You probably see a kitchen sink at least once in a day. You may not wash dishes, or use it to wash your hands or cook, but the fact remains that it is indeed everywhere. Has it ever occurred to you how these sinks came to be and how they found their way into our homes? Read on to know more about the history of this rather indispensable part of our kitchen.
The sink is defined in plumbing as a bowl-shaped fixture found in the kitchen made out of stainless, steel, porcelain or other materials that is used for washing the hands, dishes, pans and other small objects. The idea of the sink dates back the prehistoric era wherein Neanderthals made water basins out of large rocks that happen to erode into concave shapes by many centuries of rain. The idea of coming up with sinks for kitchen use came much later, probably during the time when civilization started to finally happen - the time when animal skins became clothing, and open hearths became indoor fireplaces.
Kitchen sinks have always come in various materials, depending largely on what was available. Thus, sinks varied from one region to another. For example, before the 1940, heavy stone and stainless steel were too expensive to ship so that sinks based on these materials were not available then. During this time, soapstone was being quarried only in Vermont and slate was widespread in the North Eastern regions of the US. During the middle part of the nineteenth century, running water started to get pumped from supply tanks and collected in bowls or buckets which were set into dry sinks. These sinks were usually made of metal troughs and were built into wooden cabinets. Nickel silver (consisting of an alloy of zinc, copper, and nickel) and copper were among the first two materials used for butler sinks which were only found in wealthy homes.
In the later part of the 19th century until the early part of the twentieth century, not much development happened to the sink. In the 1920's however, the company Monel came upon the kitchen sink market. They produced lightweight and corrosion resistant sinks made of copper and nickel, manganese, silicon, carbon and iron. Twenty years later, the need for copper and metals rose due to the war so that stainless steel sinks came into the picture, and became largely popular not only for sinks, but as countertops as well.
Earthenware sinks were first introduced in the 1920's and became popular for their solid ceramic bases (instead of iron cast ones), their enamel white interior and glazed brown exterior. They were mostly used in commercial kitchens as they were relatively heavier. Fire-clay is a ceramic material that is widely being used today.
Sinks have also come a long way from what it originally was. It has its own long history. Today, sinks come in all shapes, sizes and materials; it will certainly go through more developments in the future.