The introduction of the hansgrohe Selecta showerhead in 1968 transformed the weekly bath day into a shower experience.
Fifty years of success and a long time classic: the Selecta shower head by Hansgrohe, the bathroom specialist from the Black Forest. In 1968, it was launched on the market boasting “Guaranteed quality workmanship 100% made in the Black Forest”, it soon became a customer favourite and to this day remains the quintessential handheld showerhead. And who doesn’t remember enjoying a shower with Selecta on those memorable Saturday bath days, which from 1968 on finally became more fun because, for the first time ever, an adjustable showerhead allowed us to switch between gentle and invigorating sprays.
The overall design of the Selecta showerhead reflected the taste of the times: geared to deliver the utmost in function and technology, it featured a very technical look with angular elements. To this day, the first showerhead with an adjustable spray is still the Hansgrohe Group’s unrivalled bestseller with more than 30 million units sold; outselling even the VW Beetle, which, having sold 21.5 million vehicles until June 2002, was the world’s best-selling car. The Selecta’s success was due to the construction boom in the late 1960s, which caused sales to skyrocket. In 1968, Hansgrohe sold 70,000 Selecta showerheads; just three years later that number had already jumped to 606,000.
Hans Grohe made showers popular
The Selecta success story really began over sixty years ago. Under the motto “Finally hands free” Hans Grohe had been producing and selling shower sets since the early 1950s; the sets consisted of an Unica wall bar with an adjustable showerhead holder, a hose and a handheld shower. For the first time, these sets made it possible for users to position the showerhead at the desired height and shower hands free. Today, hand showers and wall bars are standard bathroom features all over the world—back then they were a stroke of genius and revolutionised shower habits.
Selecta – the first adjustable hand shower
Selecta’s innovative design, material, and most of all, its functionality were impressive. For the first time, Plexiglas was used in combination with chrome plating in the handle and spray head. The intensity of the spray could be adjusted by simply turning the spray head.
Finally, Selecta was launched on the market in 1968. This new showerhead allowed the intensity of the spray to be adjusted independently by turning the spray head. It impressed with its innovative design, material and above all functionality. For the first time, Plexiglass was combined with the handle and spray head’s chrome-plated parts; the refraction of light created by this modern, shatter-resistant acrylic enhanced the metallic effect.
Just a year later, Selecta featured another technical innovation: a plastic container was installed between the showerhead and the water supply in which water and previously added shower gel were mixed automatically. This model of the classic Selecta showerhead rendered lathering unnecessary, making the overall shower experience even more comfortable.
In 1974, a utility model was registered for the original Selecta to protect the product from being copied. But copycats soon found ways of imitating the original and to this day, similar showerheads can be found in DIY store shelves. Until 2015, Hansgrohe continued to deliver the original Selecta showerhead made in the Black Forest to all of Europe, the USA, and even to South Africa.
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Text and Images by hansgrohe