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.
- With daily bathing becoming more accepted by the 1880s, many attempted to develop innovative ways to heat bath water and to incorporate the portable bathtub within a room setting. The Mosely Folding Bath Company advertised a folding bath in the 1895 Montgomery Ward Catalog. This tub, disguised as a mirrored wardrobe, folded down and out of its wood casing into the room, revealing the heater above.
- This was similar to Bruschke & Ricke’s combined sofa and bathtub of the same period. The sofa’s bolster concealed a water tank and heater, while the seat unfolded to reveal a bathtub. Often, large rubber aprons protected the wood or carpeted floor. Accounts of igniting sofas and burned bathers dampened the product’s appeal. Since neither bathtub attached to plumbing nor pipes, used bath water drained into a basin and then required emptying.
- For more information on bathing and bathtubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, please see the introduction to this online exhibition.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Mosely Folding Bath Co.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center