Posted on January 8, 2018
London builders: History of a bathtub.
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The bathtub is known for more than one thousand years. The most ancient baths, discovered during excavations of Cronos’s palace on Isle of Crete…
bathroom, bath, bathtub
The bathtub is known for more than one thousand years. The most ancient baths, discovered during excavations of Cronos’s palace on Isle of Crete, date back to III century B.C. The ceramic baths discovered by archeologists were 2500 years old, but they were very similar to modern ones. By the way, one of the first bronze baths was discovered during excavations at Pompeii. At that time the baths were made of marble and terracotta. We also know that rich citizens of Greece and Rome had silver and even golden pools.
During excavations in one ancient city in India the archeologists discovered baths which age was more than 5 thousand years! Those “washing containers” were in each house of that city and its water facilities were very circumspect.
So even in old time people have appreciated curative properties of water. There is another historical fact. 2 thousand years ago sacred Hindu books “Science of life” contained the following phrase: “The water current is curative; water cools the fever heat and cures any illness”.
Culture of washing and stance on cleanliness of human body during different ages were reflected in design and accessories of bathrooms. One would think that Spartans, bent on religion of strength and health, did not know anything of bathrooms. Besides, they washed only in cold water because they feared to run into a sin of delicacy.
The religion of water blossomed in Ancient Rome. From history we know, that bathrooms were in many private dwellings. Public baths, or “terms” worked regularly, too. By the way, the word “bath” came from a Latin word “balneum” – “to banish the pain”. 200 years B.C. nearly 1000 terms worked in Rome! They had been built under the decree of emperors and named by their names. For example, terms of emperor Karkalla were especially perfect. Every term could contain 2300 persons at a time. There were hot and cold water pools, rooms with individual baths, steam baths and massage rooms. People came to terms not just to wash off the dirt but to relax: to have a rest, to listen to lectures of philosophers and to have a walk in patio gardens. So even then there were some kinds of membership clubs. And in magnificent bathrooms of Emperor Nero it was possible to arrange true feasts and to combine “useful” and “pleasant”.
The Roman sin of pleasant and long bathing was unacceptable for severe middle ages. People washed themselves on rare occasions. At the most a bath was a tile-fronted reservoir or a round wooden tub filled with hot water. The tub was an article of luxury; it was granted for rent from house to house. For the purpose of hot water saving in one tub at a time usually washed two people.
In order to keep the water hot, in XVIII century had been invented and used closed “baths-boots” which were about one meter long. There is one more historical fact about baths. One of French revolution leaders Marat had been killed by a dagger in such bath-boot.
French coppersmith Level in XVII century had set a mass production of metal baths in Europe. He had invented a geyser. For very long time his invention had been out of competition and hadn’t any, more perfect, analogues.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, new devotees of cleanliness placed hip metal baths right in their bedrooms near the mantelpieces that allowed to nimble owner to take the water procedures promising health and longevity right after sleep. A sign of coming century was a cult of health and sports.
A sparkling nickel bath and a white tile in the bathroom had become typical in houses at the beginning of XX century. A large window in the bathroom was a necessity because the bathroom had to be filled with fresh air. In bathrooms of that period of time there were also mantelpieces, shower cabins with nickel-plated rails for taking shower while sitting in wicker chair; large bathtub where a group of people could be washed at a time; monumental marble washstand and huge water-closet…
Time goes by. Increasing opportunities of people give rise to increased demand on modern sanitary means. Culture of washing and stance on cleanliness of a human body during different ages were reflected in design and accessories of bathrooms. Nowadays, abundance of market grants to consumer almost boundless freedom of choice of bathroom design. In short, the bathroom is to be not only a place of your body hygiene, but also a place where your soul can rest.