Woman finds tiny tub in centuries-old house, shocked to learn its purpose

While helping a friend clean her old house, one woman found a tiny tub tucked away in a small closet. Thinking it might have been a bathtub for “fru fru small dogs,” the woman took to social media, begging for help in discovering its true purpose.

The online community was equally puzzled by the tiny tub. Offering their opinion, one person joked: “That’s for the gnome that lives on their front lawn of course!!”

Rest assured; the tiny tub does not serve as warm pool for your garden gnomes to bathe. Keep reading to learn about this tub and how it helped homeowners keep their floor cleans, before modern cleaning tools became available.

Centuries ago, before floor cleaning tools with replaceable mop heads, spray mops or steam mops were available, washing floors required manual labor.

The use of simple tools and natural cleaning agents were the norm in maintaining a clean and sanitary living environment.

And oftentimes, old homes serve as a poignant reminder of resourcefulness and resilience that defined earlier generations.

Secrets hidden in an old home

One of those reminders is a tiny bathtub-like object that one woman found tucked away in a little closet of an old home belonging to her friend.

Taking to social media for some answers, the woman writes: “I’m helping a friend clean her house and she showed me this. It’s in the kitchen at knee level. What is it for, being that low?” She writes in the post. “[The homeowner] thought a dog bath but #1 that would have to be a small dog and #2 not sure people had fru fru small house dogs as much a hundred years ago.”

Fascinated by her finding, the online community jumped in with their thoughts.

“Cool….a urinal right in the kitchen…How handy,” writes one man.

“That’s the kids tub, when I was little I took baths in one,” shares another.

A third netizen suggests it may very well have been for small dogs. He writes: “You should check, you’d find you were wrong…Small dogs may have been a luxury to the rich, but could be a necessity to the poor…They could get to, and despatch (kill) vermin.”

Meanwhile, other users offered more practical purposes for the sink.

“Mop sink. Every kitchen should have one to fill and empty mop buckets. Sadly, modern home kitchens aren’t really workspaces anymore,” writes one netizen.

Mop sinks

Dating back to around the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, mop sinks are low-level sinks (or tubs) designed for mopping and cleaning purposes.

The sink represents a practical solution to the task of cleaning floors in a time when manual labor was the norm and modern cleaning appliances were not yet available. These sinks provided a dedicated space for filling and emptying mop buckets, allowing for efficient cleaning without splashing water everywhere.

Some mop sinks come with convenient features like built-in shelves or cabinets for storing cleaning supplies, as well as backsplashes.

Typically made of durable materials such as cast iron, porcelain, or stone – designed to withstand the rigors of frequent use – the knee-level height of these sinks allowed household residents or staff to comfortably scrub floors while standing, reducing strain on the back and knees.

Additionally, the ergonomic consideration speaks to the importance of efficiency and comfort in household chores, particularly in larger homes where extensive floor space required regular cleaning.

Moreover, the presence of a dedicated mopping sink reflects domestic service in grand estates and manors, where household staff was tasked with cleaning.

Upcycling antique sinks

Today, the vintage fixtures are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for their historical significance and unique aesthetic appeal.

They can be repurposed and used as decorative accents in vintage-inspired kitchens or bathrooms or restored for functional use in homes or businesses.

Inspired by the brilliant simplicity of the classic and efficient design, online users offered their thoughts on upcycling these sinks to incorporate them into modern living spaces.

“What a great place to fill buckets and wash vegetables coming in from the garden, I want one,” shares one. Another user offers: “a pet bathing station.”

A third suggests: “That’s for the gnome that lives on their front lawn of course!!”

What do you think of these architectural relics? Do you have one hidden somewhere in your house?

Let us know your thoughts and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!


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