Titanic Bathrooms

Dec 2, 2000
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I'm not aware of any beyond showcasing a sink and some plumbing. I don't think anyone at that time was really all that keen to advertise the "glories" of the toilets. (I may be mistaken on this and if so, I'd love to see the adverts.)
 
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Janicole

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I thought I heard that that was a picture of a 1st class bathroom so I saved it just in case
 
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Anna Mcpherson

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Jeremy: You can't tell,but who cares. Even if it is the Olympics,it still tells us what Titanic would have look like in her prime.
And also jeremy, what do you expect from a 1912 ship? Modern pipes that were built inside the walls? Yes,I understand what you are saying,in our eyes it looks weird,we are not use to pipes sticking out at us.

In the photograph which Janicole provided,in the top left hand side next to the bath shield,is that a shower head or a light bulb?

Thanks in advance.
 
Please calm down, Anna. Your response is a little testy.

My question should have been phrased "how can we be sure that this is a bathroom on the Olympic or Titanic and not some other ship".

If you understand what I'm saying, then why are you addressing me this way.

There is nothing but pipes in the upper left corner. In the upper right, in the shower, there is a shower head.
 

Tim Brandsoy

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Feb 19, 2002
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I was reading elsewhere that some of the steerage had to learn how to use indoor plumbing, many at that time were still using outhouses!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I would guess that most of the 3rd Class passengers (and probably some from the Cabin classes) had no experience of indoor plumbing. I myself (born in the 1940s) didn't live in a house with an indoor toilet till I was around 10 years old. I sill regard it as one of the wonders of science! As did the Edwardians, who were proud to have all the pipes and valves on display rather than hidden in the walls.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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I've not managed to get all my plumbing hidden in the walls yet. So odd that the middle classes of the 1950s managed this, yet here I am living in a 1902 house in 2009 and have not yet managed it. Mind you, we don't have to wander out into the night to go to the toilet. We just have to queue indoors in an emergency. But so far, no problem.

It's really quite strange. My house is not that small and can accommodate quite a few people. But the bathroom is small. I think the Edwardians had quite different ideas.

Servants lived in the attic - I know because I discovered the electric bells that summoned them to their work. Yet there was only one bathroom for the entire household, servants included. Eh?

I think my house was probably owned originally by people who really couldn't afford servants, and who were trying to keep up a ridiculous lifestyle which was way out of date. The servants' rooms are now occupied by my children and their friends.

Doesn't help me much.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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"I discovered the electric bells that summoned them to their work" - you really must restore the one in James' room to full working order. :)
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>As did the Edwardians, who were proud to have all the pipes and valves on display rather than hidden in the walls.

As recently as the 1940s postwar refit of the Ile de France, there were deluxe first class cabins with exposed pipes and ducts along the ceiling. Which, when you think about it, is hardly surprising. If the highest point in the cabin is only 7.5' over your head, and you lose a foot of that encasing the pipes and ducts, the end result will be a claustrophobic room with very odd proportions.

Recessed fixtures were not unknown in 1912. But, I suspect that in this case the pipes were left exposed because, as has already been said, the Edwardians did not find their presense disturbing. AND, if you look at that photo of the already... old world bijou... room, and imagine how much more cramped it would look with the exposed piping partitioned off, I think you'll agree that spacial issues played a part as well.

When I look at those exposed pipes, what I see, however, is a breeding ground for mildew, and a grime-trap. The time invested in keeping this room sanitary, and sanitary-looking, must have been considerable.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>>How can we be sure that this is a bathroom on the Olympic or Titanic?

>You can't tell,

Actually, you can. But, you already know that, Anna, I'm sure...

>but who cares.

Jeremy, obviously, since he asked the question.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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W.F. HOYT WAS UNAVAILABLE TO MODEL, ALAS...

Titanic-era advert showing how the "frolic," "sport," and "fun" of showers need not be restricted to people of the class who lived on Fifth Avenue, and who ate Dutchess or Anna potatoes every day and showed the effects of it...

View Image

To judge from the sheer volume of bathroom ads which ran in the US 1910-1915, there was a big push to bring the working poor, and middle class, into the world of indoor plumbing. Shower conversions, collapsible bathtubs, ergonomic toilet seats shaped like an Earth-shoe which "...allow you to assume the position nature intended, with no further need to injurously strain the lower bowel." The list of options was endless.

There was also a push to make bathrooms "elegant." So, again, neurosis raised its ugly head, as companies sought to foster it wherever possible. A particularly (and unintentionally) funny graphic showed a distinctly uncomfortable-looking bunch of Helen Bishop lookalikes at a home Social Tea. Visible behind them was a closed door, and the source of discomfort... a bathroom with what a later generation would call SOUND LEAKS. The ad drove home that even if your bathroom was new, and stylish, and clean, the effect would be ruined if everyone could hear what you were doing, or not doing, behind the closed door.

My hours of 1912 toilet ad research have reenforced Jeremy's original point. Judged by the standard advanced towards the US Middle Class of 1912, via advertising, this Titanic/Olympic deluxe bathroom would have served as a "before" picture. Probably wasn't sound-proofed, either.

And, that shower. You could not hope to have FUN in it. A needle-type shower was present in the Lusitania and Mauretania's deluxe bathrooms so, if nothing else, Cunard's wealthiest passengers could expect hygenic sport and frolic while cleaning up for dinner.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>So odd that the middle classes of the 1950s managed this, yet here I am living in a 1902 house in 2009 and have not yet managed it. <<

it helps to know that they were designed this way in keeping with the trends of fashion. Once upon a time, it was quite fashionable to show off plumbing as so few really even had it, and those who did tended to be very wealthy. In time, the "Stutus symbol" came to be seen as tacky, so the fashion turned to hiding it to look modern.

As one who now deals with plumbing issues and problems for a living, I see every day how this had tended to backfire. Hiding it all may be fashionable, but it's bear to dig it all out, especially from behind walls, to do any essential repairs.

However, as Jim pointed out, having all that exposed can pose some real problems as far as cleanliness goes.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>but it's bear to dig it all out, especially from behind walls,

Which is probably ANOTHER reason for the exposed piping. In an existing house, it would have reduced the irritation a bit to run the pipes down a wall, rather than remove the wall, place the pipes, and then build a new wall 6 or 7 inches further in to the room.

The house I lived in, in the Bronx, was a pre-1865 farmhouse that the city ended up overwhelming. During my time there, 1984-1995, it had the original 1890s "conversion bathroom" which was actually pretty cool and which gave me insights into how a Victorian who was converting his former farm structure to a town house went about doing it. A very small section of the top floor, under the peaked roof, was partitioned off. A clawfoot bathtub was shoehorned into the otherwise useless space where the roof angled sharply down and met the floor. The fresh water pipes ran up the walls on the lower floors, and as an added touch of.... plumbing ostentation? .... the back parlor had a white enamel sink in it, apparently for those times when formality and the need for cleanliness intersected. The waste water pipes also ran down the wall, but in that case another bit of Victorian one-upsmanship came in to play and ultra-stylish built-in closets were constructed to conceal them.
 
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Monica's post : Servants lived in the attic - I know because I discovered the electric bells that summoned them to their work. Yet there was only one bathroom for the entire household, servants included. Eh?

Marilyn's reply : Maybe the servants used chamberpots in their rooms.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>To bathe in or to make tinkles?<<

"Tinkles."

If you're ever in Asheville North Carolina, take a day to check out the Biltmore Estate, in particular the Biltmore Mansion which was constructed for the Vanderbilts. The servents quarters are on the upper floors and not one has an en suite bathroom.

There were chamberpots inside and a room about the size of a large closet with a fixture known as a slop sink in which the contents of the chamberpots was dumped.