Stainless Steel Sinks – A Light-Hearted Look at the Ubiquitous Kitchen Sink

Stainless Steel Sinks – one of mans greatest inventions?

Since the dawn of time, mankind has been on an endless voyage of discovery. Finding things; inventing things; stumbling across new elements and substances by accident. The wheel. The flame. The sliced loaf of bread. The opium poppy and the coca plant. The last century alone has witnessed the discovery of a glut of wonder materials that have revolutionised manufacturing and irreversibly changed consumer culture. The 20th century has given rise to such everyday essentials as Cellophane, Nylon, Pyrex and Teflon. Another worthy addition to add to that list is of course stainless steel. Steel is so ever-present and ubiquitous – in both commercial and domestic settings – that it’s impossible to remember what we used to use in place of it. Indeed, to recall such a time, you’d have to be pushing 120 now. Today, stainless steel is more popular than ever, and yet you wouldn’t necessarily know it, unless it were your stock in trade. Stainless steel isn’t the sort of material to attract paparazzi and screaming fans wherever it goes; it’s more modest than that. Steel’s not as smooth an operator as Teflon; nor is it as shallow and see-through as Cellophane. No, stainless steel is made of sterner stuff: it’s durable, lustrous, easily cleanable and fully recyclable. In today’s sensationalist society however, steel is not the stuff that headlines and front pages are made of. That’s fine though, for steel is happy to quietly get on with performing the unsung stuff in the background; in footballing terms, it’s more of a Darren Fletcher than a Wayne Rooney. Thanks to steel’s tireless work ethic however, it is an essential part of any successful team.

Given that stainless steel was discovered almost a hundred years ago, it is not surprising that the fanfare surrounding it has long since died down. Nevertheless, in recent years it has been experiencing a new lease of life; where once it was practical but not stylish – a cosy jumper rather than a trendy sweater – now it is seen as fulfilling both roles with aplomb; a cosy jumper-cum-trendy sweater if you will. In other words, stainless steel is being utilised as much for its aesthetic benefits as it is for its robustness. This new wave of stainless steel manufacture has seen this alloy/chromium dream team being deployed as kitchen utensils, worktops, splashbacks and sinks within the home.

Stainless Steel Kitchens – a professional look in the home…

For all its adaptability and sultry good looks, it is still uncommon to see a domestic kitchen fitted with this flexible metal throughout. Most householders prefer to break up all those refulgent steel cupboards with a dash of marble across the worktops, or Formica if funds are tight. Formica, incidentally, was discovered in 1912, the same year that stainless steel was brought kicking and screaming into the world. Sadly though, its arrival that year was to be overshadowed by the demise of a far mightier steel beast: the Titanic. If you’re going to launch a new product, try to schedule it so it doesn’t coincide with a major humanitarian disaster; otherwise your message could get lost in the mix.

Some householders may be dissuaded from fitting metal in their kitchen for financial reasons; while cost-effective in the long term, it can’t hope to compete with the cheap fix of plastic laminate. The less narcissistic may also have no desire to see themselves reflected on every surface when sneaking through to raid the fridge in the middle of the night.

The kitchen sink is normally a metaphor to signify nothing being left out. In a domestic kitchen, this truly proves to be the case: it’s possible to have everything formed out of stainless steel – including the kitchen sink. If you’ve gone to the trouble of making your kitchen a gleaming palace of cool metal, it seems churlish not to slot in a stainless steel sink to finish the whole thing off. In certain domestic settings however, it’s not uncommon for a partner to be nagged into settling for a faux granite finish that matches the cheap curtains. There really is no accounting for taste.

Stainless steel sink – the most customizable option…

Of course, there is another, more obvious reason why many homeowners choose to fit a stainless steel sink: because of its customisability. Such an adaptable material; it can be cut and manipulated into almost any shape. You want a kitchen sink large enough to gut an entire tuna fish? With steel, you got it. Similarly, if you want your basin to undulate or to accommodate a triple inset, it’s possible to get a bespoke kitchen sink made to your requirements. Try getting yourself a custom-made marble sink and you’ll need to take out a mortgage to pay for it and a crane to fit it.

Steel is de rigueur within the world of kitchen design these days; not only has it sauntered in and made itself at home, but it’s helped itself to all the leftover trifle. Design shows and concept homes that grace the media are bursting with stainless steel splashbacks, sinks and worktops for as far as the eye can see. Of course, you don’t need to be planning a futuristic eco-home in order to reap the benefits bestowed by steel; even if you’re simply replacing the bog-standard sink that came with your kitchen, steel is a worthy upgrade. Nothing says ‘Look at me, I’m shiny and new!’ like a spanking new steel sink. Its message doesn’t diminish either; when treated to the occasional wipe down with the trusted touch of a soapy cloth, it comes up lustrous and full of the joys of life once again. While some will agonise over every aspect of their kitchen, from the sugar spoons to the steel corner sink, others are less fussy; they just want it to be durable and easy to clean. Thankfully, steel doesn’t disappoint. It may be a jack of all trades, but it’s a master of most.

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