In 500 B.C., daily bathing was encouraged in Rome, but personal grooming usually took place in public baths. The few who were wealthy enough to afford to own a private bath enjoyed hygiene in a sort of luxurious private pool. Fortunately, today you don’t have to be a Roman emperor to enjoy relaxing in a bathtub.
Who would have thought, many years after virtually all bathtubs were eliminated and replaced by showers, it is now time to look forward to old bathtubs again. Many are not like the old bathtubs; now, luxury is imposed through materials and designs that reinvent the old tubs’ lines, but if you are lucky enough to find one of the old ones, you can always restore clawfoot tub.
Although the origin of the bathtub dates back to 200 BC, the first free-standing cast iron clawfoot tubs appeared in the 19th century, beginning with the Industrial Revolution.
One of the first companies that marketed these antique bathtubs was the English Kohler Co. and Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co. in 1883. At that time, owning a Victorian bathtub was a sign of high purchasing power, a privilege only for the noble classes.
It was not a simple piece of the bathroom because of its beauty, but it was considered a decorative element of the house. They were made in one piece and were covered with a thick layer of enameled porcelain. Their most striking feature was the turned legs, usually with vegetal motifs in the form of a scroll, claw, or animal head.
In the middle of the 20th century, the foundries stopped manufacturing this type of bathtub with the new materials because it was no longer profitable to market them. Different kinds of more economical and lighter pieces by the design of the ’50s were imposed. Thus the first integrated bathtubs appeared.
Nowadays, with the return of the retro style, they have become very sought-after pieces among designers. Due to their curvy shape and sophisticated character, they are the protagonist of many types. An original bathtub of these characteristics is difficult to obtain since we go back to pieces that are more than 100 years old, which makes restore clawfoot tub works very sought after.
So if you have a, let’s say, large bathroom, you will surely love to enjoy a warm bath, with mineral salts, a couple of incense, music that transports you to a beautiful place, and a glass of delicious wine, all this while you are immersed in an antique bathtub. A vintage-style bathroom with soaring ceilings, subway tiled walls, and an excellent hydraulic floor, of anyone’s dream come true.
Nowadays, you can find in the market countless models made of other materials such as acrylics, resins, or fiberglass and inspired by this type of antique bathtub. Some of them respect the original design, and others are more daring and elegant avant-garde made of cast iron and with aluminum legs. You can also find great copper bathtubs from English firms, but they can be costly.
The industrial style also takes over the bathtubs, with exposed rivets and different finishes for the exterior and interior: matte gray and white porcelain. Choose your favorite and let yourself be carried away by the calm that a magnificent bath can give you.