Woddity watch: Vintage porcelain worktable with sink

vintage-porcelain-work-table-sinkHave you ever seen a sink like this? This vintage porcelain worktable with sink that Pam found on Ebay just might take the cake for most unusual sink ever. Was this specialty sink used as a tool of the trade? Maybe it was standard issue in a butcher shop, photography lab or a dentist office as suggested by seller theatreantiques — who was kind enough to allow us to feature this wonderful oddity of a sink.


From the listing:

vintage-work-table-sinkOffering today is this antique-vintage porcelain work table with small sink in center of table. Not sure what this was used for, maybe a dentist spit sink? Porcelain has some age wear to it, but overall in great condition. The sink sits off center on pedestal. The sink measures 33 x 18.5 x 3.5 and pedestal is 27 inches tall. This is a heavy set, pick up would be advised!

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 Readers — what do you think is the purpose of this sink?


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  1. Kathleen D says

    It isn’t a dental office cuspidor (spit sink), they didn’t look like that. Maybe a chemistry lab or something where you are draining but not washing hence no faucet.

  2. Eucritta says

    It’s a wet work table with a drain, designed to work with a hose or overhead faucet. The couple of very similar ones I’ve seen in the wild had removable metal grids to protect the surface & act as a strainer for the drain. One was being used in a marine lab to wash specimens, and the other was being used as a grooming table at an old vet clinic.

  3. Kay says

    I grew up in a photography studio and lab (built in 1904) and studied photography in school and it definitely wasn’t something used for that.

  4. Robin, NV says

    I think Martha and Eucritta have it right. The first thing I thought was autopsy table but it’s too small. Maybe an examination table for a vet’s office?

  5. Kelly Wittenauer says

    Looks like an old American Standard logo on the underside. I believe they are still in business. Maybe they could tell us more about it?

  6. says

    Cool sink, but seriously mysterious. I would tend to believe something mortuary-esque as well. Also a possibility would be a butcher. You could stack freshly butchered chickens, for instance, and allow them to bleed out. It seems like it would be used as a drain, but not really for washing.

  7. says

    Definitely rare. I have a rare sink myself. It can be seen in this blog post of mine,


    Those two handles that are obviously replaced, with faucets attached, were originally just knobs, no faucets. The water originally came into the basin where the little peninsula juts into the sink. You would close the drain and let the basin fill with water.

    I could not figure out for the life of me what the other basin was for as I’ve never seen anything like it. I contacted people at a vintage plumbing website and was told that the 2nd basin was for brushing your teeth. Back in 1919, when mine was made (also by Standard I believe, hard to read), people were learning about germs and thought it unsanitary to brush your teeth in the same basin as you washed your hands. So if you could afford it, you’d have something like I got. Although I’ve scoured the internet and can’t find anything else like it. I think Standard needs to start their own vintage plumbing website to identify the things they used to produce.

    So I do not believe what you have was used by a dentist. There would be a little water faucet like mine has, and the basin wouldn’t be in the middle.

    I’m thinking more along the lines of what others have mentioned, probably something a butcher would use. Hence the lack of faucet. The blood would just run down the drain. So my vote is Butcher Table.

  8. medtech says

    I work In a medical laboratory. This sink is for disection of small body parts like ruptured appendix or cancerous uterus.

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