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The Evolution of the Bath Tub Design

The Evolution of the Bath Tub Design

When you read the term“bath tub” in the title, what kind of image appeared in your mind? Was it a simple, big, white bath tub? Or perhaps you’ve immediately thought of a jacuzzi? Why didn’t you picture a brown one, or a black one? Indeed, you’ll read about all of these in this brief history of the bath tub design.

As with anything else, a design is influenced by two factors: its purpose and its appeal. When designing a bath tub, the designer had in mind its original purpose – to make oneself clean. Basically, any hollow surface would have sufficed. However, the advantage of human kind is that we are always striving for more. Hence bath tubs were adorned and decorated, and today, companies are competing with each other as to who is going to bring more pleasure to the bathers. Let’s take a look how it all began and see where we stand now.

The beginning


Source: The Bathtub Diva

While some kinds of plumbing systems originate from 6,000 years ago, the very first bath tub was created only 3,000 years ago. It was built by ancient Greeks and it seems rather small according to today’s standards. Actually, some argue that wasn’t a tub at all, but it’s rather probable that the owner of the Palace of Knossos, on the Isle of Crete had a desire to enjoy a private bath.

While the original bath tub was brown and made of hard pottery, eventually Greeks opted for marble. The wealthy bathers even adorned them with magnificent details which are a true work of art.

Roman baths


Source: Wikipedia

When Romans appeared in 500 BC, they certainly stepped up the game and went large. They are mostly praised for the wonderful pipe system used to change the water, thus preventing the spread of any disease. There were plenty of big public bath tubs, but more interestingly, a small indoor pool is what was once considered a private bath tub. A bit luxurious, isn’t it?
The big break


Source: americanhistory

However, the trend of hygiene and bathing joys was interrupted with the Dark Ages, in which people preferred perfumes to cleanliness. Sadly, the bath tub was neglected for centuries.

But then there was the radical invention of the closet folding bath tub in America! As daily bathing became more acceptable, people tried to innovate the bath tub in a way that was less space consuming. Some doubled as a mirrored-wardrobe but when pulled down would convert into a bathtub with a heating system enclosed.

The big comeback


Source: Brownstoner

Its glorious comeback happened in the Victorian era at the end of the 19th century. While most people imagine them as claw-foot tubs, that was not necessarily the case. They were oval and made of tin, zinc, or copper, usually inset into wooden casings. Not very practical, though, due to corrosive materials.

The main culprits for the image of renowned claw-foot tub acted in 1883. Funnily enough, two companies simultaneously decided on the venture and they both had the idea to enamel a cast iron bath tub to create a nice and smooth interior surface. What’s important here is the fact that bath tubs were finally mass produced, since consumers recognized they are easy to maintain.

As we know them today


Source: Pexels

The beginning of the 20th century was a period for a new trend. No longer were people willing to clean the space under the tub (most of bath tubs then didn’t have house staff) so the time came for the bath tub on a solid pedestal base, and the two-sided enclosed tub to take its place. Solid porcelain tubs have taken over the world.

However, after 1929, the colors were introduced. Having a white bath tub was rather dull, and the bathroom became much more vibrant with different shades of pastels, royal blue, Chinese red, green, and so on.

Strictly for indulgence


Source: Pexels

Of course, any talk about the bath tub history would be lacking an important detail if we weren’t to mention the famous Jacuzzi, the very first hot tub invented in 1970. Jacuzzis in popular culture have become synonymous with pleasure, especially when we mention the one inside the Playboy’s mansion.

Today, there are as many bath tub designs as you can think of. The bathroom is supposed to match the overall interior, so now we even have minimalist baths, with straight, sharp lines. Plenty of households opt for massage bath tubs to enjoy themselves. Claw-foot tubs are also popular. A black marble bath tub is an option, too. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine what the next innovation in bath tubs will be, since all styles are equally popular.