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A note about antique pedestal sink height

You may have noticed that all of the older pedestal sinks on our website are fairly low, around 30″ to 32″ tall compared to the 34″ to 36″ height of modern fixtures. The reasons for this are somewhat fascinating: Not only are people generally in better health and on average taller in this century, the way people use their sinks has changed as well.

Many of the things we do standing at the sink today were done sitting down at a makeup table, shaving table, or dressing table.

Daily bathing was not as common then either; the lavatory was commonly used as a basin for an evening sponge bath or hair washing. In an age when the water heater often had to be lit with a match after a trek to the basement, it was easier to simply pour a teakettle full of hot water into the sink.

Hair washing was probably the most influencing factor in the style and height of old sinks. The large basins with taps spaced widely apart are perfect for washing hair (no center spout to bump your head on!), and the low height insures that the water will run down into the basin instead of down one’s neck when bent over the sink.

As the post-WWI world industrialized and people became more apt to have an “on the go” lifestyle, the ritual of the evening toilet fell by the wayside in favor of daily bathing and a quick shave/ makeup application at the sink. In response to consumer demand, sink heights began creeping upwards at about an inch per 20 years until reaching their present day heights.

How-Tos & Tips

Original Antiques are sold in as-is condition. Most items show signs of normal use and wear. Items described as “refinished” or “excellent condition” are as close to “new” as is possible. A detailed description of any item is available upon request.

Condition Guide:

  • Refinished = Fully restored, like new condition.
  • Excellent = As nearly new as possible, 90% of original luster or better.
  • Good = May have minor chips or finish flaws that do not extend down to base material.
  • Fair = Usable. May have rust or chips that extend down to base material.
  • Poor = Needs refinishing or repair work.

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