Plaster sinks may not be the first image you think of when you picture an operating theatre or hospital ward; you'll more likely envisage a scrub-bedecked surgeon, scalpel in hand, deftly operating on the patient while chatting up a coterie of admiring nurses. Nevertheless, stainless steel plaster sinks play an important role in many hospitals' key domains. Designed primarily to assist in the soaking and preparation of casting materials, as well as in a plethora of healthcare processes that necessitate the running of a tap, plaster sinks are given pride of place in hospital wards up and down the country.
While not as vital as the life-saving equipment that graces the operating theatre - like bedpans and scrub troughs - they do their bit, preventing waste from clogging up the drainage system and ensuring that rigorous hygiene standards are adhered to.
The humble kitchen sink is a utility we all take for granted, of course; that faithful outpost where we can wash our hands, clean the dishes or pour a glass of water. In spite of its ubiquity and long years of service, most of us barely register the presence of our kitchen sink - even when we're using it to wash the potatoes. A sink, even if shines like Orion's belt - is not going to provoke a second glance. Good god, even a fabricated-to-order plaster sink with a generously deep bowl, anti-drip edge, cantilevered brackets, tailored overflow hole and chrome plug will not compel us to brandish our smartphones and Tweet about its beauty. No matter how sensual your sink, there's no cause for turning it into sink porn - for to do so could induce sink envy in your neighbours and indeed all who gaze upon its shapely form.
Few house-hunters are coerced into buying a property on the basis of a kitchen sink, whether it is made from high-quality 304 grade stainless steel, whether it is marble, dolomite or 24-carat gold. Most of us care more about the number of bathrooms the property has; its council tax band; its proximity to schools and shops; we care about everything bar the kitchen sink.
And yet it is the kitchen sink we find ourselves returning to time and again: plants need attention? A watering can is filled. Dog worked up a thirst? A bowl is topped up. Fruit and veg need a scrub? Burned your finger on the stove? (Yes, the scenarios are endless.) Whether you have a plaster sink or a marble one, it will assuredly respond to your demands without the sort of fanfare preferred by flashier household utilities (the microwave, with its ta-dah! beep, the washing machine with its grunts and moans). Without a doubt, sinks are the unsung heroes of kitchens the world over.
When it comes to plaster sinks, the question is: do you want a plaster sink? Or rather, do you need a plaster sink? And the choice of verb is important here; because we need sinks, don't we? We don't choose to have them. We depend upon them being in our kitchens and bathrooms, but rarely because of our aesthetic proclivities. We simply appreciate that they are required, as beds are in bedrooms, and as baths are in bathrooms. The question, then, becomes: what do you gain out of owning a plaster sink as opposed to a regular stainless steel sink?
If you cook regularly, rinsing vegetables and dishes under a gushing tap, you'll undoubtedly have to deal with the unwanted burden of accumulated foodstuffs disappearing down your sink over a period of time. For this reason, many restaurateurs elect for plaster sinks to be fitted in their establishments.
While primarily used in the healthcare industry, a stainless steel plaster sink doesn't distinguish between whether you're a surgeon or a chef; it won't combust if it doesn't get splattered with waste on a daily basis. Its function, purely and simply, is to ensure that high standards of hygiene are maintained (contamination being a serious risk in hospitals, in particular), to provide an easy-to-clean surface and to restrict blockages from occurring. Which, when it comes right down to it, is all you could really ask of any sink.
Plaster sinks are readily available in a range of sizes and permutations; some models comprise a dedicated bowl with integral sump, with the added bonus of a removable, perforated strainer basket. The strainer is ergonomically-manufactured to halt and trap the crusade of loose plaster solids and other small forms of waste. Typically made out of 304-grade stainless steel, plaster sinks can be made to order in virtually and size and shape, making them suitable for a range of applications.