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DOWN MEMORY LANE: Modern conveniences

In this day and age it seems we take a lot for granted. It's pretty amazing that we can reach out, turn a knob and hot or cold water gushes out, and we can collect or drain it at will.

In this day and age it seems we take a lot for granted. It's pretty amazing that we can reach out, turn a knob and hot or cold water gushes out, and we can collect or drain it at will.

Imagine the amount of work that was an everyday reality before modern plumbing conveniences. Great-Grandma and Grandpa didn't roll out of bed, grab a cup of already brewed coffee, and hop in the shower.

The plumbed sink that is found in virtually every American home was, not too long ago, nonexistent. In the 19th century, one of the latest improvements in the kitchen was the "dry sink."

Before the utilization of windmills to power the transfer of water from wells to roof cisterns and interior plumbing, water was bucketed in from outside wells.

Typically located in the kitchen area, the dry sink was a place for cleaning and for preparation. By definition, a dry sink is a wooden cabinet that supports a wash basin not connected to a water supply.


Most often, it had a sink made of iron, granite, soapstone or porcelain, capable of holding larger amounts of water.

The recessed basin on top minimized splash and spill from washing, food preparation, or shaving. The base was constructed of wood and featured a cupboard area for storage.

DesignOften times we will see this made of tongue-and groove-boards, which makes them very desirable because of the look it creates.

Though many variations of the dry sink were built, most had a ledge to hold a pitcher or other small items. Others had a backboard that may or may not have shelves.

The desirability of this collectible as a primitive can be appreciated for its unique look alone, or continued to be used as a functional kitchen collectible. Creative uses may range from a child's changing table, plant or collectible display, or countertop.

The base cabinet is a great storage area for just about anything.

At Lucken's Collectibles we have a beautiful antique dry sink for sale. It is made of an attractive, weathered, yellow beadboard and has marvelous patina which only age and usage can create.

This dry sink has a recessed white porcelain basin that is bordered by a wooden ledge. The ledge to the right of the sink is wider than the left. It has a hole in it where a metal hand pump, capable of delivering water, once was attached.


Dry sink styleThis, at the time of its invention, was a fairly modern dry sink. The sink has a hole in the bottom so the water could drain. A door just beneath the basin opens to provide room for storage on the rustic, planked floor.

"Primitives" continue to increase in popularity, which makes them hard to find at reasonable prices. It would seem that in this area the desire for these great collectibles is continuing to rise.

As with other desirable collectibles, supply and demand will have an affect on sale price. Stop in and check out the sink and share some of your memories with us.

We are eager to take time to open our ears and minds to shared histories common in our small towns.

Lucken Hanson owns Lucken's Collectibles in Fertile and Cuellar works with her. Store hours are 10 a.m .- 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Phone: (218) 945-6660 or e-mail at: collectibles@gvtel.com

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