1860 - 1880 Child's Bathtub

This tub is similar in shape and size to those advertised for a child’s use in the 1869 Dover Stamping Company’s catalog. Mid to later–19th century advice books encouraged more frequent bathing for children.
Julia McNair Wright’s 1879 Complete Home: An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Life and Affairs recommended “If you want your child to be vigorous in play and exercise, give it an abundance of baths: bathe it every day, using warm or cold water—never hot, never freezing, but warm or cold water as best agrees with your child’s constitution.”* Parents likely bathed their children in the kitchen near the warmth of the fire and near a ready source of heated water. The Saturday night bath became a ritual in many households.
For more information on bathing and bathtubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, please see the introduction to this online exhibition.
*Julia McNair Wright, Complete Home: An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Life and Affairs, (Philadelphia, Pa.: J. C. McCurdy & Co., [1879]), 136.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tub, bath
date made
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
iron (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 31.5 cm x 87.5 cm x 60.5 cm; 12 3/8 in x 34 7/16 in x 23 13/16 in
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Portable Bathtubs
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Kenneth E. Jewett
Additional Media

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