Tiny drawer in my grandma’s 100 year old house! What was it used for?

A questioner said:
Tiny drawer in my grandma’s 100 year old house! What was it used for?

r/whatisthisthing – Slot is about an inch and a half wide, 3 inches deep, and 2 and a half feet long.
Slot is about an inch and a half wide, 3 inches deep, and 2 and a half feet long.


Some of the asnwers:

  1. I’d imagine it’s for spices
  2. any chance it is just a pull out base for a chopping board that would be stored elsewhere, and which had a board along the bottom which would drop into the slot?
  3. A 100 year old house doesn’t have room for a dishwasher. These have been cleverly modified to look original to accommodate the installation without ruining the classic look. Those are solid wood built, you can sand and refinish a hundred more times and they will still be worth the effort.
  4. Agreed. Look at the construction of the small drawer – 2″x4″ side rails and screws to fasten the front. Not typical 100-year old construction at all. These two narrow cabinets are what is left of the original cabinet after cutting it down to accommodate the dish washer. The fronts on what is left match the original cabinetry but the small cabinets are not truly functional.
  5. Possibly just using all available space for storage. I have a similar ( wider )drawer and tall narrow cupboard underneath right beside my stove, I use the drawer for knives and cupboard for baking sheets.Edit to add, the looks extremely narrow though, can you even fit a hand in? Likely not! So I’m interested if it does actually have a special purpose or if it’s just using up the space!
  6. It’s definitely not wide enough to fit your hand in to grab anything.
  7. With women’s hands as well? If it’s from a 100 year old house the kitchen might not be designed as gender inclusive.-signed someone who can easily reach into a Pringles can
  8. Could it be for hanging pasta?
  9. That’s a good guess but I’d imagine a pasta rack wouldn’t have a bottom to the drawer
  10. You can hang wet cloths over it when it’s extended as shown in the picture, so they can dry. I think that is the original purpose…
  11. I wonder if they used it to make extra counter top space? Like a large chopping board with a piece of timber attached that fits in the slot. Would be handy if they were prepping large amounts of food in a small kitchen
  12. They used to outfit older homes with as many drawers and cupboards as could be made for the kitchen. I believe this drawer was probably used to house either a carving knife or bread knife. These everyday essentials were precious and dangerous and often given their own special location. This helped keep little hands safe and the knife in good condition.
  13. The slot isn’t wide enough to grab the handle of a knife. It’s just wide enough for the handle.
  14. I know someone who had cabinets installed and they installed both a narrow drawer and cupboard like this – because they could so why not. One of them puts chopping boards in the cabinets and I’m not sure they use the drawer. I would guess it wasn’t necessarily installed for a specific purpose.
  15. Perhaps, at one time, there was a wood burning oven in the kitchen. Maybe this drawer held a tool or something related to that? I don’t know, I’m just guessing.
  16. I wondered whether it might hold whetstones or polishing stones. Or perhaps a support for a flip-down ironing board or supplemental food prep surface. Or maybe it held further arms for airing socks.
  17. Hmmm maybe a recipe paper holder? Seems something super grandma like that they would put in a house back then haha
  18. It has to be for spices. Spice bottles now are consistent diameter top to bottom. 100 years ago they probably used those bottles with a wider body, narrower neck and a cork for a stopper. You could reach your fingers in and grab those pretty easily. Although they may not have had much in the way of spices either. It’s baffling.
  19. So looking at the size and shape, I wonder if it was used to hold sponges? It appears to my untrained eye to possibly show signs of water damage, which would show up after years and years of use, but I can’t seem to find any evidence to support my theory currently.
  20. Hmmm. I know kitchens aren’t USUALLY a place where you keep your mail, but it looks about the size an envelope would fit in.Is it possible it might have been used for recipe cards of some sort
  21. It reminds me of a sponge drawer. Is it by the sink?

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