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Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

Posted by rosemaryt (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 8:32

So, I'm so excited to have found my EIGHTH Magnolia (Sears biggest and fanciest kit home), and I'm going to visit it soon (next month). In preparation, I've really been studying up on the floorplan, and noticed a real oddity.

There's a sink, far away from all other plumbing, tucked away in a CORNER of the Master Bedroom. In fact, it's in the Dressing Room (which we'd call a walk-in closet today), and it's right next to the door leading to the balcony.

And then I noticed that the Sears "Cinderella" also had a sink in a front bedroom corner. This is so odd, because this lone sink is so far from all the other plumbing.

I did a blog on this, and a smart woman wrote back and said, "That wasn't just for rinsing out a lady's undergarments. That sink provided a private place for the lady of the house to rinse out things 'once a month' (ahem) and that was something no one would have talked about in 1918."

I'm sure she's right.

SO I'm writing to ask if anyone else has ever heard of this? And have you found a sink in a bedroom?

Below is a picture of the Sears "Cinderella." It was one of their most modest homes, but it had a sink in a dressing room.

 photo p90_SMH1921_Cinderella_zps1e99ad54.jpg

 photo p90_SMH1921_Cindy_9a_zps95c8914b.jpg

 photo p91_SMH1921_Cindy_Int_zps6a9a2ac1.jpg

 photo p91_SMH1921_Cindy_Int_7a_zpse09585c3.jpg

And here is the floorplan for the Sears Magnolia. The oddly placed sink is right next to the door for the balcony (on the front of the house). Isn't that curious?

 photo Magnolia_FP_1921_FLIPPED_11_zps0cd0ff27.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful: More on the sinks in the bedroom phenomenom.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

That sink was an upgrade to the old bedpan. All forms of liquid could be put down it.

RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

Most older homes were fortunate to have one bathroom, to be shared by the family. There was no opportunity to hog it for primping, and not always convenient and unoccupied for morning and nightly routines like toothbrushing, or freshening up with a face wash or shaving for the fellows, getting a drink of water or taking medicines. Having a sink in the master bedroom comes in very handy and it didn't offend sensibilities then like it would now, especially if put in a dressing area. Many hotels and motels will have one, if you notice, in the area where one stacks their luggage and hangs their clothing and this is in addition to a full bath with another sink. Having a sink in a bedroom would also be handy if caring for invalids for sponge bathing and other care. In fact, when we remodeled a small room to accommodate my elderly mother, having only one bath we also installed a sink. It came in very handy. As for the 'bedpan' most homes if needed used chamber pots, particulary those with old folks, outhouses or little children whom you would not want to have to navigate by themselves up or down a flight of stairs. Quite often what is in a chamberpot cannot be flushed down a sink and most women, particularly back then would probably not even consider using it for urine disposal. I knew a lot of elderly gals who would scrub their sinks out daily and bleach or use lysol on them. Many loos smelled of chemicals back then.

RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?


You don't want to hear the stories I have when traveling with a crew of young University and pro athletes and hotel rooms and rented condos. The wet bars were regularly used for more than rinsing glasses in a $350.00 a night suite, that goes for the vanity in the bathroom, even a kitchen. I'm sure it still happens today, 21 years old is 21 years old then and now.

I remembering someone yelling take the dishes out of that sink before you think of going in it.

RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

That doesn't surprise me a bit canuck, I'm just sayin' most women of that era would not have had a sink installed near a bedroom to use as a sewer.

RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

I once looked at a house of that era, but not Sears house, that had several (8 or 10) bedrooms off a central corridor. Each room had a sink in it, in an alcove near the entry door.

The primary rooms downstairs were large and opened on to each other, so double, even triple parlors, on each side of the central hall

The newel post on the stairs was an ornately carved penis, with lots of scroll work to semi-disguise it.

The house was believed to have started life as a brothel.

Too many bedrooms for me, though. And bad juju, I felt.


RE: Little sinks in bedrooms (post-1900)?

ROFL laughing..........and that does not at all surprise me either. Our near-by city used to be called 'little Chicago' and indeed had a red-light district and it thrived until the second world war from what I heard. A sink in each room would indeed be handy. argh!

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