Hundred-year-old “Revolving Susan”

revolving susan
Source: Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home (1923)

A hundred-year-old book on scientific management of homes recommended the use of a “revolving susan.”

In many cases, where the dining table has a large enough diameter, it is practical to use in the middle of the table a “revolving susan” – or circular glass tray mounted on a revolving stand, which will accommodate butter, relishes, etc.; but its greatest value lies in assisting the host to pass dishes to each person to be served. Set the plate of food on the server, give a slight touch, and it will revolve to the person desired, thus doing away with awkward passing from one to another. Similarly the server may be used for removing the soiled plates, by each person laying their soiled plate in turn on the server, and whirling to the hostess, who will then remove them unobtrusively.

Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home by Mrs. Christine Frederick (1923)

26 thoughts on “Hundred-year-old “Revolving Susan”

      1. I kind of like “Super Susan.” I never heard that term before. This is an example of how the words have changed at least three times across the last hundred years – Revolving Susan, Lazy Susan, Super Susan.

        1. I appreciated it, too, since my name is Susan. What was funny was I had not heard Super Susan and when I called it a Lazy Susan, my male kitchen crew corrected me. I said you guys are my new best friends.

    1. I also know these as Lazy Susans. I found it interesting that the caption under the photo said “servette or silent servant,” and the text referred to a “revolving susan.”

    1. That makes a lot of sense. Somehow your comment made me think about family gatherings where people were trying to decide whether to pass the food to the left or the right.

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