What Is the Origin of the Term Lazy Susan?


The term Lazy Susan generally refers to two different types of kitchen items: a round, revolving tray used on a tabletop; or a corner cabinet that houses circular, rotating shelves. Both pieces are designed to provide easy access to items placed either on a table or inside a cabinet.


  • The term Lazy Susan originates in the fact that, during the 1700s, servants were often named Susan.

First Written Use

  • The term Lazy Susan first appeared in writing in a 1917 issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine that featured an advertisement for a Revolving Server or Lazy Susan.


  • It's not known who invented the original Lazy Susan, although some theories attribute its creation to either Thomas Jefferson (who had a daughter named Susan) or Thomas Edison. No concrete evidence exists to support these claims.

Alternate Term

  • Prior to the mid-1900s, Lazy Susan-type trays were called dumb waiters, a term that usually refers to a small elevator for carrying items, especially food and dishes, between the floors of a building.

Other Uses

  • Lazy Susan can refer to any type of hand-rotated platform such as a TV platform or rotating spice rack. The United States military uses the term Lazy Susan to describe weapons turntables.

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