1849 - 1860 Sitz Bath


The hip bathtub is similar to the sitz bath and the terms are often used interchangeably. In 1859 Bell notes that the “ . . . hip bath has of late acquired vogue, as part of the water cure, and by some superficial readers, it is looked upon as a novelty.”* Bell may be suggesting that people are now actually enjoying the amenities of the bath, rather than viewing it as merely healthful.

Warm or tepid hip baths were encouraged for the elderly. Their skin was protected from the heat of the tin by “linen damask, thick bird’s eye diaper, or white huckaback” towels that lined the interior of the tub. In her 1845 Manual on Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie frowned on cotton towels, which “are not used by persons of genteel habits.”** Bathing experts recommended vigorous toweling after the bath to promote blood circulation and to remove dry skin.

Though this tub is a cream color, many tinware catalogs advertised hip baths in brown or green with a marbled interior.

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): 207.

**Eliza Leslie, The House Book; or, A Manual of Domestic Economy. For Town and Country, (Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1845), 302.

Date Made: 1840 - 1860

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: World

Used: BathingReferenced: Portable Bathtubs


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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Kenneth E. Jewett

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.238049.0097Catalog Number: 238049.0097238049.0097Accession Number: 238049

Object Name: Tub, Bathtub, bath

Physical Description: tin (overall material)iron (overall material)paint (overall material)Measurements: overall: 28 5/8 in x 29 3/8 in x 24 in; 72.7075 cm x 74.6125 cm x 60.96 cmoverall: 28 in x 29 in x 28 1/4 in; 71.12 cm x 73.66 cm x 71.755 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a4-f59f-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_678376

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