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Q: Detailed history of the Lazy Susan ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Detailed history of the Lazy Susan
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: silentsalamander-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 20 Jul 2003 05:00 PDT
Expires: 19 Aug 2003 05:00 PDT
Question ID: 232987
I'm looking for a detailed history of the Lazy Susan, also called
Turntable( for some
images), including:

1) What is the origin of the term "lazy susan"?
2) When did the lazy susan start getting popular?
3) What cultures use/have used the lazy susan?
4) What materials have been used for lazy susans?
5) How is the lazy susan used (e.g. what foods are traditionally put
on one, etc.)
6) Any other interesting facts about the history of the lazy susan.

Thank you.
Subject: Re: Detailed history of the Lazy Susan
Answered By: techtor-ga on 20 Jul 2003 09:32 PDT
Greetings Silentsalamander,
I have looked around the Net and have searched for information on lazy
susans. I haven't gathered much to completely answer your questions,
but I hope the information I give here is helpful:

1) Origin and history of the Lazy Susan:

Jewish World Review - Insight questions

Previous Columns/Posted 07/29/99 - look for "Whirling Domestics" on
page for origin of "Lazy Susan" word

In summary, the device has been around since the 1700s (its invention
is attributed to Thomas Jefferson), and was called a "dumbwaiter"
then. The actual origin isn't traceable, but it is theorized that
servants were called "Susans" around the 1800s and the revolving
tables were made to as a replacement for a "Lazy Susan" or maid who
didn't want to work. Or a certain lazy maid named Susan became the
reason for her boss's using one such turntable in her absence.
"Dumbwaiter" is now the term for a kind of elevator. - Trivia

IPL POTUS -- Thomas Jefferson

- These two pages attribute the invention of the Lazy Susan to Thomas
Jefferson, though the term was not used for it at that time.

2) I could find nothing on the Internet saying when the lazy susan
became "popular". I could only mention the Vanity Fair ad that
appeared in 1917 (mentioned in a webpage above), which was the first
written appearance of the term. Probably around that time, the term
had been already applied to the turntable.

3) Again I could find nothing on the countries, though I think the use
is widespread in any country with major cities. I have seen it in some
Chinese restaurants. Today, a host of lazy susan products can be found
in almost any country.

4) Your example is made of wood. Various materials have been used for
Lazy Susans; plastic, metal, ceramic, glass and anything else you
could make hard table utensils out of. I'll post links to some other
examples below:

Retro Mosaic Lazy Susan 70's Style - Acme General Store & Dry Goods
(A-117) - ivory and tiles

Corian stone lazy susan

5) I personally have seen various uses for lazy susans. Basically any
food can be put on it, there is no universally fixed rule or tradition
on what to put on it. It probably depends on the size of the lazy
susan. I've been to a house with a round dinner table and a Lazy Susan
in the middle bears the served food for the diners (the diners' own
plates aren't placed on them of course). Most microwave ovens now use
slow Lazy Susans inside to ensure evenly cooked food. Lazy susan style
containers, jar holders, trays, table tool holders, pen holders, and
others. Some waiters' food carts have lazy susans so that the waiters
don't need to go all around the cart to get the food. If you mean just
the flat lazy susan used as a table, I suppose it is just used mainly
for bearing cooked food, but I suspect Thomas Jefferson intended it
for use in any area of application other than food.

I have found no more interesting facts I can add for 6).

Google search string used:
"lazy susan" origin
"lazy susan" history
antique "lazy susan" 
"lazy susan" trivia
"lazy susan" + name of material (like ivory, gold and glass)

I hope this has been a most helpful answer. If you have any problem
with it, do please post a Request for Clarification and I shall
respond as soon as I can. Thank you.
There are no comments at this time.

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