By Alan Knight
It was 1867 in a small mining town called Denver, Colorado. With signs of winter fast approaching, the sun set at 4:30 p.m.and didn’t rise again for nearly 15 hours. With the thought of the long, cold hours that lay ahead, there was only one thing on the miners’ minds — whiskey! The hard-drinking miners knew they didn’t have enough liquid gold to make it through the winter, and this made them grow restless.
Determined not to face the harsh mountain weather without it, they hired a group of Irish Teamsters to transport 40 wagon loads of whiskey through the Colorado plains. To ensure its safe arrival, the US Cavalry was commissioned to escort the load.
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But in 1867, it wasn’t only women that enjoyed the luxury of bathing on the trail. It’s reported that the Bathtubs that existed during the antebellum period before indoor plumbing came into vogue were large but relatively light containers. They were usually hidden away and only pulled out when needed, perfect for on-the-road washing. The typical mid-19th century bathtub was a product of the tinsmith’s craft, commonly made from a shell of sheet copper, or zinc. The use of copper continued into the mid-1900s as a liner for wood-enclosed tubs. Commanders and officers of the US Cavalry also enjoyed some downtime relaxing in traveling tubs.
More commonly, tubs back then were steel-cased. By 1867, tub manufacturers started using cast iron, which had been used for several years for making sinks and toilets. The problem with metal was corrosion. Copper and zinc discolored readily around water and soap, and the seams of sheet metal were hard to keep clean. Iron and steel, of course, rusted eventually, even under the most meticulous coat of paint. Bathtubs made of lead were only found in more progressive homes equipped with early water-heating devices. As running water became more common in the latter 19th century, bathtubs became more prevalent and less portable.
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While some members of the US Calvary and the Temperance ladies were enjoying their high society tubs, the miners most often bathed in horse troughs, if at all. Bathing wasn’t considered a necessity by these hard-working men. In fact, personal hygiene was considered something of a nuisance. Over time, as bathing became more fashionable, more tub manufacturers entered the market and began improving designs. Out with the horse trough and in with cast iron bathtubs with porcelain interiors on “Clawfoot”pedestals. These tubs rose to popularity in the 19th century and remain so today.
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One such design is the Walk-in tub that is perfect for seniors. These bathtubs provide a great safety advantage to handicapped persons or those with limited mobility. Not only are these tubs highly functional, there is also a range of hydrotherapeutic options available. Walk-in tubs are perfect for everyday bathing needs, but importantly, they also provide personal safety and independence wrapped in therapeutic luxury.
Tub King’s cast iron/porcelain Clawfoot and Pedestal tubs as well as our therapeutic Walk-in Our tubs are made to fit in your bathroom. Or, if you want one for your covered wagon, we can hitch you up with that, too.
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If you’d like to receive a FREE Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ Guide, fill out the form below.
Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and my brother, Alan, who heads up Tub King, will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
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Alan Knight has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, they are also multi-award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact Tub King, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.
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By Alan Knight
A number of years ago we got an unusual call from a young lady in Atlanta, Georgia who wanted to purchase an antique clawfoot bathtub. After giving us the size she needed, she added that she wanted it refinished in the colors of her favorite college football team, the Georgia Bulldogs. She actually drove down to watch the color process. True to our word, we refinished the tub in red and black, and she loved it. Instead of having it shipped home, she wanted to take it herself in the back of her SUV.
It Started with a Customer who Loves the Georgia Bulldogs
|Clawfoot Tub in the colors of the Jacksonville Jaguars
(Photo Credit: tubking.com)
Spring practice is going on for most college football teams across the country. Soon they will have a scrimmage game called the A-Day Game or the Spring Game, and tens of thousands will attend. Football is already in the air, and we’re still officially almost five months from the first kickoff of the season. If you’re a college grad, you probably have your own pride and affection for school colors.
Clawfoot Tubs Come to us From All Over for Refinishing
Additional Product Lines
|The Artisan Series Clawfoot tubs|
“new” reproduction cast iron and porcelain bathtubs that we import from other countries. That would include the Slipper series, the Double-ended, Traditional Roll Rims, and Pedestal tubs. Often, customers request that we refinish the exterior of the new tubs in a color other than white. The legs of the tub offer several options. They can come in chrome, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or any one of five hundred colors. The inside of the tub (the porcelain) is normally left as the original porcelain (white). In recent months, we have also created an Artisan Series such as the hammered copper or the hammered silver finish on the exterior.
Safe Senior Walk-in Bathtubs are High on Baby Boomer List
|One of our Boomer-approved Walk-in Tubs
(Photo Credit: tubking.com)
We also sell the senior Walk-in Bathtub. This has been one of our most popular introductions to date. The senior market, with the massive baby boomer population, has given us their own request, and that is for a tub that is safe (to remove the fear of falling in the bathroom) and therapeutic (to help with aches, pains, and the treatment of many medical conditions). We sell and ship them all over the world.
Introducing Our Newest Product Line
|One of our Safety Shower Suite|
are designed to expand any bathroom with an open concept and a more modern design. The shower is fully tiled and reaches (with walls and floors) to over six feet. The additional safety fixtures including the stylish grab bars, some which double as paper roll stand, towel rack and shelving, as well as sinks, and toilets to complete a beautiful picture. A major feature is being able to step or roll into the shower, without stepping over a tall threshold. The low- and/or zero-threshold even makes it wheelchair accessible.
|This tub will outlive most of us.|
Normally, the antique tubs that we refinish are brought to us by families who have had them in the family for a long time. They have a certain sentimental value. Many of these old tubs have been around for a hundred years. We take them and carefully restore them to their original beauty. That means we not only refinish the outside of the tub in the color choice of the customer, but also the interior. That part is a little more complicated. It means doing a lot of repair work on the porcelain since the old tubs often have chips, scratches, cracks and even missing porcelain. The process used to restore it involves not only spot repairs, but also creating a new surface. This is done by applying proprietary cleaners to both clean the tub and etch the tub. After making the surface more porous, an aerospace primer is used to attach itself to the surface and make it more receptive for the topcoat. If an interior color other than white is requested, the primer must be tinted to match a shade of the requested color. After two coats of the primer are applied, using a high volume, low-pressure spray system in our special spray booth, the unique color choice is applied using the same spray system. The topcoat color is a special mix of polyurethane acrylic enamel with industrial colorants to make a perfect color match. The surface is extremely durable, chemical, and stain resistant. The finished product is a remarkable reproduction of the original, with your favorite color choices. The exterior, which is cast iron, can be done in the same color or a different one. The same is true for the legs of the tub.
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Pipe-Friendly Clog Buster
- Mix ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of salt
- Pour the mixture into the drain
- Pour ½ cup vinegar down the drain
- Let the mixture get absorbed by the pipe for 30-minutes
- Run hot water for one minute followed by cold water for one minute
While this mixture wasn’t invented to break up a solid stoppage, it has been known to alleviate slow drainage. (It’s also great for preventative maintenance.) Best of all, if you splash any of it on yourself, you won’t wind up doing the Texas Two Step all the way to the hospital.
Snakes in the Drain
|Photo Credit: lelong.com.my|
An Ounce of Prevention
|Photo Credit: liquidsculpture.com|
If you’d like to receive a free copy of our Walk-in Tub Buyers’ guide, fill out the form below.
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