While emptying the house of an old relative, or buying an old house, a few odd-looking pieces of furniture can be found. Oftentimes, they are obsolete owing to the advancement in technology. In a few instances, it is very difficult to even comprehend what the piece of furniture is. However, while in use, they were clearly an instrumental part of everyday life. A dry sink is a classic example. A dry sink could be found in almost all houses of the 19th century and early 20th century. It functioned just like a modern sink does, but lacked modern-day plumbing. It gave people the ease of washing their hands or small articles of clothing from the convenience of the indoors, even without interior plumbing.
What is a dry sink?
A dry sink is exactly what its name suggests. A dry sink is an extremely straightforward furniture fixture. Traditionally, it was used for those functions which require water, in the absence of a connected plumbing system. It could be found in kitchens for simple washing chores, or in washrooms to brush or shave.
How was a dry sink structured?
Traditionally, a dry sink had 2 parts: a cabinet and a washbasin. The washbasin was usually made using copper. The basin was lowered, which made it easy to store dishes while being washed, and also protect the walls from splashing. The cabinet was usually made of hardwood material. Some of the more contemporary dry sink cabinets sometimes used a metal finish. Like any other cabinet, the cabinet of a dry sink also had two doors in the front and storage space on the inside.
What were the uses of a dry sink?
As people began to grow more aware of the importance and washing up regularly, the dry sink became more popular for people that could afford it. With the dry sink, people could wash up without having to leave their houses. The structure would ensure that the water did not fall into the rest of the room, and it kept the room clean and dry.
With the dry sinks at home, people would not have to lug their laundry to the nearest water body to wash their clothes. People could wash their hands and their dishes without having to go outside and face the extremities of the weather. The dry sink increased the level of hygiene and added convenience, even with the absence of modern day plumbing systems. It also ensured that people could wash their hands and their belongings at more regular intervals.
The uses of a dry sink were similar to a modern day sink: washing the dishes and your body. It could be found in the kitchen and used to wash the dishes. It also could be found in the washrooms for people to wash their hands or to brush and shave. The cabinet served as an excellent storage space to store toiletries like shaving kits, dental hygiene kits, towels, soaps, and so on.
How is a dry sink used in the 21st century?
With the development of modern plumbing, a dry sink is not very desired in most homes. However, it is important to remember that a dry sink will always remain operational. A dry sink can be found in homes that have a rustic theme, especially in holiday homes. The residents can use the dry sink to quickly clean up in the morning or wash kitchen supplies, and so on.
Today, a dry sink is majorly used for decorative purposes. It is built or installed in modern houses to bring in an accent of the older eras to the room. Additionally, a dry sink can be repurposed to have a multitude of uses. A dry sink can be reused as
- A storage unit
- A dry bar unit
- A multipurpose table
- A plant or flower stand
- A display stand
- A kitchen island
and in many other ways. Finding a modern use of a dry sink is only confined by the limits of the imagination. With creativity, there are dozens of innovative ways in which a dry sink can be repurposed!
How to identify an antique and authentic dry sink?
If the dry sink lacks minor imperfections, and the woodwork looks precise and perfect, the dry sink is probably inauthentic. The original dry sinks were handmade. In a machine made dry sink, all the nails, screws, joints, etc. will display a certain level of perfection that cannot be achieved from a handmade product. By observing the ends of the wood, it can be determined whether the wood was hand cut or machine cut. It is important to note that nothing can beat the knowledge of an expert. Therefore, it is suggested that the antique dry sink be appraised by an expert before purchase.
Thinking about going through everyday life without the comfort of running water can be hard to imagine. Plumbing has evolved a lot over the past few decades: from steel to copper and more recently PEX.
An authentic dry sink can add great historical and aesthetic value to any home. In addition, there are a number of things that a dry sink can be repurposed for. A dry sink is available for sale and can be procured quite easily. While an authentic dry sink might prove to be heavy on the pockets, a modern replica can be found at local furniture stores or made on request.
For woodwork enthusiasts, a dry sink can be easily made at home. Step-by-step instructions and a list of materials needed can easily be found and for someone adept with their hands and fingers, this should not be a difficult task!
A dry sink is sure to enhance the interiors of a home, and if nothing, an additional space to wash up is always appreciated!