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New Porcelain Tubs are BETTER than the Antique Ones

By Kerry Knight

A question I am often asked, “Is it better to buy a new cast iron and porcelaintub or to restore it to like new condition?” This is a great question, however the answer I often give is not the one people are expecting, especially if the old tub has been in the family a long time.

We’ve all seen the old cast iron and porcelain tubs from yesteryear, lying around gardens, farms and ranches. Many have been turned into watering troughs for cows and horses. They are rusting on the outside and pretty beat up on the inside. Good luck in finding the cast iron legs that were original to the tub. You might be able to buy a set of antique legs that fit the tub from someone that handles this for about $50 per leg. These old tubs can date back as far as the late 1880s, often with the date stamped right on the bottom of it, so the condition of the tub can be pretty rough.


Are you an Antique Lover?

Many antique lovers have gone out in search of them. A purchase of a discarded antique claw foot tub could range from $200-400. If they are fortunate enough to locate one in decent shape, they are looking at a number of refurbishment stages to bring it to an acceptable, finished condition. First, the outside of the tub, (cast iron) is no doubt, rusted or has several coats of lead paint from many years of use. The tub will have to be sandblasted to bring the cast iron back to its original form. This can be expensive, sometimes $100 or more. Then the outside must be primed and painted again so that the cast iron doesn’t rust again. Left unfinished, it will rust quickly, when exposed to the elements.

The porcelain will then be the center of attention. What shape is it in? Most old tubs will have chips, missing porcelain, scratches, and deep stains, all which require professional refinishing. Most refinishers who work on this type of tub will charge $700 or more to repair the porcelain and paint the inside of the tub. 

Let’s add up the cost so far. 

Cost of the old tub –   $400
Sandblasting –            $100
Refinishing –               $700
Replacing Legs –       $200
Total                         $1,400

Keep in mind, the total listed above does not include the cost of searching for a person that does sandblasting or refinishing, the hauling expense (these tubs can weigh over 400 lbs.), the agony of lifting the tub time and again, the wear and tear on your tools and the long wait in getting the project completed.
What if You Don’t Like the finished Product?

Moreover, what if, after everything has been done, you are not satisfied with the finished product?  After all, we are talking about painting the tub to look like porcelain.  Not all refinishers are great at what they do.

Nevertheless, let’s be positive.  If everything goes well, and you are happy with the result after spending quite a sum of money, what does the future hold for your antique tub?  Special care for the surface will be required since we are dealing with a painted tub.  Certain cleaners cannot be used.  It will need to be polished from time to time.  Then, after a few years (if you’re lucky), you’ll have to have it refinished again.  Why? Because the paint will peel over time.  That’s what paint does.  Now you’re looking at spending money all over again.

Is There a Better Way?

Yes!  Purchase a NEW cast iron and porcelain claw foot tub.  The surface will be brand new.  New porcelain.  New cast iron.  The legs on the new tub are not cast iron, they come in chrome, brushed nickel, even oil rubbed bronze.    They even come in unique shapes; not just the traditional roll top, but also the slipper tub, dual ended, pedestal and double slipper.  And most importantly, the price is comparable to the cost of refinishing an old tub, sometimes even lower.  This is a no brainer. It’s one thing if you’re refinishing an old tub for a museum because you’re trying to preserve a special piece of history. It’s a whole other matter is you’re doing this for yourself. Don’t waste time, your hard-earned money and your labor on that old discarded tub when you can have a perfectly designed NEW CLAW FOOT TUB for the same or less money.

In this article, I have outlined the steps it takes to restore and refinish an old claw foot bathtub. I spell out the advantages and considerable disadvantages that come with the restoration/refinishing process. I also compare the cost of this process with that of purchasing a new claw foot tub. I have provided the process that can be used to restore a historic claw foot tub so that it looks like new. I have also shown why I believe replacing the old claw foot tub with a new one is the better way to go.  

If you have found this article to be useful, please pass it on to your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, please leave it in the comment section below. If you have a question, feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article. It’s been my pleasure telling about how we restore old claw foot tub for our clients. Thanks again for sharing this journey with us.  Until next time.

Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email them at alan@tubking.com.
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The Birth of the Bathtub


By Kerry Knight

One of the greatest philosophical question has always been, “Where did I come from?”  Or, if you’re more the intellectual, “From whence did I come?”  We all love ORIGIN stories.  

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the bathtub?  Maybe it’s not the most pressing subject on your to-do list, but it is very interesting.  And if you are into decorating ideas for your bathroom, you may just love this little tidbit of knowledge.

Pot de chambre 3
Pot de chambre 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, let us begin.  Before indoor plumbing, most homes or hovels used chamber pots or washbowls for bathing.  They were portable and could be put away easily, and since bathing was not as popular pastime as today, it seemed to work just fine. 

Around the 19th century, bathtubs became the product of tinsmiths, the tubs often being formed out of copper or zinc.  In progressive houses with water heating devices, some had tubs made of lead sheets in a coffin like wooden box.  For those today who know the dangers of lead poisoning, the idea of a coffin box was somewhat prophetic.
We actually owned a 19th century tub made of zinc in a rectangular box of mahogany.  It was show piece, but not very practical since it was only about 48 inches long.  While transporting it from one warehouse to another, it was left on the trailer too long and someone proceeded to steal it.  I’m sure they had no idea what they had.  Maybe it should have been made of lead.
English: Kids bathing in a small metal tub. Th...
English: Kids bathing in a small metal tub. The tub reads “SWANCE”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Someone came up with a not-so-bright idea of a portable canvas tub, much like the pot-bellied cot.  We can all see through that one.  No pun intended.
There was even the Mosby Folding Tub.  You know, like the Murphy bed that fold’s up.  Again, not a winner.
In the late 19th century, tubs were cast in iron and copper, but problems of rusting and corrosion was a real handicap.  In the 1880s, J.L. Mott was among the first to solve the problem.    The result was the porcelain enameled, cast iron, footed tub.  In addition, the ubiquitous claw foot type style is still working well for thousands of people today.
In the 1920s the vitreous surface inside was all white, but the cast iron exterior was often painted, with colors, stripes and even designs like Greek frets.  Foundries became quite talented at creating designs for the feet, such as eagle claws, bear claws, lion claws and more traditional designs.
The original foot tubs came in a variety of lengths and designs.  Most were 60 inches in length with an oval shape and rolled edges.  Then came the slipper tub with the high arched back and dual sloping ends that make it perfectly symmetrical.
Because some people complained about cleaning behind the footed tub, the ringed or skirted tub was created with the oval pedestal base, instead of legs.  This gave the tub a majestic, almost regal, look.
Slipper bathtub in Amsterdam store window.
Slipper bathtub in Amsterdam store window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, the old cast iron foundries are gone in the US.  But you can still purchase these beautiful pieces of 19th century art.  They are still made in many parts of the world, and a few U.S. companies import and stock them for their customers here. 
An ad appeared in a retail catalog back in 1910, which read, “Why shouldn’t the bathtub be a part of the architecture of the home?”  Many are finding that to be good advice, even a hundred years later.

In this article, I shared with you the history of bathtubs. How they have come from chamber pots, to lavishly decorated status symbols and finally the state of the art modern day bathtubs. If you found this article useful or enjoyable, please pass it on to your friends and neighbors. If you have a comment, leave it in the Comment section below. If you have a question, feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article.
Alan & Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products they are also award winners, winning the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email them at alan@tubking.com.

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Don’t Look a Gift Tub in The Mouth!

By Kerry Knight

Gift Horse
Gift Horse (Photo credit: failing_angel)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “never look a gift-horse in the mouth”? Well, my

article today is about a man whose pride got in the way of receiving his gift.

I recently heard the story of a senior gentleman who refused the offer for a walk in tub, and then paid dearly for his reluctance.  Several months previously, when his children discovered that their father had fallen, not once, but numerous times, they began to discuss among themselves how to help Dad maintain his mobility, but be safe as well.  He had fallen once in the kitchen, slipping on a rug, while suffering a mere bruise.  However, he had fallen three times while trying to get into and out of the bathtub.  They decided to get rid of any loose rugs in the apartment, but were more concerned about what to do in the bathroom.  With ceramic tile floors and walls, a fall there, could create a much greater risk of injury.


Research Can Help if You Let it

After doing some research, they discovered the WalkIn Tub.  It was the newest innovation in bathroom safety.  A person could walk into the tub through a watertight door, close the door and fill the tub, and actually sit down using a handy interior grab bar.   The tubs were tall enough that you could fill the tub with warm water and cover almost to the shoulders.  They could then lean back and soak, bathe, and relax.  There was even a hand held shower for rinsing, which would retract back into the tub when not being used.  The controls for water supply and drain were within easy reach, and they could even add hydrotherapy jets for a soothing massage.

Client Testimonial

“This is it,” the daughter said to her brothers.  “Dad, can continue to bathe himself and not run the risk of falling again.”  The cost of the tub was obviously a little more than a conventional tub, but well worth it.  One brother said, “Okay, how do we pay for it?”  “Well Dad certainly has the money.  Let’s start there,” the daughter remarked.
When they approached their father about the idea, even showing beautiful, full color pictures of the different models, he was immediately dead-set against it.  “I don’t need that!”  The daughter explained all the features and how it could help.  “Who’s going to pay for it?”  When she went over the pricing with him he laughed out loud.  “No way!  As long as I can get around, I’ll just use my old tub.  It’s worked just fine.”  They knew he could be stubborn, so decided to lose the current battle in hopes of winning the war in the end.  They left.

The Kids Where Ready to Pitch in

Out in the parking lot, they all agreed to pitch in and pay for the tub themselves.  It was a strain on their budgets, but they knew it was a small price to pay in the end if they could keep Dad safe and sound.

They went back into the apartment building, knocked

on his door and waited.  He was surprised to see them back so soon.  “No, I haven’t changed my mind, ” he said.  “No, Dad, we want to get the walk in tub for you ourselves.  We’ll pay for it.”


“No way I’m going to let you do that.  I told you I’m not interested.  I don’t care if it’s free.  I don’t need it.  And that’s the end of it.”

They said goodbye for the last time and slowly walked away.

Then the Worst Happened

A few days later, at 6:00 am in the morning, the daughter gets a call from the apartment building.  It was management.   They explained that someone had heard calls for help coming from inside her Dad’s apartment.  Management went in and found him immobile on the bathroom floor.  An ambulance had just arrived and after examining him said they thought he had broken his hip.  He was being rushed to the hospital. 

By the time the daughter and one of the sons had arrived at the medical center, the doctor came out and confirmed the earlier diagnosis.  We need to get him into surgery right away.  The doctor had explained how it would require a lengthy convalescence.  He would be in therapy for months, and would need around the clock care.  Even with Medicare the costs were going to be extremely expensive.  It would also require constant care and attention from the children. 

After seeing their father and visiting for a while, the brother and sister left the hospital.  After returning to the apartment they learned that their Dad had  slipped while trying to get out of the tub, then grabbed the shower curtain as he fell  hard on his left hip.  Their worst fear had happened.  And they knew something else.  Even after all the surgery, therapy, and rehab, when he finally came home, it could happen again.  And this time it would be far worse.

They also knew that if they had talked him into the

Walk In Tub option, all this could have been avoided.  The daughter immediately went online, made the call and ordered a Walk In Tub.  “He’s going to have this tub, “she said.  “We’ll deal with his stubbornness later.”


The Senior Walk In Bathtub is a life saver, and in the end it’s worth every penny.  What is a Mom and a Dad worth?  Can’t put a price tag on that.

In this article, I have shared with you the story of a man whose pride got in the way of common sense. It got in the way of his children’s wishes to provide him with greater safety, independence and freedom. Being grateful would have removed the danger of falling in the bathroom. His children would be able to sleep better knowing he was safe. If you found this article useful or enjoyable, please pass it on to your friends and neighbors. If you have a comment, leave it in the comment section below, If you have a question, feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article.

Alan & Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products they are also award winners, winning the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email them at alan@tubking.com.

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Mom’s Wish for the New Year

By Kerry Knight


Happy New Year
Happy New Year (Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps)

This is the time of year where most people are making New Years resolutions. Where we try and get back on track and do something they think is important to them personally.


In speaking to my mother about New Year resolutions, I was somewhat surprised at her one great hope for 2014. It wasn’t money, possessions, recognition, losing weight, or any other typical response. It also wasn’t some grandiose wish of world peace or a cure for cancer. It was simple, yet poignant. “I want to be able to enjoy my family with the little time I have remaining.”

Photo Credit: tubking.com

You see, mom is in her 80s, with many of the same complications that come with aging. She has fallen more times than I can remember, due to vertigo, weak knees, and onset dementia. She is afraid to try and bathe herself for fear of falling again. She is terrified of finding herself lying on the bathroom floor with none of her love ones around. She refuses to come and live with any of her children. She is adamant about not wanting to be a bother. She is also resistant when discussing assisted living and being attended to by strangers. “I don’t want a stranger touching me, especially bathing me!” She so wants to be independent, but that seems to be an impossible dream under the circumstances. Or is it?



One evening while watching late night television she saw a commercial advertising the new Walk-in Tub. She told me about it the next day, and so I went online to learn about it. This seemed like the perfect solution. She could maintain her independence, bathing herself. She would be able to open the door of the tub, sit down, latch the door and control everything from the sitting position. The low entryway meant she could get into and out of the tub with no fear of falling due to the slip resistant seat and floor of the tub. The grab bar on the inside was a big help along with being able to sit while bathing. Standing for any length of time is a problem for her. The shower with the hand held shower wane, the drain release, the faucet handles and all the controls were within easy reach. She could even get hydrotherapy and whirlpool to help with her many medical conditions. The warm, bubbling and swirling water could really help with her aching muscles and joints. The entire tub is compact and water tight due to the door and seal. I was getting excited now. The Walk-in Tub could take the place of her old tub and it was perfectly safe.

The children have decided that this was a small price to pay for making Mom’s New Year’s wish come true. Now, with the years she has remaining, she can enjoy her children and grandchildren. And we can have the peace of mind that Mom is safe and has renewed self esteem in being able to care for herself in the bath. It’s great being able to repay Mom for all the years she has taken care of us.



In this article, I have shared with you my personal story of making my mothers wish come true. The wish for greater independence, freedom from the fear of falling in the bathroom and being able to enjoy her children more without being a burden to them. If you found this article useful or enjoyable, please pass it on to your friends and neighbors. If you have a comment leave it in the comment section below. If you have a question feel free to contact me at the number or email address listed below. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Until next time, stay stress free.

Alan & Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc and Senior Bathtub.com in Jacksonville Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products they are also award winners, winning the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them call (800)409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email them at alan@tubking.com.
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Walk-in Tubs Can Save Lives

I recently heard a heartbreaking story about a senior, just getting over a medical procedure, who was attempting to get into a garden tub.  As you know, this typically requires stepping down into the huge tub from the floor level.  Because of her

weakened condition from the operation, she was not as agile as usual, and slipped on the top edge of the tub, falling into a tub only half full of water.  The legs were bruised and badly scraped, but more importantly there was head trauma.  She was eventually able to crawl out of the tub and crawl across the floor toward the bedroom.  She was not able to reach the phone or life alert.  The next morning she was found by her daughter, curled up on the floor.  She had lost  blood from the cuts, and she was shivering from the cold.  Luckily, she would survive. 


But what about next time.   Her recovery from surgery would now take much, much longer, and the pain and discomfort from the new accident would make her wonder if life was worth living.  This sad story could be retold many times over, from so many that have faced similar accidents.  It doesn’t have to happen.  There is a solution.

The Walk In Tub was designed to protect against accidents like this.  It stands on level ground as a free standing tub .  There is a sturdy door where one can enter and sit down.  The threshold while walking in is just a few inches.  The seat is ADA compliant for comfort and ease in rising and sitting.  The interior grab bar takes the pressure off the back and knees when rising.    There is no fear of falling because the tub is compact and protective on all sides.  The slip resistant floor and seat further insure the safety of the tub.

Once inside, you can enjoy the warm water as a soaking bath, with a hand held shower sprayer just fingertips away.  Or, if you really want to relax just press a button to engage the air jetted therapeutic bubbles that  soothe every inch of the body.

Then, turn on the water jets for a stimulating massage, as the inline heater keeps the water warm for a long, invigorating soak.

Remember this.  Fear of falling is the number one concern for seniors.  So many suffer with vertigo, lightheadedness, and a general lack of balance.  This makes for an accident just waiting to happen.  Falling is one fear that we can eliminate in the bathroom.  Many grown children are realizing how important this can be for their parents, and they are teaming with other siblings to make the surprise purchase for their parents.  No greater way to say, “I love you.”

In this article, I have talked about how a walk-in tub can save your life. Walk in tubs are designed to prevent accidents and keep the bather safe from the injury of slips and falls.  This can eliminate head injuries bruises and cuts that often accompany a fall in the bathtub. I hope you found this article useful. If so, pass it along to your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment, enter it below. I am glad I had the chance to share this information with you.

Until next time, stay stress free.

Alan & Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc and Senior Bathtub.com in Jacksonville Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products they are also award winners, winning the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email them at alan@tubking.com.

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