Portable Bathtubs: Tub Bathing from the Early 19th and 20th Centuries
Bathing, from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries, required stamina and fortitude. Without indoor plumbing, bathing involved filling small portable tubs with water, bucket by bucket. This, as well as different attitudes about cleanliness, meant that few people fully immersed themselves in water.
"Portable Bathtubs: Tub Bathing from the Early 19th and 20th Centuries - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- According to 19th–century physician John Bell, pains of the head, teeth and eyes would yield to the foot bath.* Cold water and constant rubbing of the feet while in the bath helped to dispel illnesses as well. The Boston–based Dover Stamping Company's catalog of tinwares advertised foot tubs that matched toilet wares such as toilet jars, carriers, and pails.
- The tubs came in extra finish, gold band, paneled (painted decoration with flowers, grape leaves, or cherries), plain, or marbleized painted oak or walnut. This brass and tin foot bath with decorative handles of bearded faces and a reeded edge was more elaborate than any of those advertised.
- For more information on bathing and bathtubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, please see the introduction to this online exhibition.
- *John Bell, A Treatise on Baths, (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1859): 298.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- 1840 - 1880
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center