Old Double Laundry Sink. Concrete? Stone? ?

I've got an old sink that I'm guessing was used for laundry in the rear of my 1914 home. It's VERY heavy duty... the walls are about an inch and a half thick and made of stone (or concrete?). Can anybody tell me more about this sink? Is it worth keeping?

answers:
I'm not sure, but it looks to be soapstone, which was a common material in the Victorian era. Google architectural salvage, and you'll most likely find something similar.

answers:
I agree....and for sure I think it's worth keeping!
Linda C

answers:
Whooh boy would I love to have it! Stone sinks are also coming back into vogue in modern kitchens. Why, because they are so indestructable. I live in a two hundred year old home. We have springs as our water source, and when we renovated our kitchen last winter, I had a pitcher pump put back in over a laundry/utility sink. I use that utility sink on a daily basis for things like pulling up water for chickens, filling mop buckets, soaking vegetables out of the garden before canning. It's a sanitary way of removing "dirty" kitchen chores from the food preparation area. It also means one needs basins both large and deep. That sink is a beauty.

answers:

Years ago I lived in a home that was built in the early 1950's. THe house had the same sink as yours. The only thing differant about yours, is the green paint on the outside. I assume, but am not sure, but I think they were grey concrete. It would have been almost impossible to move the concrete sink in my basement. All the houses in the 1950's subdivision had these large laundry sinks in thier basements. NOt sure what years these type sinks were used. I would guess 1930's to at least the 1950's. S B

answers:
Your set tub, as they were known in my area when I was growing up, looks very nice, and the legs are gorgeous. Ours, like stringbeanie's, was concrete, but with plain legs. When I bought my house, I looked frantically in a futile attempt to find one like it, but since time was limited, I ended up with a plastic single bowl cheapy from the local big box. It's deep and ok, but I miss the strength and character of the old fashioned ones...Lucky you!!!! ---Penny G.

answers:
"Can anybody tell me more about this sink?"
Oh, the fond memories of my childhood this brings back. Before the advent of automatic washers we had the old wringer washing machines and the laundry sink was a vital part of the laundry process. In those days the old wringer washers had casters on the legs so you could roll it to a corner for storage and roll it out on laundry day. In addition to the wringer washing machine you needed a minimum of one laundry tub. For most people that was just a #2 galvanized washing tub and some form of table or stand to put it on when needed. The more affluent amongst people had a single or double galvanized laundry tub on a caster leg base that could also be stored in a corner or rolled out on laundry day, but if you were a person of means you had a dedicated laundry room with a built in single or preferably a double concrete laundry tub such as yours. When you had a double tub one tub was filled with hot water and used to "pre-soak" work clothes or items that were heavily soiled. You then set the washing machine in front of the sink and fill the washing machine with hot water. You would take the clothing from the pre-soak and pass it through the wringer to transfer it from the sink to the washing machine. The laundry detergent was put in the washing machine and once the clothing was transferred from the pre-soak to the washing machine you would agitate it in the washing machine for 15 minutes, at which time you rotated the wringer head from the pre-soak tub to the rinse tub. The rinse tub was filled with hot water and you added "bluing" to the rinse water. (bluing was blue cake like material that you melted in a small pot of water on the stove then poured into the laundry rinse water in the same manner as we now put the blue dye material in a toilet tank.)
The clothes were then taken one piece at a time and passed through the wringers from the washing machine to the rinse tub where they soaked in the rinse water about 10 to 15 minutes while you loaded the next load from the pre-soak tub to the washing machine.
You then passed the clothes from the rinse tub one more time, only this time they went into your laundry basket to be taken to the drying process.
In those days we all had energy efficient maintenance free dryers (a couple hundred feet of rope and a bag of clothes pins).
In the 50's the old wringer washers began to give way to the new space age technology of automatic washers and as people got the new automatic washers they no longer had need of the old washing tubs. Some were kept as utility sinks but most were simply broken up with a sledge hammer and carried out. There was a time when a double concrete laundry sink was a sigh of affluence and in some areas there is a high demand for the old concrete laundry tubs for high end renovations of the old Victorian homes. In fact, there is a contractor in my area that specializes in Victorian renovations and whenever we run across one of the old concrete sinks to be torn out he will pay us $50 or $75 for it, plus he provides all the labor to remove it. The only major difference today is that the original faucets will not pass code because the opening of the faucet is below the flood level rim of the sink. Code now requires the lowest point of the faucet to be a minimum of 2" higher than the flood level rim.

answers:
Wow, thanks for all of the replies. I'm still not sure if it's concrete or soapstone though. Anybody know of a test I can perform to determine the material?

answers:
It looks to be made of soap stone slabs to me. If it were concrete, I think it would be one piece.
Linda C

answers:
Lazypup-
Thanks for the memories ! I remember doing that and actually kind of enjoyed it.Usually almost all the neighbors did their washing once a week which was usually on Monday. It was a race to see if you could get your laundry on the clothesline before your neighbors. Evidently proved you were up and at em early.
Phillyvictorian-
What a great find.I think it is wonderful and I like it just the way it is with the "chippy" green paint. Those fancy legs. Wow ! Enjoy!!!!
Lois

answers:
In my area, they show up reconditioned & repurposed in people's yards as garden displays. Actually, they're quite attractive with mounds of annuals flowing over the sides. You'll pay a pretty penny for one also! You've got a winner there...keep it. Another vote for soapstone based on looking at your pictures & what I see in my area that I know are soapstone. Lucky you! /tricia

answers:
Thanks for the memories Lazypup, you brought tears to my eyes. My mom did the laundry exactly as you stated, all through the 50s, 60s and 70s. My dad was a coal miner and he came home totally black. I don't think an electric washer would have survived all that coal dust. The clothes were out on the line before sun-up...even in the dead of winter. My dad finally bought her an electric washer sometime in the 70's, but she still liked her old wringer. In fact, the washer is still in the basement of the family home. The house I am in now was built in the early 60's and has (now had) the identical wash tub. Just about 5 months ago, as I was doing the laundry, I noticed a crack running from front to back in one of the tubs....hubby took a sledge hammer to it and put in one of those cheap plastic ones...I loved my soapstone tubs.....lasted almost 50 years!

answers:
I grew up on my Grandpa's dairy farm in N.E.Ohio and I hated Mondays. We didn't have running water at the house but we had a gravity flow water line from the spring to the milk house near the barn. On Monday, while my uncle and grandpa milked the cows my brother and I had to hitch a team of Belgian Draft horses to a wagon, then fill 10 milk cans with water at the milk house and haul them to the house so Grandma had water for the laundry. Grandma had a huge Ohio Forge "buckeye" coal stove in the kitchen that was about 6' long and on laundry day she would put her copper "Boiler" on the stove top. The boiler was a huge oval shaped copper pot about 3' long 1.5' wide and 2' deep. When we got the milk cans of water to the house we had to pour the water into a 5gal pail, then lift and pour it into the boiler. One of us would then return to the barn to do our chores of feeding stock and cleaning the manure out, while the other one was kept at the house carrying in buckets of coal for the stove, of dipping hot water out of the boiler into a 5 gal pail, then carry it to the washing machine and laundry tubs. Keep in mind that my brother and I were 7 and 9yrs old at the time. Although I had kinfolk who worked in coal mines, we didn't have that black coal dust to contend with, but I can assure you that when you have to hand shovel 3 to 7 tons of manure out of a barn daily, plus work in close with the livestock or work the fields with antiquated machinery that was made prior to 1900 our clothes were every bit as funky with manure, mud, dirt, dust, hay chaff or what have you. Today I hear ppl complain about laundry taking to much time..LOL. Pop a load in the machine and go do something else. In those days, laundry was an all day chore that you had to stay right on top of, but thinking back, even though the farm was constant hard labor, I don't recall ever being confronted with stress, and I can assure you, no one ever sat at my Grandmothers table and came away hungry.

answers:
If it's soapstone, it may have a maker's plaque somewhere on the sloping front, or elsewhere. I saw a similar one from the 30's that had the "alberene soapstone co." logo on it. It could be hiding under that green paint.
The sinks were also made in tin-glazed earthenware and fireclay. The edges of those are very rounded, the material thick and sometimes bumpy. Soapstone will be quite smooth.
Casey

answers:
It looks like mine. I live in a 1923 house. The sink is original. Mine is concrete with zinc lining along the top edge. I can't see if yours is soapstone or not, can't tell if it's joints that I see or not. If it is soapstone lucky you! I'll trade ya! BTW I am keeping mine unless I find a soapstone one that is! You can clean it up and get way cool vintage faucets for it. Sue

answers:
That looks like the one that's hiding in my basement by the washer....it no longer has it's legs. I live in a 1925 house and the sink is original, not sure what it's made of. I'm hoping to be able to to have mine hooked up again and working, a previous owner disconnected the sink in favor of a washing machine so we have no utility sink.