14 rare vintage kitchen sinks spotted in 6 years of blogging

vintage kitchen sinkThere’s a big payoff for blogging day in, day out, for more than five years: You see a lot of stuff. My archives are just brimming with all kinds of rare features found in midcentury American homes. I was thinking, “Golly, I’ve seen quite a few very interesting vintage kitchen sinks,” so I decided to go through my archives and see what I could find. And find, I did. Here are thirteen vintage kitchen sinks — some are super rare, as in one siting in five years… others are a bit more common (although still rare in the grand scheme of things)… all are delightful. Although: Beware, surely, of those sinks that put water and electricity seemingly way too close together. First up:

elkay-consoletteelkay-consolette-sinkelkay-vintage-sink-consolette

  • And here’s another Elkay design — the Elkay Consolette — discovered by reader Karen in Oct. 2014.

tappan push button plumbing kitchen sink

drainboard sink vintage

  • American Standard “Midway” sink – Porcelain drainboard sink — built like a kitchen island.  Circa 1954 image. We have never seen one of these in the wild — only in this advertisement.

vintage sink stainless steel

  • Added Dec. 3: I just spotted this in an old story — a vintage Elkay (I’m guessing) similar to the American Standard Midway — but in stainless steel. Originally spotted in the Corbett House.

stainless steel sink with drainboards

  • Update Jan. 16, 2013 — Kate spotted this big stainless steel sink — similar to the Corbett House sink, but also featuring two drainboards — at her local ReStore. Wow. I’m guessing: used commercially

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  • Updated March 24, 2013 — Another variation on the vintage Elkay, this one spotted on craigslist and as I write this, currently available for sale. I’m calling this rare(ish) because you cannot get this kind of deep bowl/shallow bowl combo today. Listing said: Mid Century (1955) 84 inch stainless steel kitchen counter with 2 integrated sinks. Vintage Elkay Lustertone (top of the line back then, and today), excellent condition, no gauges or scratches, just normal fine wear in the stainless steel. Counters angle towards sinks on both sides. One sink is 14″W x16″L x 8″ D with opening for garbage disposal. Second sink is 22W x 16L x 4 D (the lady of the house had a stool under the sink). Entire piece is 84″ x 25″. Called Elkay — today, a new 80″ Lustertone counter with 2 sinks would retail for $2,800. Perfect for a modern or mid-century modern renovation. $450 or best offer.
  • sink top with top loading dishwasherKitchen drainboard sink with integrated top-loading dishwasher — These units from Youngstown (and maybe other makers) were not super-rare. But still coolio to the max.

mies van der rohe chicago kitchen

  • GE Wonder Kitchen — Super fabulous: GE made the Wonder Kitchen — these wereThese were marketed as one-piece, space-saving, space-age kitchen units. The cabinet modules were united by a long single piece of stainless steel counter top, which also had a sink and electric range engineered right into into it. Above: Read more: Chris buys a Wonder Kitchen on craigslist, restores it, and installs it in his Mies van der Rohe apartment kitchen. We also have seen “Hotpoint Wonderline” kitchens — same exact idea; at some point GE owned Hotpoint, so these may be the same kitchens, just rebranded.

porcelain drainboard sink

aqua-vintage-kitchen-sink

vintage faucet with light Above: Just added this faucet to this page. Reader Ron G. nabbed it. He said:

I just got this vintage faucet with a built in flourescent light. It’s wired right through the faucet stem. Seems terribly dangerous but I couldn’t pass it up. I can’t find ANY information on it. Ever seen one or know anything about it?

But hey, Ron G.: That looks just like the Elkay Consolette we subsequently identified in Oct. 2014. Dial back to the top-ish of this story to see the labels. And note, all: Wait long enough, and we’ll identify your woddities!

Would you like to see a bunch more “typical” vintage kitchen sinks? How about these 15 vintage sinks from Kohler:

kohler kitchen sinks

Do you know of more examples of rare kitchen sinks?
If ‘yes’, I would LOVE to see them and add them to our archive!

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Comments

  1. says

    Great subject! I love these drainboard sinks too! It just so happens I found a neat one yesterday and posted it under OTHER metal cabinets. This one says forties but I am not sure about that. It is a stainless double sink with double drainboards and if I did my math right, it is a whopping 77″ wide! Made by Tracy and I love the style of it with the stainless curved accent “posts”. Were stainless sinks more commonly used in the late fifties and early sixties, or were they available as early as the forties?
    http://cleveland.craigslist.org/app/3442126788.html

    • Chris says

      Janet — I have some product catalogs from the thirties that feature almost all stainless steel kitchens! Of course, they are catalogs of stainless steel manufacturers! :)

      If I had to guess, I’d say they were available, but not typical.

      Pam, do you have any more info?

      What a fun article! I do have a serious case of giant drainboard sink envy!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, this is a GE Wonder Kitchen – mentioned in the story already, though I do not have a photo of my own to feature. I need to go thru all my vintage marketing materials and find one in my collection!

      • says

        Just thinking – I have my father’s repair parts catalogs from way back. I don’t know if they go beyond 1954 when he became a dealer. I need to FIND them in my maze of a basement and look to see if anything from these kitchens is in there. They are the size of huge phone books and about two feet wide and very heavy. I doubt it shows cabinets but I would think it shows the appliances from this “Wonder Kitchen” which is amazing. He put in kitchens too and I sure wish he saved all the literature. He used to have some pieces in the barn but I think they are all gone now. The only one that I know is left is one of those undercabinet short storage units with the sliding doors shown over the sink in these pictures, or often seen under the wall cabinets or the wall fridge. It is just wasting away on the wall in the basement of his house and I NEED to go down there and get it!

      • 52PostNBeam says

        Pam, you used to have a wonder kitchen pic in the cabinettes story, though I just checked and it’s gone :( … the file was 1957-GE.jpg

        I have tons of pics of wonder kitchens if you need one!

    • says

      Tracie, I wonder. My gramma had a cape built in the early forties and it had cabinets that looked just like this but I don’t remember the sink. They were not metal but looked like it because they were actually painted a shiney white enamel. I always loved that clean look. The green tile bathroom in this house is gorgeous too!

      • Shari D. says

        If it makes you feel any better though, it seems they did leave the lovely green tile bathroom alone! It surely didn’t need to be touched, and they didn’t.

    • Shari D. says

      Unfortunately, the cabinet question is now moot. According to the current listing for this home, it has undergone $40,000 in remodeling, and the kitchen as it stood then is completely gone. The dining area has been changed, and there is now a laundry closet outside the bathroom door with stacked appliances. If you check the listing, you will find this – “WATCH the RENOVATION on SELL THIS HOUSE EXTREME on A&E-May 11!!” So…….another one bites the dust, unfortunately.
      I suppose after over a year on the market though, the fact that it wasn’t selling was blamed on the lack of modern updates. It’s not bad as it stands now – in fact it’s pretty nice really – but it’s nothing like it was……

  2. Jeanne says

    The kitchen and bathroom sinks at my Dads home are vintage. The kitchen sink takes up the whole length of the wall and is mounted to the wall with nothing underneath, all ceramic, less than half was drain board and the other half was a single basin sink. I think the faucet is mounted to the back or the wall and has a tray to hold a bar of soap. The bathroom sink has two faucets opposite each other, the left side was hot and the right side was cold. Made washing your hands difficult, the water was either scalding or ice cold. I never quite understood the logic behind that design. I figured they probably used the rubber stopper (attached to a chain) that sat the ceramic ledge between the two faucets next to the bar of soap, to fill the basin and “wash up” since there was no shower just a tub.

  3. Elaine says

    My Florida 1963 time capsule has the Elkay three bowl sink (second picture) without the electrical option. I love the drain covers and the pull up stoppers. I had to find a new faucet to go with it that had a long enough reach to go over the middle of the large sinks. I’m pretty sure the one that was in there was a replacement. It is now in the utility sink we added in the garage.

  4. Robin, NV says

    The Tappan Ultraflow sink is just terrifying and it begs the question WHY?? I know “push button” was synonymous with “modern” but yikes! Aside from the obvious problem of electrocution, I’m thinking it would be a bear to clean.

    The last of the Kohler pictures was also kind of an oddity, this time with the sink placement. How strange to position it against a wall and not at a window or looking across the room. .

  5. Anna says

    I have a Youngstown double drainboard double sink from 1948. It’s AWESOME! My whole kitchen is straight out of the 40’s with the Youngstown metal cabinets. I would never change it!

  6. Tom says

    Just a general comment….

    I’m so glad I found this site 2 years ago. It’s listed in my favorites and it truly is. Every new post without fail has something interesting, fun & clever. Kate & Pam’s hard work to find us all of these gems is appreciated more than I can express. What a genuine delight this site it!!

  7. Jay says

    I mistakenly commented under your old post from 2010 with the vintage sinks. I once had a Hotpoint appliance brochure from the 40s showing the “electric sink” integrated into the kitchen of metal cabinets. Not as deadly as it sounds. It was just a porcelain sink w/drainboard housing the disposer and dishwasher. I think Hotpoint is still a division of GE. Janet in CT could probably verify.

    • pam kueber says

      yikes. very similar to the youngstown i show in the main blog post… this must have been a “thing” for appliance makers to do… thanks!

  8. Cher says

    Hi Pam,
    I am remodeling a cabin built by my in laws in the late 50’s early 60’s. After visiting your forum I went back and realized the kitchen sink was an original youngstown double with drainboard cover. We also rent a shop from them. They have had the shop for 50 years and low and behold it had a matching kitchen sink in the shop kitchen. With my sister in laws blessing I replaced the shop sink with a utility sink, I took the two matching sinks to a local auto body repair shop that sand blasted them to remove the rust and restored them. I will be installing both matching sinks in the cabin. I am so excited to have two matching sinks that we owned by the family.:)

      • Cher says

        I also found NOS 1960’s sinks for the bathroom. I bought a few extra cause I was so excited at the find. Light Blue, Purple, Pink and Jade
        Green. I tried to save as much as I could to put back in cabin. It has been so fun to research and capture the simple, functional items of our childhood. We have tried to choose things that make us smile. A restored tulip table was another cool find on a trip to take our son to visit a college in New Mexico. We bought so much in New Mexico, we had to make a trip out of it to pick it up. Love, love, love the 1950’s and 1960’s. The house we just built features items from the 1920’s, 1930’s and what I learned it that America had so much industry. I feel proud to display the craftsmanship in our NEW/OLD treehouse home.

  9. says

    PS If you scroll down on my link above, you’ll see a photo of a retro kitchen sink that I won at an auction for $3. Aqua! I’m planning on installing in my kitchen sometime in the near future.

  10. Cher says

    Pam,
    You posted about a cleaning product that was great for old sinks. Can’t find the link to purchase it. I have been using barkeepers on my 1936 farm sink. I did not know better but would like to try the product you used. I read the posts between you and kohler I believe. Quite interesting.
    Cher

  11. George Parsons says

    hi Pam, in your 10 “rare” kitchen sinks, you don’t show the one in the center at the top of your page? it looks like the very rare one i have that was in a 1962 kitchen show in Calif. the plain one in the photo you show “kitchen oddities” was feautured on the old dick van dyke show. i have the deluxe model with sanitazer, hot/cold water push buttons, soap dispenser, and on each end of the unit there are motors. one is for a blender the other has attachements for mixing batters, bread and more. it came with full instructions and recipes too. i sure would like to know what it may be worth as well as if anyone else has one. thanks, George

  12. katy says

    Grandma June has a WORKING servi-center in her house in La Habra, Ca and our neighbors up her in North Dakota just pitched a working one in the trash heap!

  13. Anastasia says

    The only time I have “seen” the Tappan push button was on the original “Ugliest Bathroom America” special where there was carpet in the bathroom & a push button sink that no one knew how to fix.

    Most of those are pretty cool!

  14. Mike H. says

    I have the one that is on the first picture of this site, and I am looking to sale it. It is in a state of needing to be restored. In great shape. Does anyone know of anyone who wants to buy it. I am located in the Southern California – Inland Empire area. Check out the the list with the guys name. I didn’t want to be rude, and glorify some other site.
    Mike H.

    • pam kueber says

      Put it on craigslist, that’s likely your most efficient option to a sale.

      Given the rarity of this design, you might also try ebay but then inspection and shipping gets more complicated.

      Good luck.

      • Mike H. says

        Thank you very much Pam Kueber. What should be my asking price? I just wanted to get your opinion on it. I will get other’s as well, but I don’t know anything about pricing this. I know it would look awesome refurbished.
        Thanks.
        Mike

  15. Nancy says

    Browsing the Detroit Metro Craigslist today I came across two vintage metal kitchens that I thought that folks on here would like to see. Here are the links:
    First, a Geneva porcelain top and metal cabinetry:
    http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/hsh/4637927709.html
    Second, and entire kitchen of metal cabinets in northern Michigan that may be woodgrain or may have been covered in woodgrain later:
    http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/mat/4653763618.html
    This ad has a couple of vintage kitchen cabs in rough condition:
    http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/hsh/4572694497.html

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