Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Manoogian, Alexander

Alexander ‘Alex’ Manoogian was an Armenian American industrial engineer, businessman, and entrepreneur, who is most famous for manufacturing the single-handled faucet. Born on June 28, 1901 in Smyrna, (Izmir) Turkey, Manoogian immigrated to the United States in 1920 at the age of 19, escaping Turkish persecution of Armenians. For about four years, Manoogian worked as a machinist in Bridgeport, Connecticut, also working for brief periods in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

In 1924, Manoogian moved with his family to Detroit, Michigan to take advantage of the many opportunities that had grown out of the city’s booming auto industry. By 1929, Manoogian had founded Masco Screw Products, later known as Masco Corporation. He was able to expand throughout the 1930s, even in the midst of the Great Depression. In 1954, Manoogian manufactured a single-handled faucet that produced hot and cold water, allowing for one-handed use. He purchased the patent rights from an inventor who had yet to perfect the idea. The Delta faucet improved upon the standard faucet in terms of both convenience and sanitation, and became a best-selling plumbing fixture that generated substantial profits for the company. By 1996, the Masco Corporation held 38% of the domestic market for faucets.

Throughout his life, Alex Manoogian was also a dedicated philanthropist, donating over $90 million to charitable organizations and educational institutions, particularly to the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). In 1968, he established the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian Cultural Fund which is dedicated to the publication and translation of Armenian scholarly and literary works and cultural material across the globe. Through the AGBU, Manoogian also funded schools for ethnic Armenians in 11 different cities around the world.

Ellis Island honored Manoogian by selecting him as the keynote speaker when its restoration was completed in 1978, and in 1990 gave him the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In addition, Wayne State University in Detroit was the beneficiary of his generosity, naming Manoogian Hall, a center for international language and linguistics, in his honor. In 1966, Manoogian and his wife donated their mansion to the City of Detroit, which was made the official Detroit mayoral residence.

Alex Manoogian died on July 10, 1996 in Detroit at the age of 95. In 2007 the bodies of Manoogian and his wife of 63 years Marie, who died in 1993, were buried near the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Holy Echmiadzin in their homeland of Armenia.



Booklet highlighting Alex Manoogian's donation of the Manoogian Mansion, 1970 - 2013.040.799

View all items related to Alexander Manoogian