A Brief History of Apron Front Kitchen Sinks


Vintage apron front sink and faucet in front of open window with lace curtain

Sometimes referred to as farmhouse sinks, apron front sinks were originally created with functionality in mind. Originating in the 17th Century, their design made it possible for women to comfortably use them for hours. Below is a brief history of the apron front sink, including how it has evolved over the years.

Belfast and London Sinks

The first farmhouse sinks were the Belfast and London models, named for the cities in which they originated. The Belfast sink contained a very deep basin along with a Weir overflow. The London sink had a shallower basin and did not contain a Weir overflow.

The Belfast sink was created to be as versatile as possible and was deep enough for children to take a bath in. The purpose of the London sink was to conserve water. By having a smaller basin, users would be forced to get by with less.

Shaw Sinks (now known as ROHL Home) was the first to make the London farmhouse sink. We are proud to offer these sinks and have several models available on display in our showroom.

French Farmhouse Sink

The Belfast and London models eventually gave way to the French farmhouse sink, which made its first appearance in the late 19th Century.  The first French sinks were freestanding units made from white clay. Later, this sink would be produced with nickel, copper, and cast iron. These types of apron sinks remained popular until around the 1940s. That’s when the materials used to make them started becoming scarce.

Modern Apron Front Sinks

Modern apron front sinks come in a variety of materials, including porcelain and copper. Like their predecessors, they provide exceptional functionality, providing enough sink space for even the largest pots and pans. They are also the focal point of any modern kitchen and compliment rustic, traditional, contemporary, or vintage cabinets.

Kitchen trends have come and gone, but apron front sinks are one fixture that has remained popular throughout time. If you are looking for a timeless classic for your kitchen, please contact us.

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