Built-in Farmhouse Sinks a Hundred Years Ago

Source: Women's Home Companion (March, 1916)
Source: Women’s Home Companion (March, 1916)

Kitchen decorating tends come and go. Currently “farmhouse” sinks are popular. They are deep sinks which have a finished front that also serves as the front of the cabinet which houses it. Sometimes they are called apron sinks.

Farmhouse sinks have been around for a long time, and a hundred-years ago a Woman’s Home Companion reader submitted a suggestion to a household tip column about how to make an attractive built-in sink.

Under the Kitchen Sink

Our kitchen is very small. There was absolutely no place to keep scrub pails and such unsightly paraphernalia except under the sink, which had open plumbing. So, in order to hide these things from view, I had a carpenter build lattice-work beneath the sink and drain board, with a door. This is painted white and makes a light, airy place in which to store many housekeeping necessities. As one of my friends said, it’s the most effective “piece of furniture” I have in the house!

Women’s Home Companion (March, 1916)

34 thoughts on “Built-in Farmhouse Sinks a Hundred Years Ago

  1. So, I’m sitting here doing a first scan of my email, and see what looks to be a disaster headline: “Farmhouse sinks a hundred years ago.” What happened? I wonder to myself. Did a sink hole open up? Did it get its foundation washed out from under it in a flood? Did anyone get hurt?

    Oh, my. What a good laugh, when I saw what the actual topic was. And actually, that sink looks much like the one I had up at the cabin in the hill country. We used an old door for the top, cut out a hole for an old fashioned porcelain sink, and laid the whole thing over a 2×4 frame. There were shelves beneath, and I made a burlap curtain to hide it all. It was just like this one from a hundred years ago. Who knew my little project would be blog-worthy?!

    1. LOL – I love it. I suppose that I should pretend that I’m brilliant and intentionally wrote a clever title with a double meaning; but the reality is that when I did this post I never thought about how “sinks” can be either a noun or a verb. 🙂

    1. Just the use of the term “scrub pails” in this piece makes me think about how hard people worked a hundred years ago. I clean, wipe, and wash–but I seldom scrub. 🙂

  2. I actually had an opportunity to use an ancient farmhouse sink when visiting lovely people we met on a trip years ago. I felt the specialness of the sink and insisted on doing all of the dishes each night. A privilege for me and a lifetime memory.

  3. At home in the laundry room we had a sink that had the two spigots,with a wooden base around it. I forget what it is like to have hot and cold not being able to run together.

    1. I recently read an article that said that people were happier when they found things to be grateful for each day–and that it didn’t really matter whether the things were little things or big things. Today I will be grateful for having sinks in my house with just one spigot that gives me water on demand that is hot, cold, or warm. 🙂

      1. Awww touche` Sheryl! Truly enjoy this blog! So many fond memories. Also with the “zinc” bucket/pail, perhaps they were actually made from zinc, similar to what is now aluminum foil used to be tin foil.

    1. Sometimes headlines oversell a story. Maybe I have a future writing headlines for the supermarket tabloids. 🙂 But to be totally honest- somehow the double meaning totally escaped me until you and several other people commented on it.

  4. This was already so cool! It is great to be back after being ill for 2 weeks, I had a viral throat infection! Now, I am back to see how many posts I missed of you! xxx

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