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:
- 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:
- 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.
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:
And here’s a Strom sink sold as Clarion by plumbingsupply.com (and others) at $1599 plus $175 shipping:
More info to plan your Retro Kitchen Remodel:
- Specifically, all my stories about kitchen sinks suitable for a retro-style kitchen are archived here.