Let’s get back to design.
A reader contacted me a while back about an old lowered sink:
I found your blog while trying to find out some information concerning an old farmhouse kitchen sink that is installed in our cabin. We recently purchased the cabin, which was in much need of some TLC. The cabin was built in 1946 or 1947.
I have a very simple question, why is the sink basin so shallow? Depth is only about 3-4 inches. The “basin” part is a sizeable rectangle with drying areas on each side. However, it is very hard to wash anything in the sink. We have to put another basin in the sink so water doesn’t spray everywhere. Is that what was intended and how the sink was meant to be used?
The sink is original to the cabin. So, I’m guessing it is considerably older, since cabins in this area (Central, PA) tended to contain cast-off items that had already become antiquated by the time of their installation. The sink appears to be enamel over cast iron. -M.
With the drainboards, the porcelain and the depth, I’d make a fairly reasonable guess that your sink is from the 1920s. That was a time when women pulled up at chair to sit down in front of the sink and that is supposedly why the sinks were so shallow. Does that help?
That was an easy one: dish washing used to be a back-breaking labor that someone thought would be best performed sitting down. Some of the old advertising bears this out:
So if you have an old sink that seems lower than usual, the 1920s was the decade.
Credit for the discovery of these images goes to Slumberland.org. If you click here, you’ll find a great post on “A Model Kitchen: Images of Early 20th Century Kitchens with photos taken from books of the time.
I don’t know if you remember back when I mentioned that sanitation was a very important part of kitchen design. You’ll see many of the women looking more like early day nurses. I have a sneaking suspicion (filled with non-existent proof and a lot of earnest arm-waving) that it’s where aprons started.
Until next time,