Every household needs a humble handy helper named Susan

One thing after another, after another…….

As a pre-teen I was hoping to solve exciting mysteries just like Nancy Drew. My mom had kept all of the original hard cover collection and read them herself as a teenager. I was fascinated by this teenage sleuth and read the whole series like there was no tomorrow.  One electrifying story after another.

Now….there is one domestic mystery I want to get to the bottom of and no one seems to have an answer – the case of the Lazy Susan!  


Logic dictates that some time long ago, a sloth named Susan inspired an entire galaxy of twirling servers. Who was she and why did she invent these turntable trays that link her forever with an insulting adjective?

It’s a great mystery,” says Sarah Coffin, head of the product design and decorative arts department at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. “I have no idea who first came up with Lazy Susans, although I’ve wondered.”

Keep all your condiments together for easy access.  Looks like I can use one more.

Oh great – still no clues!  So to the best of our knowledge the ‘Lazy Susan‘ as we know it was originally referred to as dumbwaiters, a term today applied to a small elevator for transporting food.  It may have become popular at a time when household servants were in declining supply. In the absence of maids or footmen to refill wine goblets and deliver condiments, diners were forced to reach across the table or interrupt conversation with “pass the crumpets and clotted cream please.” The Lazy Susan helped to solve that problem.

Henry Ford, the car company founder, loved camping out with friends but thought it unseemly to truck his full contingent of servants to the wilderness. Instead, he transported a 9-foot diameter dining table with an immense Lazy Susan mounted on top, so guests could serve themselves. Photos of his 1920s outings, and the table itself, are in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

The Lazy Susan is now commonly used in many Chinese restaurants among other places to facilitate dishes being shared communally.  Yet no matter how long or how hard the Lazy Susan works, people rarely notice. They’re more interested in what’s on it.

This on fridge top shelf makes it easier to access jams & spreads.  No reaching behind.

How many do you own and how often do you use your LS?

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