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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Traveling Tubs on the Wagon Trail

By Alan Knight

Photo Credit: www.peachridgeglass.com

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. 

However, when a crusading group of women from the Temperance movementlearned of the shipment, they were furious. They formulated a plan to intercept and destroy the “evil cargo” on its way to Denver. Dressed in their finest Victorian gowns, they packed up their wagons and headed west for the 185-mile journey, singing as they went.
Image courtesy of fotolauncho.com
Knowing it would take at least a month of hard travel through dangerous territory, these ladies of refinement turned their wagons into little mobile homes. They packed every luxury their prairie schooners could hold. There were tables, chairs, linens and silverware, colorful rugs and lamps, even pianos and several bathtubs.
The Temperance ladies were committed to their cause. But they drew the line when it came to traveling without their washtubs.  And these were no ordinary tubs.  We aren’t just talking galvanized buckets. These traveling tubs were Victorian furniture, replete with intricately decorated modesty covers.  All these ladies had to do was slip into the tub while another one poured hot water through an opening at their feet.
Image courtesy of movpins.com
Meanwhile, several other groups became aware of the shipment and decided they, too, wanted a bit of the joy juice. Local Native Americans who were interested in easing the pain of an approaching winter sought to intercept the shipment.  To make matters worse, the Irish Teamsters began to grumble and soon decided to strike. Receiving word their precious cargo was in peril, the miners created a posse that headed eastward, ostensibly to recover their wayward shipment. With so many opposing parties looking to get their hands on the whiskey, the wagon train came to a halt … in the middle of nowhere. Inevitably, the women caught up with the whiskey wagon train as it made its way west, and demanded demolition of the alcoholic “mountain dew.” (BTW: To learn the fate of the whiskey wagon train, you’ll need to rent the movie, “Hallelujah Trail,” made in 1965 starring Burt Lancaster and Lee Remick.)

  

Early Bathtub History

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

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.

  
Birth of the Modern Bathtub

Photo Credit: brettcogburn.com

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.  

To combat the corrosion problem, tub makers began successfully marketing porcelain-enameled, cast iron bathtubs, a process that remains broadly the same to this day. Some modern bathtubs are made of acrylic or fiberglass; occasionally, waterproof finished wood. In addition to the advanced materials used in making today’s modern bathtubs, many new and innovative bathtub designs have entered the market.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

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.


In this article, I first gave a brief historical account of the development bathtubs. I highlighted a story made famous by the motion picture, “Hallelujiah Trail,” about a skirmish between whisky-thirsty miners and Temperance-minded women of the Old West. It then goes on to talk about elegant cast iron/porcelian Clawfoot and Pedestal tubs as well as safety-minded Walk-in tubs.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. Thanks again for visiting with us.

Tub King Customer Walk-in Tub Testimonial 

If you’d like to receive a FREE Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ Guide, fill out the form below.

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If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-in Tub Buyers’ Guide, fill out the form below.
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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.

Enjoy TubKing’s Lowest Prices Ever and Free Shipping. Click Here. 

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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How to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar

New Tips for Spring Remodeling

Form & Function: the “Wright” Stuff

Have Your Clawfoot Tub Painted in the Colors of Your Favorite Team


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

Not long after that, we decided to refinish a clawfoot tub in the colors of the Auburn Tigers.  The inside was done in navy blue and the outside was in orange.  We took the tub to a game and set it up outside at a tailgate spot.  We filled it with ice and loaded it with beer and other beverages.  Everyone that passed by (and it must have been thousands) loved it.  That’s a great way to advertise.
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

The antique tubs that we refinish are often brought to our warehouse in Jacksonville, Florida from customers in various states.  We even had a father and son that brought a tub to us from Canada.  They left it at one of our bay doors and proceeded on to south Florida.  On the way back they picked it up, completely refinished in their colors of choice.

Additional Product Lines

In addition to custom coloring clawfoot tubs, there are many different things that we do in our bathtub business.  We sell

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

Our newest product line is Safety Suite Showers.  They

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.

Refinishing  to Create a Family Heirloom 
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.

Short testimonial on a refinishing job.
The great thing about the refinished antique approach is the cost.  For just a few hundred dollars, you can have a true family heirloom restored in pristine condition.  All the memories associated with the tub are now enhanced.  Instead of a tub lying in a field gathering rust, you now have something to be proud of and a family heirloom for the next generation. 


Watch this short testimonial video.
Colors can make a huge difference in your bath choices.  Whether you want to introduce your school or favorite team colors to your bathtub or just decorate a bathroom with a matching colored tub, have some fun with this.  If you want to change the color in a few years, that’s another option you have.

In this article, I shared information about the ease and usefulness of being able to color antique and new Clawfoot tubs in your college, NFL team or designer colors. This process is long lasting and can ensure that your family heirloom Clawfoot tub can be passed on to the next generation.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog.  To find more articles like this type in “Claw foot tubs” or “Tub Refinishing” in the search box.
If you’d like to receive a free copy of our Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ guide, fill out the form below.


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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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Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. HIs companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to alan@tubking.com.

Why is Home Remodeling so Ideal in the Spring?

No More Pain in the Drain

Photo Credit: youbeauty.com
We’ve all been there, first thing in the morning … trying to shave or brush our teeth, only to hear that annoying sound coming at us from the bathroom sink drain: glug, glug, glug.  You know what I’m talking about, the precursor to a drain clog that I refer to as “pain in the drain.”  
You may have some more colorful ways of coining the phrase, but like it or not, drain clogs come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes all it takes is a plunger and a little elbow grease to sort it out and get the drain to flow full force.  Other times it causes you to reach for a bottle … of drain cleaner, I mean.   Or, as with more stubborn clogs, to call a plumber.  If that’s what’s bothering you, fear not, because I’m going to show you how to keep pain in the drain from ruining your morning and perhaps the rest of your day.
Photo Credit: treehugger.com
To begin with, the worst time to take on a drain clog is to wait until it stops cold.  For the most part, pipes and drains will give you subtle hints that a stoppage is near by either slowing the flow of water to a crawl or by making those strange, animalistic sounds much like the ones your stomach makes after eating too many jalapeno peppers.  When this happens, don’t make the mistake of reflexively reaching for the bottle of drain cleaner.  While caustic solutions can sometimes clear a clog, they can also slowly eat away at the pipes themselves.  This can result in a much larger plumbing bill somewhere in the not- too-distant future when the pipe ruptures.
There’s also the very real possibility that you could accidentally splash drain cleaner on your skin or in your eyes, either of which could necessitate a trip to the ER.  If you absolutely want to try using a chemical solution to loosen up a clog, try the following recipe that’s guaranteed not to burn either you or your pipes:
Photo Credit: plumbing-geek.com

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
If you’ve ignored the subtle warning signs of an imminent clog and now your drain has stopped cold, you need to take remediation to the next level.  This means snaking the drain.  If you’re unfamiliar with these sinuous devices, you should know there are two types of snakes, both of which can be found at any hardware store: Manual and Power. 
Manual snakes are threaded by hand down the drain.  Most have a T-shaped handle at the end which allows you to turn the snake.  Power models can be hooked up to a drill.  Either way, these devices are used to latch onto and pull out the clog.  They’re not designed to push the clog down the drain.  If you do this, all you will accomplish is stopping the drain even further.  You’ll also put a smile on the plumber’s face when he comes to your home only to discover a deep-seated clog that will take all his skill and professional gear to remove. (Also beware of powered snakes, since these can also cause injury.)
Snakes commonly come in 10-foot lengths for a reason.  If the clog is located close to the drain, these devices are just what the drain doc ordered.  These can remove hairballs, grease wads and other nasty stuff stuck in the first few feet of pipe.  (Sometimes simply removing the P-trap and snaking this out is all it takes to unstop the drain.)  However, if the clog is deeper-seated, take my word for it: it’s time to call a plumber.

An Ounce of Prevention

Photo Credit: liquidsculpture.com
If you want to be proactive, there are some preventative measures you can use on a monthly basis to help keep your drains clear.  One such remedy involves filling the sink to the top with hot water, adding a couple drops of dish detergent, then pulling the plug to let the water run out.  You’ll know the process is working if the water starts to swirl down the drain while making a slurping noise as it races through the pipes. 
Slow drains can also be helped along by the enthusiastic application of a plunger and a little elbow grease.  (This is especially useful after the application of the homemade drain cleaner detailed in the recipe above.) Bear in mind that if you are forced to reach for the plumber’s helper, then your drain is rapidly approaching the point of no return.  Better to use a little preventive maintenance to try to keep your drains happy.  Because if it comes to a choice between keeping your drain or your local plumber happy, I’m sure that you will make the right choice. 
In this article, I shared information about effective, preventive and safe steps one can take to prevent clogs and plugs of sink drains.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog.  To find more articles like this type in “walk-in tubs” in the search box.

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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If you’d like to receive a free copy of our Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ guide, fill out the form below.

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Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. HIs companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to alan@tubking.com.

Get Your Free GiftCard. Click Here. 
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