Ceramic sinks have been in use since the 1800s. During that time, each "major city had a sanitation officer autonomously responsible for the ordering of pipes, basins, sinks, and decreeing sizes, styles etc." Due to this, the style of sink varied from region to region. Three major ceramic sink styles emerged: the Belfast sink, the French farmhouse sink, and commercial fire clay sinks introduced post 1920.
The Belfast sink was deeper than those found in London in the 1800s, and had an overflow due to the plenitude of water. To create the sinks, clay and water are mixed together, then poured into a two-piece mould made of plaster. Once hardened enough, the mould is opened and the clay sink is removed. While still wet, the sink is scrubbed and smoothed, then taken to a greenhouse where it is allowed to dry slowly. Once the sink is dried completely, white vitreous china is hand-brushed on the sink, then sprayed with a mixture of ground glass, cellulose binder and water. The sinks are fired at 1300 degrees F in a kiln. These sinks are still made today using a similar process and are available at building supply stores, stores that sell plumbing and kitchen supplies or online.
The French farmhouse sink was created by Emile and Andre Porcher in France near the close of the 1800s. The sink featured clay from the Revin area in Northern France. This clay was more refined than the clay used to make the Belfast clay, which allowed the sink to be moulded into finer shapes. The method of making the sink was nearly the same as those for the Belfast sink. These sinks are also made today and are available at building supply stores, plumbing supply stores as well as online.
The commercial ceramic sink is thicker than the above sinks. As described in the Shaws of Darwin site, these sinks are a "heavy duty product designed specifically for commercial applications such as schools, hotels, leisure, public buildings and laboratories." The commercial sink can be single or double sinks. These sinks are available at building supply stores and plumbing supply stores.