Today’s post is about a utilitarian piece of furniture, a bucket bench, that was passed down to me. And, a bit of history on this early 1800’s piece.
In my home I have a few antique pieces. Nothing of great value, but they do have a lot of sentimental value. Most are family pieces from my grandparents or other relatives. One of my favorites is this bucket bench!
This piece is very primitive and made of pine. I was told that it was a water table or water bench. After some research, I found that a water table or water bench looks more like this.
Water tables, like the one above, were also mostly found in Pennsylvania in the1800’s, They had shelves and drawers to hold soaps and towels.
history of the Bucket Bench?
Then, I stumbled upon the term bucket bench. A bucket bench looks more like what I have – more primitive and utilitarian. Below are a few pictures I found online. Bucket benches were also found primarily in the early 1800’s in Pennsylvania.
Back in the years before running water or indoor plumbing, the lady of the house would have a bench sitting at arms length right outside the door of the summer kitchen. On top of this bench would be 2 buckets full of water. The man of the house, while passing back and forth from his daily chores, would fill any empty buckets. Thus the term, bucket bench.
I do remember a hand pump outside my grandparents’ house, so this makes sense. And, this bucket bench was in a place where there was easy access to the outside water pump. When my grandmother died, my mother and her siblings went through the house and chose things they wanted as keepsakes. My mother chose two pieces that I now have in my home – this piece and the corner cupboard in my dining room. Both are very primitive and made of pine and both were painted in my grandparent’s home. My parents had them stripped of their original paint. But, pine wood, over time; has a tendency to orange. And, by the time I acquired them, the wood was definitely orange. But, the wood also seemed to be very dry. Here’s a look at the bucket bench in the raw wood state – back when I had yellow walls!!! Yikes!!!
Why I painted the Bucket Bench
Because the wood was so dry, I painted both the corner cupboard and the bucket bench. The bucket bench is painted with Maison Blanche French Lime Paint in the shade Garconniere. If you want to learn more about French Lime Paint, see THIS post. Currently, this piece is in our downstairs family room. But, I’m still working on that space, so I had Mark bring it upstairs for me to photograph! In the photo below, you can see some of the amazing character in this piece.
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This makes sense. To have a bucket bench. My family lived in the middle of the USA and there was no electricity in that part of the country until 1950!! So no running water (we don’t think about how electricity allowed for pumps to pump the water,). The homes, schools and churches had no running water nor electricity and so think how hard it would be to do daily chores like dishes and mopping. What thankfulness I feel for running water and lights and electric fans! Plus all the other.
Your two heirloom pieces are very special.
Monday 5th of August 2019
Wow, I've never heard of a bucket bench but adore yours. Hope I find one someday! I love that you painted it. It has so much great character!
Monday 5th of August 2019
I love this piece of furniture. And, I love the history behind it. You definitely have an eye for making furniture/decor come to life. Thank you for sharing.