religious, cultural, and educational organizations.
For his international charity Manoogian was awarded the following honors and titles – Award Elias Island from NECO, Knife of Charity from PIME Missionaries, the Presidential Medal (from the Argentine government), the cross of Saint Gregory the Illuminator (by His Holiness Vazgen I, Katolikosa Bseh Armyan) the first order of Cedar (from the president of Lebanon), the cross of St. James (from the patriarch of Jerusalem), the National Hero of Armenia (1994, providing him Armenian citizenship), Medal of Honor (Artsakh).
Alex Manoogian died in 1996 and was buried in Detroit, United States. In 2007, the ashes of the Armenian patriot and his wife Marie Manoogian were reburied in the Echmiadzin Museum opposite the treasury of Holy Etchmiadzin, built on their funds. Both in Yerevan and Stepanakert there are streets named after the wonderful Armenian Alex Manoogian.