Renbrook School is Rich in History – Right Down to the Faucets
Throughout the estate, Faye Rentschler intentionally used design elements that emphasized spokes and movement, evoking the air-cooled Wasp engine that Frederick Rentschler famously produced, transforming aviation. It can be seen in the swirling flower design in Gray Hall’s coffered ceiling, curving flowers on interior door hardware in several offices upstairs, and the original faucets in the downstairs guest bathroom, all mimicking the radial shape of the Wasp engine.
When the guest bathroom off Gray Hall was renovated to make it accessible in 2018, Howard Wright, science teacher and Renbrook historian, preserved the golden floral handles. “Mrs. Rentschler chose that design, even though it was uncomfortable as a handle because it was the closest she could come to the Wasp engine,” Wright explains. For although it was her husband who developed the engine, Faye Belden Rentschler named it, and once you start looking for a propeller design, you find it everywhere. The front courtyard itself, with its bluestone spokes projecting into the cobbles, is another nod to the engine that made the Rentschlers’ fortune.
Thanks to the Hodson Family, the handles from the original guest bathroom have been preserved and mounted and are now displayed on the restroom wall. The donation was made in honor of their daughter, Adrienne Hobson ’20.
This post was created with excerpts from a robust article on the Rentschler history written by Beverly Fitzsousa, Director of Secondary School Placement. The complete article can be found in the Renbrook Magazine Winter 2020.