1928: Installing a Shower-Bath

We’re in the midst of planning a bathroom renovation, and although the driving force behind it is to replace the tub with a deep one that I can actually bathe in, I was amused to find this advice about “Installing a Shower-Bath.” It appears in The House-Owner’s Book, written by Allen L. Churchill and Leonard Wickenden in 1928 (the decade our house was born). The book is mostly for those constructing their own new houses, and is beyond my expertise, but I did also enjoy the chapter on “Special Appliances” where they describe, among other things, an “Iceless Ice-box”; an in-house system to burn your own garbage to then fuel the house; and a central vacuum cleaning system which will “be as common, in a few years, as central heat.” Sounds an awful lot like my mom and stepdad’s whole house vacuum that was installed when they built their house a few years ago, still a pretty rare item in today’s homes.

But I digress ~ back to the bathroom!

"If no house is complete without a bathroom, no bathroom is complete without a shower-bath. It is no so long ago that the man who proclaimed that he preferred a shower- to a tub-bath was considered a freak or a poser. But those days are past. It is now recognized that a shower-bath is not only more invigorating,~ it is more cleansing. Fresh water constantly pours upon the body, washing away all impurities, and producing a sensation of cleanliness and well-being which the tub-bath can never give. . . .

The ordinary head-shower is sometimes unpopular with the women of the household because, with it, there is difficulty in avoiding wetting the hair. The type of shower which sprays water onto the body in a semi-horizontal manner usually finds more favor with them. It is claimed that with this type of shower, no curtain is needed because the water strikes the body at such an angle that it runs directly downward into the bath. This may be true if the user is of a placid disposition and takes his shower-bath in a calm and dignified manner. With most men, however, the sensation of water raining onto their bodies causes them to inflate their chests, and fling their limbs about generally. In any case, a shower-bath loses a good deal of its fun if one has to bear constantly in mind the need of avoiding violent activity, so that the curtain will usually be found well worth the slight extra cost."

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