For many of us, basins perfectly complement our bathroom suites. An essential bathroom fixture, basins come in various shapes and sizes. What's more, many basins can be found in a fabulous range of colours!
In the world of bathrooms, we tend to refer to them as basins, with the word sinks being used primarily in kitchens. But have you ever wondered when basins were invented and how much they've adapted over the years?
Here, The Bathroom Showroom continues with its short informative series. Every month we look into the origins of many of our bathroom fixtures. This month it’s all about the fascinating evolution of the basin.

The History of Basins

The Term ‘Basin’ Is Derived From Latin

Firstly, the word basin comes from the Latin word baccinum, meaning a wide bowl. However, it’s believed that the old French word of bacin was preferred in Middle English. During this period it was then changed slightly to basyn

The Basin Can Trace Its Origins to Ancient Times

In prehistoric times when public baths were popular with locals, the idea of a basin came to life. Reports suggest that Ancient Greece was the first creator of the make-do basin. Yet, it wasn't until the invention was accessed in Ancient Roman bath houses that it became a regular fixture.
The Ancient Romans liked to dot bowls around their bathhouses. They would then encourage all visitors to use them when washing their hands and face. 
In ancient times, those mere commoners made use of lead bowls. Yet, for those with money, their bowls were created using elaborate stone.

The Evolution of the Basin Remained Quiet Until the 16th Century 

Unlike other ancient inventions, the basin remained pretty much inconspicuous until the 16th century. By then, the only advancement worth noting was the addition of the lavabo. 
A lavabo was a large basin or trough, made using stone that was situated outside places of religion. Hence, all visitors were encouraged to wash their hands before entering a place of worship.
Yet, bathhouses were still a main means of washing. But, so too were canals and rivers for those that couldn't afford their own bowl in the home!

The Washstand Gains Popularity

But, change arrived in the 16th century in the form of washstands. For those wealthy enough a wooden washstand was a popular basin choice. This used a combination of a bowl and iron pitcher for washing the hands and face. 
Even those who couldn't afford such lavish fixtures saw the benefit of having a make-do set up in the home. So, those with less money made do with a bowl and pitcher.
Yet, it took until the 1800s and 1900s for basin designs and indeed washstands to be elaborated on and made accessible to more people.

The Popularity of Complete Bathroom Suites Saw a Surge in Basins 

Only when bathrooms were seen as necessities as opposed to luxuries did habits and opinions change. The creation of the basin then began to receive its due respect as a permanent fixture. 
More people began to see the practicality of having a basin in the same room as the lavatory. Ultimately, the reputation of the bathroom basin began to rise. This was made all the more significant after the second world war. More people began installing bathrooms inside the home, meaning basins became more revered. 

Current Day Basin Choices Are Stunning

Though the original concept of the basin has been kept, the design has evolved to create a more practical, smaller and better looking version than seen in ancient times! 
Fast forward to the 21st century and homeowners are now spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a basin. 
From countertop basins to cloakroom basins, there is a basin type to suit all bathroom styles. This is one bathroom fixture that takes centre stage for many. Basins are regularly used as a focal piece for the vanity area or as the main statement part of the bathroom. 
If you’re considering a new basin, book an appointment with The Bathroom Showroom. Experts in all things bathrooms, we can help turn your dream bathroom into a reality.