Fun FactsLifestyle

Where did the Lazy Susan Get Its Name?

This innovative, spinning table is affectionately called a Lazy Susan, but the actual reason behind the name is unknown.  This turntable is perfect for those who are “lazy” or simply those that want to be efficient.

Continue reading this article to find out the history of Lazy Susans and how useful it can be.

Let’s go.

What is a Lazy Susan?

Lazy Susans are turntables, which make distributing food easy.  They can be made from several different materials, including glass, wood, or plastic.  This unique setup allows a table of patrons to share dishes amongst one another.


According to a great many Americans, the idea for a Lazy Susan came from Thomas Jefferson.  He had a daughter who grew impatient waiting for the food platters to be passed around.  Thus, the Lazy Susan was born.  This kind of legend about the third president of the United States certainly makes a good backstory, but there is one problem.  Thomas Jefferson never had a daughter named or called “Susan.”  Sometimes the inventor Thomas Edison also joins this list.  Like Thomas Jefferson, Edison did not have a daughter named Susan, though.

Elizabeth Howell filed a pattern for a self-waiting table in 1891, which became the design model for most Lazy Susans during the twentieth century.  Over the early part of this century, Lazy Susans were mentioned as common devices.  A 1916 cookbook made a point to talk about how German Housewives favored Lazy Susans.  Additionally, a 1917 Vanity Fair advertisement marketed it as a small price upfront for a lifetime servent with the Lazy Susan being the best waitress in the world.

The popularity of Lazy Susans soared in the 1950s through 1960s.  Their popularity then saw a decline amongst typical American households.  They are still widely used in Chinese and Chinese-American homes and restaurants, though.

Modern uses of Lazy Susans

Lazy Susans can come in many different sizes.  This allows them to be useful in different scenarios.  For instance, they can fit perfectly in a cupboard for use out of sight.  Despite being in the twenty-first century, there are many ways you can find a Lazy Susan helpful.

Spice Cabinets

Rather than sorting through a sea of spices, you can simply twirl your lazy Susan and locate the one that you want

Baking Supplies

This will place all these supplies in one convenient location.  You will be able to find what you need easily, even if the container is smaller, such as with sprinkles.

Arts and Crafts

Use easy access containers on a Lazy Susan to keep your stuff easily accessible and organized.  No more errant pompoms and pipe cleaners.

Condiments in the Refrigerator

What better way to find your favorite barbeque sauce than simply giving your Lazy Susan a spin?


While it may not come from a person named Susan, Lazy Susans have a storied history in the United States.  They can still prove useful today.  Looking at the list above, perhaps you can find a way to use your Lazy Susan.

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