phillyvictorian

Old Double Laundry Sink. Concrete? Stone?

phillyvictorian
December 25, 2007

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?

Comments (65)

  • conniet22

    I bought a house built in the 50's. It also has a sink like this in the basement. It is in very good condition & has a scrub board built into it. I don't have any use for it. Anyone interested can call me at 812-376-7757

  • sheilajoyce_gw

    I grew up in a large house built about 1900. It had a full basement, and one of the larger rooms was the laundry room. We had a very low two burner gas "stove" for boiling the cloth diapers. We had a double soapstone sink a little larger than yours, and on the inside front slope of one tub a bumpy washboard was cut into the soapstone. The back edge of the sink was a ledge about 3 inches wide and into it was a carved out rectangle to accommodate a large bar of laundry soap. The faucets were large pipe faucets, the spigot quite long, and they were placed well above the sinks.

    We lived in a large city in central Illinois, and so the basement rooms were strung with a clothesline to use in winter. Otherwise the wet clothes would freeze on the line, and then when you took them down, they would crack, and tear the clothes in doing so. We were a family of 6, and laundry did add up.

    Mom had an old washing machine that had a spinning type of wringer. You filled the tub of the machine with hot water and the hose that came with it. (And you washed the white laundry first, and then later the medium and dark colors in the same wash water.) Then you turned the chute of the wringer to drain over the washing tub and placed all the washed clothes in it, locked the top of the wringer, and set it to spin the clothes and the water dripped over the chute and back into the washing machine tub, saving the soapy water for the next load of wash. In the meantime, you filled the first sink tub with water. When the clothes were as dry a you could spin them, you put all the clothes into the tub of water and sloshed them around to rinse the soap out. As you were doing this, you had already put the next load of laundry into the washing machine tub, and you were filling the 2nd sink with rinse water. Then you would put the clothes into the automatic wringer, turn the drain lip or trough over the sink, and let it wring into the dirty rinse water as it all swirled down the sink drain. Then you put the clothes into the second full sink and rinsed and wrung them one more time.

    Then we took the wet laundry upstairs to the back yard where we hung it on the line. The laundry would be so wet and heavy that the line would dip with the weight of it. But you needed the line to be up high so the clothes and sheets would not drag on the ground, and they also needed to be up high to catch the drying breezes. My father had made some clothesline props for my mother, long (8 feet?) boards with a V notched in one end to slip under the line and a pointed end to kind of anchor into the yard. We had a huge container of wood clothespins to hang the clothes too. Saturday was my day to do the wash as I was home all day from school to do it. Then the ironing was done another day.

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  • Rudebekia

    I had the exact same laundry sink in my 1923 bungalow. Exact same--same legs and all. It was not soapstone, but concrete. I'm sure that is what yours is too. It looks like someone painted the side green; someone had painted the sides of mine gray. The bowl of the sink was all stained with paint stains like yours is, but it still worked just fine as the drain sink for the washing machine. I sold the house two years ago but as far as I know it is still there. Soapstone scratches and dings fairly easily and concrete does not, so you could test it on the underside.

  • someone2010

    Because the sink looks like it has been painted, I would say it is cement. Also, if it was soapstone I believe you would know automatically. Soapstone feels like soap. Very different than the look and feel of cement. It's what talcum powder is made of. But whether it is soapstone or cement, it's a keeper.

  • sunnyca_gw

    Great design for a sink & apparently copied for a cafe I worked in in 1958 when i was a teenager. It was same shape & i thought it was because you needed to stand close as it was for scrubbing out the large pans used for the noon specials like roast beef with gravy. Roast cooked slowly on a gas burner on top of the stove.The 1st sink was for those big dirty pans & second was full of rinse water & they had a drain board beyond that. It was truckstop , motel ,gas station & cafe & was very busy place as food was great! As for me I married the bosses son!! Thanks for the memories! Oh, it was a heavy metal welded & thick like 1 shown but don't remember if it had legs.

  • igloochic

    Easy way to tell...rub the side of it where there is no paint. Soap stone is soft and smooth. Concrete is rough to the touch when you stroke it (from that period anyhoo).

    I have concrete sinks, probably from the 1890's like yours. Mine are so worn there are exposed pebbles. We'll probably add them to the garden as an outdoor sink and replace the laundry sinks with something that won't scratch up the cloths :) Mine are one solid piece (two sinks like yours but not joined).

  • darlenes-2010

    Lazypup your people went to a lot of trouble with pre washing and soaking. We just dumped in the clothes whites first and washed away but did do the rinsing part. I loved using my MIL's when we lived with her. The only problem with that type of washing is the stiffness in the clothes especially blue jeans. LOL

  • tonda1

    I have one just like that in my basement that I would LOVE to haul upstairs and use in the outdoor kitchen that we are building. Two questions for all of you though: 1) Will it be okay outside? I don't want to install it and then have it crack from winter freeze/thaw; I think mine is definitely concrete and does have zinc or something on the edges. We live in DC area, so normally not terrible winters (last years snowpocolypse notwithstanding). Also will be installing against back of garage with deep overhang so it will have some protection. 2) Any bright ideas on how I can manage to haul that beast out of the basement? It weighs a TON!!!! Thanks.

  • ericfaden

    Anyone have any tips or a guide for repairing a old concrete sink? I have one in my basement. I was planning to jack it up and rebuild a new base out of angle iron. The problem is what to do about the drain. The drain is molded in to the concrete, but also needs repair. Options?

  • diying

    Well I have one too I thought it was concrete but has slick feel so I guess it's soap stone. Unless it's worth alot it is about to Become a subwoofer cabinet with 4 JBL 2241H speaker in isobaric pairs. A wooden cabinet would cost over $500.00

  • Dan88king_yahoo_com

    My family had one just about like yours. I used to take baths in it when I was a little kid during WW2. It worked great, but since it dated back to the early 1920's, it eventually wore out along the top edges of the center divider. The soapstone or other cement-like core is covered in metal, then finished with something that was quite durable. We used to cover the sharp edges with thick foil and kept using it. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe lived out in the country and also had a double laundry sink, but they had a really useful gadget to go with it, a tray washing machine with a wringer that fit on top of the left side and ran an agitator inside the sink. It ran for over 35 years with little trouble!

  • blessedbemex3_hughes_net

    I recently purchased a house that has one of these old double sinks in it with iron pipe plumbing thru the basement floor. Only difference is the above one has more ornate legs. I agree must be soapstone as too smooth feeling for cement. Wonder what $$ value it has? Soapstones were used often as foot warmers as they hold heat a long time.

  • joyce_6333

    Our old 1916 Arts and Crafts home had an Alberene Soapstone sink like this one in the basement only is was larger, had a more substantial base, and had a backsplash piece on it that went up about a foot with the faucets mounted in there. I couldn't give the thing away. An antique dealer wanted $20 to haul it out for me. It was so heavy that four men could not lift the thing to carry it out.

  • mianej526_gmail_com

    I have one too, in the basement of my grandparents 1950's home in which I now live. It is too lightweight to be concrete; it feels like metal, has chipped light greenish gray paint, a washboard, faucets, and two sinks. It stands on four metal legs. Any ideas folks?

  • lindac

    1950's? Probably galvanized.

  • michal1

    I have just moved the same tub into my back yard and yes it is very heavy. On the bottom of mine is the manufacture.
    Nustone Product Corp. Laundry Tub, my guess this is the date
    8 5 30 My parents bought their house in 1946 it was in the house and I remember it was next to the ringer washer. Nustone were made in various location. I only have one leg and it the same as the picture

  • michal1

    This is a soapstone double laundry Tub recovered from it's original home in Pawtucket RI. It was produced by Nu stone in 1928, it is stamped and dated on the back. There are not many left from by from the reputable manufacturer, Nu stone.

    It was painted with yellow latex paint at one point....it is mostly worn off and should be easy to take off whats left.

    A great find for renovation !

    Location: Sandwich
    it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

    image 0 image 1

  • ItzRav

    My first post here. I realize this is somewhat of an old thread but it seems to be discussing exactly what I have. I have an old concrete laundry tub. On the bottom it says "Maryland Nustone Corp Laundry Tray". Handwritten is "10-13-31" (our house was built in 1931).

    My question is regarding cleaning the sink. I've attached a picture, but there is what seems to be soap scum and lime scale etched into the surface. It doesn't come off with just a brush and water. I'm wondering what product to use to clean it up. What about "Simple Green Lime Scale Remover" ? I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

  • bungalow975

    My 1915 Craftsman bungalow has a triple laundry sink in the basement. It is cement, and the legs are very utilitarian and not particularly attractive. There is an attached ledge at the back of the sinks with built-in soap dishes. Two bridge-style faucet sets are mounted on the ledge. After reading about how these sinks were used, is a triple sink somewhat unusual?

  • bspofford

    Talk about the memories! The home I grew up in had a double laundry sink, and it was a light brick red color, definitely not painted. I remember Mom doing the wringer washer thing, and I remember taking baths in it too. When we moved, it went with us and was installed in the basement laundry room. I remember my father coming home from his road construction job and using that sink to wash his face and hands.

  • patty_cakes

    What a wonderful walk down memory lane! Those were the days when men 'went' to work while women stayed home and worked!! ThIngs weren't easy like they are today, nothing was automatic, just about everything required effort. Seems people were a lot skinnier also, at least those that I remember. I know my Mom and Dad were both quite thin.

  • connecticutbug

    I have the exact same sink I think in my old 1920's home :) I was curious if you ever did anything to it or restored it in any way.

    Mine is white inside and out, so I always thought it had a porcelain type coating. Anyone know if these were ever coated with porcelain?

    Anyway to tell if it is actually soapstone, or cement? I'm going to plan to look around the bottom or on a few chip areas and see if I can tell.

    I'd like to restore mine, even though its just used as a laundry/slot/dirty sink in the basement. Was thinking of buying a kit and refinishing it on my own with a kit like I linked below, or having a pro come in and re-coat it.

    To the original poster, did you do any updating of the drains/trap/piping? From what I can tell this sink has an extra piece on the bottom that I think can be unscrewed, unsure if the piping is cast into the piece or separate. Mine doesn't leak, but if I refinish it I'd like to redo all of that as well. If you messed with it at all share your experience.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Sink Refinishing Kit

  • jimmclachlan

    Not stone, not soap stone, these tubs have been formed concrete since the mid 19th century. In each region of the US there were one or two factories that cranked them out. So they have unique branding and stenciling if they have have not been painted. Here in Seattle wash the Seattle washtub company and another called the Seattle sink and basin company. If you look on the inside of the tubs, where there is no paint, you will not see seems. If they were slab bed stone, seems would be present and therefore would leak overtime. We have six in our garden as planters. I removed several dozens from homes, most were replaced in the 70's because they took up room, stain, weep from cracking and more often replaced because they take up the space for modern washer and dryers.

  • scott6247

    I have same set tub but in porcelin. The water handles are on top in the middle three holes one for hot cold and one for water supply. It's in perfect condition no chips beautiful claw feet on metal base. Anyone have any idea what its worth, or interested
    in buying i'm moving have to get rid of. Live in western mass. 413- 559-1617 Scott

  • oldfixer

    Still got mine in the basement.

  • Ruth Richardson

    I just had one installed as part of my kitchen/ laundry room remodel. I love it! It's just like the one my Mom had and I used to get bathed in it as a kid!

  • bungalowmo

    I have a cast iron one w/a baked enamel finish. The legs on yours are beautiful!!

  • Rusty Empire

    Bungalow, your basement sink would look fabulous in my Reno project! Wouldn't you feel better if it went to a good home were it will be in a place of praise (i.e. my kitchen)? Whattayathink?

  • bungalowmo

    Oh, I'd love to help you out, but.....

    I will say, if I ever got rid of it, I'd gladly pass it on to you!!

  • bungalowmo

    Gotta tell ya...I loved looking at your jailhouse photos!! SO cool!

    I swear, I was born in the wrong century!!

  • Ruth Richardson

    There are no legs on mine. It was just a sink and my contractor/carpenter built the stand that it's on. Thank you!

  • Skip Hilton

    RustyEmpire. Just came to this thread. I have a double concrete sink in good condition. Located in the bay area. If you want it come and get it. It is heavy.

  • Julie L

    I have one of these in my 1923 Sears home I purchased "as is" a few years ago. My problem with this sink is that the drain is TINY and stops up all the time. I would keep the sink if I can figure out getting the drain working better and also HOW do you clean this - I mean DEEP clean -mine is covered in years of laundry back wash and is just gross. I'd like to keep it if theres a way to get it clean and reasonable effort to keep it clean. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated??? My handyman painted it white when I bought the house 3 years ago which didn't help matters now the paint is chipping into drain...trying to insert a couple pictures of it
    - really wanna get this clean so I can use and keep it. Otherwise its getting the sledgehammer ! :)

  • theswatch

    I know this is a very old post, but I found this thread while researching my own soapstone Albarene sink. Even though it is painted, it could still be soapstone, as is my sink. It looks like you have the same one that I have and the same one sold by a salvage company here: http://www.recyclingthepast.com/i616-Soapstone-Laundry-Sink.aspx

  • colleenoz

    Julie, I would scrape off the paint and have a larger drain hole cut. Of course then you would need the drain re-plumbed with a larger pipe. Then give it a quick scrub after each laundry session.

  • Thunder Bomb

    Who knew.. I have one of those but with three bays... I was about to smash it up and get rid of it.. I just might fix it up now.


  • jemdandy

    This is an old post from Dec. 25, 2007. I'm wondering why we are seeing it again, although it was a worthwhile post. Someone must have dug it out of the archive.

  • Thunder Bomb

    jemdandy most likely because I commented on it.

  • corckydog

    Found this because just today I asked for installation of a set tub in the new house I bought. The contractor had no idea what I was talking about and said I may mean a utility sink. Where did the term 'set tub' originate. My mother had two basins combined as one unit - was that a 'set'? Or did things 'set' there to soak?

  • slcalleros

    Does anyone know where I can find one of these? I'm having the hardest time. The new ones don't really look like this I feel. Am i looking in the wrong place?


  • lindac92

    Try an architechtural salvage place.

  • cgard2

    Here in New England a soapstone sink (and that's what you want to search for) is still really quite common, usually just a glance at Craigslist is all that's needed. $100 to $150 is a pretty standard price but it often will not include the cast iron legs. The important thing to keep in mind is that although most sellers will call the sinks "soapstone", they may or may not be correct... too often not, so learn what really is soapstone because (unless you don't care) you'll want to get one that really is.

    You can look on eBay too, but understand that they really are VERY heavy, so shop close to home because although it will be a lot smaller it will weigh about as much as a refrigerator.

    You'll likely pay a premium price at an architectural salvage place, but at least they're more likely to know what they've actually got.

  • bklyn2pok

    This thread doesn’t seem to die, it’s been 10 years since I last posted. My sink is still sitting on the floor in the laundry room and I still don’t have a utility sink. Mine looks similar to a greyish colored one posted earlier on this thread so I’m thinking it’s probably made out of cement.

    Eventually we’ll figure it how to test for leaks and get it up on a stand of some type. It’s too heavy to move upstairs and I like it better than some of the modern options.

  • lilithanne

    It is soapstone.

  • morgan60805

    Anyone looking for one my son has one. He lives in Chicago suburb.

  • jemdandy

    The design and shape of the legs appear to be castings. Notice, these are one piece. I'd say these legs are cast iron or steel. However, these do not show any rust. These could be aluminum.

  • Katie Wall





    Hard to read sticker, but mine is from the Chicago Granitine Mfg. Co. and was delivered to Asheville Crane. No date and can’t find information on Chicago Granitine, but we love it.


    Anyone have any information about this one - would love to know some history about it?!

  • maifleur01

    Well Chicago Granite is still in business so you can contact them for information about your sink.

  • Katie Wall

    I couldn’t find contact information for them - I’ll look again. Thanks.

  • maifleur01

    http://www.chicagogranitecountertop.com/ I found it by simply typing in Chicago Granite and reading part of the description. Scroll down to the bottom and you can send them an email or they have contact information.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).