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Bathing

This discussion on "Bathing" is in the Health Medicine and Hygiene section; Hey Everyone, I know you guys know alot about the Gilded Age so I was ...

      
   
  1. #1
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    Hey Everyone,
    I know you guys know alot about the Gilded Age so I was wondering How often someone in third class took a bath. I made a thread about the baths in third class already but im wondering the amount of times. Also I would like to know about first class people. Even for extra what about second! Thanks All!

    Sahand

  2. #2
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    The mass- produced bath tub did not appear until the 1920's! George Vanderbilt, with his millions was one of the first to have a real luxury bathroom in 1855 and the Newport mansions of 1870-1900 have huge marble tubs like sarcophagi with hot, cold, and salt running water taps. The wash bowl and pitcher was the norm for most, and total immersion baths were rare for the average person, Tin hip baths in front of the fire might be a weekly possibility- usually on Saturday night with the family sharing the bath water! Ben Franklin imported a copper one from France- it was shaped like a shoe and took forever to fill by hand. There was even a certain fear in Victorian times, especially among the poorer classes that stripping down and exposing the body to total immersion might be harmful. Queen Elizabeth I rarely washed- heavy perfumes and powders covered odors.The spa craze in Europe soon made hydrotherapy trendy for the rich. Then the health fads and nutrition gurus like the Kellogg Brothers in America made soaks and therapuetic baths desirable. Harrogate and Bath were prime destinations for water therapies- natural spring water to bathe in and drink-some of it nasty-tasting of sulphur. The wealthy certainly had the hygiene edge with tubs, maids and valets to "draw" the bathwater and the space to devote a room to plumbing and tubbing. Interesting to see that in other cultures, bathing began earlier-especially in the Orient and in Greece where public baths for meditation and purification were popular- now, I am going to have a soak in a bubblebath. Oh- one more thing- Mr. Kohler in 1883 put some claw feet on his steel hog scalder, enamelled the surface and sold it along with his farm equipment catalogue as a bathing trough-smart cookie, Kohler Company is still around and doing fine.

  3. #3
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    For those who have an interest...the Kohler Company has a toilet and bathtub "museum" at its headquarters in Kohler, Wisconsin. All of the company's products are displayed in chronological history on the back wall of he building...a wall known localled (of course) as the "Great Wall of China."

    -- David G. Brown

  4. #4
    John Meeks
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    Shelley made a very good point about the early Victorian aversion to soap and water. The Duke of Wellington claimed to have never bathed, and is reported to have said "..it's sweat, dammit, that keeps a man clean..!"

    I'm not sure how many close friends he had...

    Regards,

    John M

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    Hey Everyone,
    Thanks for the info! So the
    first class only took a bath a week even?
    Ummmm Rose isnt looking all that hot anymore lol. I was thinking atleast on the Titanic they would bath more probably! Tell me what you think!

    thanks, Sahand

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    Oh I think we can rest assured Rose hung out in mansions and stately homes with tubs. The well-heeled who enjoyed the Grand Tour had caught on to the bathing routine, turkish baths, massages and steam rooms. Central heating took long enought to reach the United Kingdom though! So heating that palatial bathroom might have been tricky.

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    Hey Shelley,
    Thanks for the info! Its been a great help!

    Sahand

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    On the subject and off the subject in regards to the Kohler family. Through researching the Titanic I tend to long for a time where one could gaze at people with such grace and charm. In todays society it is rare. However, the Kohlers are one such family. I had the opportunity to meet the Kohlers in Oklahoma City where my horse was competing with theirs and a thousand others. The Kohlers are from a time long since gone. Even their stables, which were merely theirs for a week during the event, were draped in fine decor and displayed their class and elegance.

  9. #9
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    Shelley or anyone else:

    It's been a while since this thread, but I was visiting old threads including others on bathing, but I was wondering if you or anyone could tell me then what Helen Churchill Candee was referring to in her Collier's article about the night of the sinking when she said she had asked the steward to draw her bath, and shortly after the grinding of the iceberg, she was perplexed as to why he had not done so. If no bathtub, what did drawing the bath mean for a first-class passenger such as herself mean? Draw a basin and pitcher full of water? Thanks.

  10. #10
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    No bathtub? There were hundreds of them on Titanic. 3rd Class passengers weren't too well supplied (only two for several hundred people!) but for 1st and 2nd Class there were plenty, though private bathrooms were provided only for the more expensive suites in 1st Class. And there were bathroom stewards to service them. So 'drawing a bath' meant exactly what we'd expect it to mean.

  11. #11
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    I guess I was just led astray by Shelley's old statement that the mass-produced bathtub did not appear til the 1920s. Guess she meant that not everyone had one. Well, that's a relief. Wouldn't want Helen Candee and her peers suffering through sponge-bathing.

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    You might also recall the spectacular views of Capt. Smith's tub seen up close in recent wreck dives. President Taft was so portly a special tub had to be made for him and installed in the White House. Cast iron tubs, for those lucky to have one in the house, were enameled with porcelain around 1883, a great improvement. Kohler and American Standard have actually been around that long and continue to be the biggest American suppliers. I am not too familiar with proper English baths, but I think tub surrounds were the thing in the UK- sometimes beautifully constructed with mahogany paneling. The clawfoots came long before the built-in bathtubs and grouted tile, really appearing in numbers in new construction right after WWI. Statistics confirm that in 1921 only 1% of American homes had indoor plumbing. Like the first Tin Lizzie cars- the tubs came in one color- white. The Crane Company brought out colored tubs and lavatories in 1928. I have to laugh at the prices the new repro Kohler clawfoot tub is going for- with goldplated taps- over $3,000! Toweling, and usually tiled floors were white too, being the color associated with sanitary hygiene right up until post WWII.

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    Shelley, thank you for the bathroom education. I have an antique porcelain cast-iron bathtub(not claw-foot but freestanding and resting on a stand) in my bathroom that came with my house, and let me tell you, they really retain heat. I don't think the real things cost $3,000, but they can be the devil to move into a bathroom--they're kinda heavy. i also pulled the capt. smith bathtub photos--amazing to see again.

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    A couple of pics from advertisements for the Standard Sanitary Mfg Co of Pittsburgh, both dated 1909. Their range of porcelain-enamelled baths and lavatories were 'a revelation in modern bathroom equipment, not only in the added convenience and perfect sanitation they afford, but also in the extraordinarily long life their installation assures'. For the First Class passengers, mark you. The rest don't wash, of course. :-)



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    And here we have the Siwelco noiseless syphon jet water closet, offered by the Trenton Potteries Co of New Jersey in a 1913 ad: 'This appeals particularly to those whose sense of refinement is shocked by the noisy flushing of the old style closet. The Siwelco was designed to prevent such embarassment.'

    For the First Class passengers, mark you. The rest don't care, of course. :-)



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    I'm having a bit of trouble working out exactly what's going on in these pictures, Bob. Is that a shower or an Iron Maiden? And which is the toilet and which is the bidet? Or is it two bidets, his and hers, for those with a particular sense of refinement? And what's happened to that poor girl. Has she fallen between two luxurious porcelain appointments and got stuck?

    I suppose a Siwelco is a silent welcome?

  17. #17
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    Trust you to make things complicated, Mon. The device on the left was very necessary in the best houses, for dealing with visiting tradesmen who needed to be forceably cleansed. I see you're having the same problem as Crocodile Dundee with the other stuff. But he managed to figure it out, and so, in time, will you. The toilet would have been in a separate room or enclosure. The ladies on the far right are arguing about who gets the bathwater first, and the one on the left has won by a knockout.
    .

  18. #18
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    >>I have to laugh at the prices the new repro Kohler clawfoot tub is going for- with goldplated taps- over $3,000! <<

    Then see me at Lowe's for a special order. I can get you a better deal.

    Seriously, Kohler may not be one of the cheapest, but they're renowned for the sheer quality of what they put into just about anything and everything they make from faucets to diesel engines. (And no, I'm not kidding about the engine. The emergency generator where I work has a Kohler engine.)

  19. #19
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    Monica, the hardware in the shower unit forms a semi-circular cage of piping designed to deliver sprays from a variety of heights and angles. Motts Ironworks offered the ultimate patent combination unit: with needle shower, descending douche, liver spray and bidet bath. It was not recommended for use by ladies - 'too bracing'. You have been warned.

  20. #20
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    Monica! No! Don't do it, it's too bracing! Well, don't come crying to me if you get hyperactive.



  21. #21
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    The constabulary will be round shortly to confiscate your hard drive, Bob.

    Liver spray, eh? They did worry about livers then, didn't they (Andrews Liver Salts, Carter's Little Liver Pills)? I never do. Perhaps I should.

  22. #22
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    No worries, Mon - I have friends in high places at the constabulary. This one came from their hard drive.

  23. #23
    Alyson Jones
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    How about the officer's ,How many times a week did they bath?
    When my mum was young in the 1950's,they used to poor one lot of water in the bath tub and the whole family use to share that bath tub if the same water as everybody else in the family.Is that how people bathed in 1912?or maybe it was my granddad trying to keep the water bill down lol.

  24. #24
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    Back then people tended to use a bathtub only when they felt they needed to. So an office worker might take a bath once a week, while a coal miner would use the tub every day after work. As an Atlantic crossing in a fast liner took less than a week, many people on board wouldn't feel any need to take a bath at all during a voyage. That could well include the deck officers, especially the juniors who worked a gruelling schedule and when off watch their greatest need was for sleep.

    Certainly the tradition of a whole family using the same bathwater, with the younger children going in last and all together, was a common practice in working class homes in 1912 and remained so for decades to come.

  25. #25
    Alyson Jones
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    I have to have two showers a day or i can't sleep!or even if i had too share a bath i don't think i can share bath water.
    But i guess back then,they did not know other wise.
    I did heard something why people did not want to take baths much back in those days but i don't really believe it.
    Is this true-People only took a bath when they need too cause back then people thought bathing cause a diease which people die from,thats what i found out,is that what people thought back in 1912?

  26. #26
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    'Personal cleanliness' today can be an obsession of almost neurotic proportions which goes far beyond the demands of health and hygiene. I could argue that the Edwardians had their priorities right! As public health issues, the provision of clean drinking water and hygiene in the handling of food are far more important.

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    I'm sure you'd share bathwater if you had to, Alyson - if there was no alternative. My only stipulation would be that the cleanest person (me, since I'm not a miner or a child rolling around in mud) went first. Makes sense! My bet though, in the days when this was regularly done, is that father went first.

    And the cure for your two showers a day is for you to pay the utility bills - I've noticed that my youngest son, a martyr to modern personal hygiene, is somewhat less keen on squandering power these days, since he has to contribute. If he's in my house, I can hear the electric shower going for ages. I understand that, at his home, his ablutions are much brisker.

    I know the Elizabethans thought too much bathing was bad for the health, but I doubt anyone in 1912 thought so. They would have tried to balance opportunity against necessity, I'd have thought.

  28. #28
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    "Father went first" - of course! Even if he was a miner, because he wouldn't have been working on the family bath day (generally Sunday). As for the unhealthy aspect of bathing, that could have had some validity in winter time in the days before central heating, when being cold and wet at the same time could be dangerous. That's why the tin bath was generally hauled in front of the fireplace in the kitchen or back parlour.

  29. #29
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    The men who loaded the liners with coal sometimes slept in crude sleeping bags until the task was done.

    I'm old enough, and was brought up poor enough, to remember the joys of the old chip heater. One reason for people not being eager for a bath is that it was so much trouble. Read Pygmalion, which was written in Titanic's time, and note Eliza's amazement at how easily the upper classes could have a bath.

    Now we are so keen on being clean that we are possibly harming out immune systems by not exposing them to what my mother used to call 'good, clean dirt'.
    Dave Gittins
    Titanic: Monument and Warning.
    http://titanicebook.com/Book.html

  30. #30
    Alyson Jones
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    Dave i think i no what you mean.That in there day the baths did not have taps join to the bath,and i heard it took some one ages to just fill the bath,is that what you meant!

    Monica,you're son sounds like my bro lol and if i have to share water i probelry choose not to have one, i am so fuzzy when it comes to clean water,but then again you're right if i really had to share bath water,i would do my darndest to get in there first.

    Bob- Most times the father went first alot of times but there was some women that were more dominate then there husbands and the women got the first bath *smart women*

  31. #31
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    You may be right about the immune system damage, Dave. My sister is a medic, and you could do heart surgery on her kitchen floor. Her children get bad colds etc. all the time. My sons, raised in an ambiance of benign neglect - crawling around less-than-pristine floors, trying out the cat food, sleeping with animals, eating earth (to a plaintive and futile maternal call out of the kitchen window - "Don't do that, darling .."}, swimming in murky waters, and generally getting filthy - rarely catch anything. And even if they do, it's very mild really, though they try to make the most of it of course.

  32. #32
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    In towns there was the alternative of the local community baths, where a tub with hot & cold running water could be hired for a small charge. My family in South London in the '30s generally preferred to walk some distance 'to the baths' rather than go through the ritual of taking the tin bath off its hook on the outside wall, dragging it into the kitchen and boiling endless kettles of water to fill it.

    [Moderator's Note: This thread has been moved here from the "Amusements & Diversions" subtopic. MAB]

  33. #33
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    I am constantly amazed at parents I know who simply have to bathe their children every night before bed. We're probably just mucky common folk but it's something we've never done. I much prefer taking them to the local swimming pool, where they can get exercise and a free wash at the same time.

    Like Mon's boys, my children seem to fight off infections better than their peers. So perhaps there is a link after all.

    As for me, I haven't let the demon water touch my skin for nearly 30 years now. Just think what fish do in it!

  34. #34
    Alyson Jones
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    Bob- Do you mean public bathing? We got this place in Melbourne st.klida called St.kilda baths. It was built in 1900 for public bathing use of there time.It's still there today , retouch up though but think it's still being used,on the out side still looks the same.

  35. #35
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    Each of us has more organisms living on and in our bodies than there are people on Earth. And like people some are potentially dangerous, but most are harmless and a few are very useful. Killing them all off at random is therefore not necessarily a good idea.

    Good thinking, then, Paul, if you've not had a bath for 30 years. However, as a good friend might I suggest that it's probably safe to take another one this year? We're all agreed on that. Even your bacteria have signed the petition.

  36. #36
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    Alyson, I was talking about a facility where members of the public can pay for the use of a bathroom - ie a cubicle with a bathtub. These were available in most towns up till around 40 years ago, but there's no longer any demand so I doubt if any are still in use. Your St Kilda Baths are I believe a pool for swimming in seawater?

  37. #37
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    In Australia, public swimming pools were often called "baths". In Adelaide we had the City Baths.

    Gone fishin', in the City Baths,
    Gone fishin', in the City Baths,
    Ain't catchin' any fish,
    Just gettin' my wish,
    Catchin' women
    In the City Baths.
    Dave Gittins
    Titanic: Monument and Warning.
    http://titanicebook.com/Book.html

  38. #38
    Alyson Jones
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    Bob- Yes that's what i was talking about,i'm not sure but cause i was not really paying attention but if i heard correctly it was bath that people bathed in at that time,but i was not paying attention which i was spose to be!I think it was kind of like the turkish baths on board the Titanic.But now what you said it could be a swimm sea water pool, they did have an make over!

    Dave- i bet Catchin Women was you're fav swimming bath lol. I was just playing with you!

  39. #39
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    Swimming pools were often called 'baths' here too, Dave, which could be a bit confusing.

    In the public bath houses you generally paid one penny (around 0.25 in today's money) and got the use of a tub with unlimited hot water for half an hour. If you didn't bring your own soap and towel these cost another penny. Smoking, drinking, or any other kind of misconduct led to immediate expulsion. There were separate bath houses for men and women of course, and oddly more of the former!

    Many bath houses included a public wash house for the family laundry, with wash-tubs, mangles and driers available (again for a small charge). The wash house was popular as a social meeting place for women in working class districts.

    Ocean liners, especially those on the longer runs (eg to Oz) often also provided a rudimentary wash house for the use of steerage or 3rd Class passengers, some of whom would earn a little cash by washing clothes for those in 1st and 2nd Class. This kind of service could be organised through the stewards.

  40. #40
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    oh great.......my love of showers( at least 4 a day) is gonna send me to an early grave.......nice....

  41. #41
    Alyson Jones
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    4 SHOWERS a day!Back in those days 1900, people would think that you're wierd and yes and an yearly grave.
    Are you parinod about not being clean?

 

 

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