• March 3, 2004

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Does anyone know what this is? My thought is it is used to catch water so that someone could pour water from it to wash their hair, but I am not sure?






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Comments { 25 }
  1. crystal

    perhaps it’s for men who are shaving in the tub?

  2. Derek

    I find that thing kind of frightening, it looks like it belongs in a 19th century surgury. It probably is for washing hair, it looks kind of aniseptic.

  3. Jessica

    You have some great resources for antique bathrooms! We are re-doing our bathroom as well! I esp loved seeing the accessories! Thanks for posting those!!

  4. Greg

    It seems a bit high for washing hair. I take a bath every day in a claw foot tub and that would be awkward for me to use while sitting in the tub and I’m 6’4″. Used by a man for shaving might be more likely. If you had one of those telescoping shaving mirrors on the wall as well I could see sitting in the tub and shaving with the bowl. It is strange that it has it’s own water source. Why not take the bowl out of the bracket and fill it up from the tub faucet. Something’s not right here.

  5. Ana

    I have a question that is unrelated to the “thing” in the picture but is related to the bathroom work that we are doing. When installing a frosted glass shower door does the smoth glass go on the outside or the frosted/grainy side go on the outside? Help!

  6. Dee

    Re Anna’s question re the frosty glass shower doors, the smooth side should be on the inside, makes for easier cleaning, soap scum wont stick to it, that’s why Frosty side must be on outside!

  7. Kristina

    It’s a bracket that holds a removable bowl. Let’s you fill a bowl of water for use elsewhere, not for use while in the tub. That’s my guess anyway.

  8. robin

    i believe it was for men.. To shave. As water was often hard to come by back then. The men would wash and shave at the same time.
    Shaving basin.

  9. Katrina

    We have a 1902 home that didn’t orginally have a bathroom. As we have restored most of the other rooms we are getting down to the bathroom & kitchen. I love your pictures, they are so helpful.
    This may be a silly question but what is the mini bathtub in several of the photos? And what was it used for?

  10. Heather

    I’m not sure. The 3rd photo has 2 different “mini” bath tubs. My guess is an early type of bidet and a foot bath? If it was me, I would use it to wash our dog but it might have been used for a baby.

  11. Cari daly

    Maybe the bowl was for rinsing after you drain the tub. There is no shower and I can’t see a tube with a nozzle. I have a 1910 apartment that didn’t have a shower and if you want to rinse off, it’s hard. You can dunk into the bathtub, but if the water is all soapy you get re-dirty. I installed a tube so I can drain the tub and then rinse with clean water. In lieu of a tube, that basin would do the job nicely. Does anyone have grandparents who had indoor plumbing then? I was also wondering about the two little tubs. I guessed bidet and footbath too. Or baby bath.

  12. me-again77

    I’m pretty sure the bowl in the first pic. is simply in lieu of an actual shower- one stands(or sits) in the tub, pours water over oneself, then soaps up, then pours water again to rinse! Strangely similar to an Asian style sitz(sp?) bath.

  13. Elinor Parker

    Looking for unbevelled white tiles for an Art Deco bathroom and checkered moulded dao. Any suggestions?

  14. doug fasse

    i have a set tub and would like to know what its worth

  15. mopar

    I believe some of those mini bathtubs are sitz baths, useful for bathing feet, infants, and invalids. Based on actual bathrooms I’ve seen, very few houses actually had them. These are more manufacturers’ dream baths.

    That crazy dish contraption in the tub looks like it swings around and may open from the bottom to release its contents. Shaving is a good guess. Probably another manufacturer dream invention that never caught on. Funny how it also looks like the fonts that hold holy water in the vestibules of Catholic churches.

  16. JLL

    The small tubs well the ones with the high back were for a quick clean. Bathing was not as frequent back in the day and for in between full cleanings you would sit with your feet forward and you bottom in the tub. It would wash form your thighs to your waist and clean the “important parts”

  17. Aubrey

    In the last photo, there is a sitz bath AND a foot bath. IF a home had any, most often, it would be the sitz tub. One may equate that to a quick clean up to get the funky smells off. The sitz tub had the high back [backsplash] where the foot bath didn’t have the backsplash.

    I live in a town with a LOT of historical properties and many high end. I’ve learned a lot by touring them. I love that they’re open to the public.

  18. Nancy

    We are making a small bedroom into a vintage 1920-30.
    My husband found a approx 40-42″ claw foot tub. It is the cutest thing. We are going to have it plumbed up, but I don’t think we will ever use it as we are almost 60 now, we are having a custom made shower for us instead.
    Does anyone know what this cute little tub was used for? It looks exactly like a full sized one. We are thinking it was probably used for children. But in that time, who could of afforded to purchase a claw foot tub just for children?

    • Aubrey

      A 48″ was a common size tub for that period. The complete length of it would be about 50″ including the rolled lip. It wasn’t common for men to take baths. The tubs were made to bathe kids and women [when they had time]. Not being sarcastic… I cannot imagine washing clothes with a washboard, hanging them to dry outside [regardless the weather], taking care of the kids, cooking, baking, plucking, gathering eggs, milking cows, gardening, etc… Because not EVERY person that had indoor plumbing in the 20′s was rich. The rich certainly had their tubs, but their’s were the 55 & 60″.

      This could also be a tub from a [hate to say it] servants quarters.

  19. bella

    what is that little tub looking thing on the floor what was that used for? like was it for washing cloths maybe or for kids or was it something else?

    • Heather

      I’m not sure. I thought maybe it was to wash your feet in before bed? People didn’t bathe as often as we do today…so I imagine people’s feet could get quite smelly after a few days. :)

  20. Oona

    Shaving bowl, foot bath and sitz bath.

  21. Oona

    Shaving bowl. You can rinse your razor without getting the whiskers in the tub water.

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