Vintage style kitchen drainboard sinks

youngstown metal kitchen sink

In response to Friday’s post on the patriotic 40s kitchen, Josh writes: I’m in love with that sink. Do they still make any like that? Thanks for the question, Josh. I researched this question, and I have some recommendations:

  • Porcelain-enamel-on-cast-iron or steel drainboard sinks were extremely common in vintage homes, and you can find one vintage if you are patient. Watch your Re-Store Habitat for Humanity or local salvage type place, Craigslist, our Retro Renovation Forum, and ebay. I were looking for a vintage drainboard sink, I would hold out until I found one in near-perfect shape, although you can get these re-porcelained.
  • Historichouseparts.com, one of my favorite places. The first sink (below) was for sale on their site for $725, and count on a hefty shipping charge, too. Others shown are sold for the most part, check in frequently and I’m sure they’ll be glad to help:

historic-house-parts-sink-725.jpg

sink-3.jpg

sink-4.JPG

sink-5.JPG

sink-6.jpg

  • I also recently found a site, thisoldtubandsink.com that says it specializes in vintage porcelain-on-cast-iron pieces, including refinishing. Honestly, I cannot vouch for the refinishing work – and from what I know about this, it can be truly tricky. But this merchant certainly also seem to have a number of as-is pieces in good shape such as this 42×25 double sink at $635. There are other pieces with drainboards as well:
  • thisoldtubandsinkdotcom

    Click this photo to see how Joe used the Elkay drainboard sink in his kitchen

  • And, don’t forget – that another very viable alternative, are the Elkay Lustertone stainless steel sinks made in the 50s and still available today. While they may not be as “sweet” as the white porcelain, they are probably in reality – more functional, as stainless steel does not chip, is very sanitary, and is easy to keep clean.
  • If you are looking for a vintage drainboard sink, be sure that the length and width will fit your space – and that the height of the integral backsplash will work for you as well. You’ll also need to “mate” the sink to the adjacent countertops, I don’t have any advice on this…

Again – there were millions of these made. For example, in the immediate (and less affluent) postwar period from 1946-early 50s, the sink cabinet/drainboard sink combo was marketed heavily as a standalone piece to be integrated into farmhouse kitchens — the Mrs. would keep her wood cabinets, only buy the steel sink base and complementary sink/drainboard. There were big names all over this action, too — Kohler, American Standard, Youngstown. That’s why you see so many sink bases ONLY (as in the photos from historichouseparts.com, above) for sale.

youngstown metal kitchen sink

Finally, in further researching Josh’s question, I found two reproduction sinks that are made currently – both are very pre-war and are really meant as farmhouse style sinks to stand on legs or freestanding. Note, most cabinets today and in the 50s on, were 25″ deep.

Here’s the Nottingham Brass Sandford sink, it’s 42″x21″ and $969 free shipping from signaturehardware.com:
nottingham-brass-sink.jpgAnd here’s a Strom sink sold as Clarion by plumbingsupply.com (and others) at $1599 plus $175 shipping:

vintage style 40s strom-sink.jpg

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Comments

  1. BillZ says

    We have a 1929 Crane wall hung oval ‘shaving sink’ (our term …) with high backsplash that has been in our bathroom since – well, 1934 – when it was built. As you may expect, the wonderfully thick porcelain on cast iron construction now looks very worn. Discoloration around the drain, chips and erosion along the ‘deck’ portion that surrounds the surprisingly intact oval basin.. We love the old beast, despite its flaws and would love to find a way to “make it whole again” but we’re not familiar with the ‘best’ way to accomplish this. And can anyone suggest if its possible to find such a thing in the Denver area.

  2. Tim says

    I have a 1958 double sink,double drainboard,porcelain over cast iron.It is in fantastic condition.No stains,no chips.It has been in my home and used as my everyday sink.Its time to redo the kitchen and the sink is just way to big.72″long.If anyone is interested to purchase the sink they can contact me via reply

  3. Judith says

    Does anyone know the brand of the metal cabinet with yellow sink top? I have an identical piece only the sink is double. Labeled 1949 but no manufacturer.

  4. Jennifer says

    Hi

    We have a Youngstown by Mullins drain board sink with cabinets. It has been our laundry room in the basement but I believe it was originally in the kitchen. It is in poor shape. It has rust, a bad faucet was put on and it got a bad paint job at some point.

    One guy we talked to sad it would be about 3000 to restore, are there any less expensive options that would be worth trying? We don’t want to get replace the sink. We are in Central Jersey.

    Thanks
    Jennifer

    • says

      who ever told you $3000 was trying to rip you off or had no accurate info. If its a cast iron sink, there is no current process being offered to do a good job in real porcelain. If its a stamped steel sink, I am sure you can get it done for $500 -1000 or so in real porcelain. You can likely find a replace ment for $500-$1500 in great condition. Price will depend on if its stamped steel or cast iron. Cast will be the most costly.
      Ken

    • comatus says

      I stripped a set of those to bare metal about 25 years ago, repainted with stainless steel paint in buzz cans, with a coat of clear. It took several applications of paint remover to get all the previous refinishing off; then I used belt and disk sanders on the enamel, and finished with steel wool. Yes, it took a while, but they were Mom’s and I couldn’t throw them out.

      They look like a million, and that finish has not failed in any way. Of course, you can’t do that to the sink.

      • pam kueber says

        Readers, be sure to consult with a properly licensed profession if you intend to do this kind of work yourself — old paint, for example, can contain lead — Renovate Safe!

  5. Brian Siano says

    I have a cast-iron sink that is almost identical to the first one listed for Historichouseparts.com, the one that sold for $750. Maybe you can help me with a question.

    If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that, in front of the faucet, there’s a chrome plate with circle. I have this on my sink. But I have no idea what it was _for_. I’ve been told that the original faucet probably had some fixture for this spot, but I haven’t been able to find any examples on the net. Do you know what this might have been like?

    (As I said, my sink is identical to the one in the photo, save for the drain built into the back wall of the sink. I don’t have that.)

    • Matthew Siegmann says

      Brian,

      That sink appears to be the Sears “Washington” sink. I have the Sears kitchen sink and cabinet catalog from the late 1930s/early 1940s that lists the Washington. That chrome stop is where a sphear-shaped sprayer was. The photo appears to have the original hardware that the cataloge shows, but with the faucet blocking the center, I can’t be for sure if that sink has the sprayer still with it or not. The sink pictured is the 60×24 and I have the smaller version, 42×24 sans the original hardware.

  6. Grace says

    Hi,

    I have one of these old sinks in my home and I love it. It looks like the one in the pic with draws and cabinet doors on each side. It has a few spots on it that is beginning to rust. I would love to paint it but I want to do it right.
    Any suggestions??
    Thanks

  7. Megan Lee says

    I have a postwar sink cabinet/drainboard sink combo. It’s a favorite feature of my kitchen. However, I am in DESPARATE need for replacement parts for the cabinet door clasps. They are the type that is a small steel ball or loop of metal on the door that affixes into a plastic or tin squeeze mounted on the frame.

    I need three sets to complete my cabinet. Any ideas on what these hardware parts are NAMED or where I could BUY them would be very helpful! I am coming up empty after nearly three years of looking for junked cabinets to scavenge!

  8. says

    Hi,

    First time to you site and I LOVE IT!!! Great job.

    I’m looking for the faucet for a 1924 Castiron Farmhouse type sink. The sink has two holes in the back of the massive splash for the faucet which would horizontally. We are wanting a “mixer” type faucet. Can you point us in the right direction?
    Thanks,

    –Jeff

  9. Lois says

    I just found this same sink that’s in add at the top of the page. hold on to ur hats! for $35.00!!!! at the restore in Pasco County FL It’s so cool I love it. got half the things for my small 1952 house at that store and still not done yet.

  10. chuck p. says

    I’d like to install an old drainboard farm sink that we just purchased. I want to remove the modern ss sink, and drop in the old. Problem is the old sink has a casting lip on the bottom which prevents it from seating all the way flush on the countertop. Looks like I either have to cut a groove on the countertop with a router, or build up the perimeter of the sink. Aprox. 1/2″. The sink was originally designed to be installed in its metal counterpart.
    Are installations like mine normal, is there an easier way?

  11. Beverly Johnson says

    I have a double drainboard cast iron sink with a metal cabinet. The cabinet needs to be replaced. Where would I find one? I cannot find a cabinet maker who will design a wooden one with shelves on either side.

  12. chuck p says

    can anyone recommend install links for retro-fitting these old doulble drainboard farm sinks into modern countertops?

  13. Marlo says

    I know this is an old post, but I recognized that first photo of the sink with the cabinet. I used to own that sink! Not just the same model- that very sink.

    We owned a 1920s foursquare in Western NY (in the same city as Historic Houseparts). We relocated and sold the house. A few years later, we heard the new owners took the vintage kitchen out and installed a modern kitchen. I was pretty bummed when I heard, but I’m thrilled to know they sold the sink to Houseparts and that someone else is probably using it. I really miss that double drainboard- it was fantastic.

    BTW, the sink cabinet had a poor paint job in brown when we bought the house. I sanded it down a bit and repainted with a white Rust-Oleum type paint. It worked out great. I don’t know what I was thinking with those pin pulls though…

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