The idea of a bathtub is credited to the Indians from as far back as 3300 BC, when a bathtub was discovered in a palace in the Indus Valley with pipes leading into it from beneath. The Romans became the first civilization to be encouraged to bathe daily, in the large marble bath houses where bathing became an activity to do whilst socialising.

travel-graphics-200_429705aIn 1883 John Michael Kohler took a cast iron bath he had produced, heated it to 1700°F and sprinkled it with enamel powder. The result was the first commercial bath tub. The Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company and Kohler Company began manufacturing these cast iron bath tubs. The exact advertising spin put on these was:

‘horse trough / hog scalder, when furnished with 4 legs will serve as a bath tub.’

The emphasis being on the use as a drinking vessel for horses!

Bath tubs became popular in England with the aristocracy in the late 19th century, and were made of painted copper, tin or cast iron standing on clawfeet. It’s been said that the clawfoot was influenced by the Chinese Dragon, holding a precious stone.

Over time, however, the paint would begin to peel leaving a rather shoddy looking metal tub that was not deemed attractive to the English upper classes.

In the 1880’s a Scottish-born entrepreneur, David Buick, invented a process for bonding porcelain enamel to cast iron and another modern day bath tub was born. The process, which was successfully marketed and produced by a handful of Companies (including the Kohler Company), is relatively the same process used on the modern bath tubs of today.

indexIn the latter half of the 20th century the clawfoot was replaced by a built in tub, which became easier to maintain and leant itself to a trend in coloured bath tubs. The clawfoot bath tub all but disappeared.

Just like bathrooms come in numerous designs, the modern day bath tubs do too. The latest designs are made of acrylic or fiberglass and come in a range of designs, sizes, shapes and colours. Few bathrooms are without a bath tub and many tubs incorporate a shower as well.

So next time you slip into a relaxing, warm bath to ease away the stresses of the day, take a moment to imagine what life would be like without it.