1840 - 1846 Hat Bathtub

The tub takes its name from its form in the shape of a hat. The patient sat either on the bath’s ledge or on a chair outside the tub with his or her feet and legs in the center of the basin. The Dover Stamping Company, a tinware firm in Boston, Massachusetts, listed this form as such in their 1869 catalog. The spout for emptying the bath water is beneath the ledge.
We know of Nathaniel Waterman, the tub’s maker, through his membership in the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association and his listings in the Boston City Directories at 85 Cornhill Street from 1842 to 1846. He learned the tinsmith trade at a young age and his firm, the Waterman Kitchen and House Furnishing Wareroom, existed in Boston for over forty years. According to accounts, his store was a “veritable museum of all conceivable household necessities and conveniences.”*
For more information on bathing and bathtubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, please see the introduction to this online exhibition.
*Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Annals of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, 1795–1892. (Boston: Press of Rockwell and Churchill, 1892): p. 100.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tub, bath
date made
1840 - 1846
Waterman, Nathaniel
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 8 3/4 in x 40 1/2 in x 37 1/4 in; 22.225 cm x 102.87 cm x 94.615 cm
overall: 9 1/2 in x 40 in x 37 1/2 in; 24.13 cm x 101.6 cm x 95.25 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Family & Social Life
Domestic Furnishings
Portable Bathtubs
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Miss Susanne Swift
Additional Media

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