1880 - 1900 The Closet Folding Bathtub


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.

Date Made: 1880-1900

Manufacturer: Mosely Folding Bath Co.

Place Made: United States: Illinois, Chicago

Used: BathingReferenced: Portable Bathtubs


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Bathtubs, Family & Social Life, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Mechanization Takes Command, a Contribution to Anonymous History

Credit Line: Gift of Crane Co.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1977.1217.13Catalog Number: 1977.1217.13Accession Number: 1977.1217

Object Name: Tub, Bathtub, bath

Physical Description: wood (overall material)iron (overall material)glass (overall material)tin (overall material)Measurements: overall: 24 in x 62 in x 26 in; 60.96 cm x 157.48 cm x 66.04 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ac-68ae-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1341886

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