The history of the Lazy Susan

No doubt you've heard the term "Lazy Susan" in shopping for new kitchen cabinets. Have you ever wondered how this popular cabinet feature came to be, or how they picked the name?

American Origins

It is popular belief that Thomas Jefferson brought the concept of the "dumb waiter" to the United States after a trip to France. These first concepts of the Lazy Susan were serving trays on wheels. One guest of this president later recalled, “By each individual was placed a dumbwaiter, containing everything necessary for the progress of dinner from beginning to end.”

Another thought is that the turntable was introduced by Thomas Edison. Hardly a surprise considering he introduced many useful inventions to the United States.

"Lazy Susan" Becomes A Household Name

After years of proving a useful household item,Webster's Dictionary finally added the Lazy Susan  in 1933. Though we can trace the origins of the invention back, the origins of the name itself remains a mystery to this day.

The name was first seen in a Vanity Fair advertisement in 1917. The Lazy Susan flourished at the time as a result of WWI. Many housewives at the time were seeking solutions to the shortage of servants.

The first official model was manufactured by a company called Ovington. Customers could buy their Lazy Susan for a whopping $8.50 ($176.91 in today's money). It was marketed as “an impossibly low wage" for a "good servant". Scottish carpenter John B. Laurie was called the “resuscitator of ‘lazy susan’” in a piece that said, “‘Lazy Susan’ is a step toward solving the ever-vexing servant problem. She can be seen, but not heard, nor can she hear, she simply minds her business and carries out your orders in a jiffy.”

Julianna Flanders