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Things to Consider When Remodeling Your Bathroom

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In addition to cleaning, many homeowners also begin remodeling projects in the spring. After all, ’tis the season for renewal, fresh starts and new beginnings, right? Spring is a great time to reconfigure and re-create and remodeling fits right in.

Before you set out to remodel your bathroom, take a moment to evaluate what you already have.  Are you content with the size of the bathroom?  If it seems too small, there are several options available. 
One option, of course, is to make it bigger by simply rearranging the contents.  That means making better use of the space by removing old, cumbersome fixtures that may no longer serve you.  Let’s say you have an out-of-date, fiberglass shower-surround that was installed when the house was built 40 years ago.  It definitely takes up much-need space.  However, with a little effort it can be expertly removed and discarded.  But now, what do we replace it with?  An excellent option is to bring in a freestanding tub.

Photo Credit: tourfactory.com

There are several popular choices in today’s market such as the elegant porcelain/cast iron Clawfoot or Pedestal soaking tubs.  It might be the Slipper Tub design, with its high back that resembles Cinderella’s slipper, or the Dual-ended tub that offers attractive, symmetrical slopes on each end of the tub.  The Pedestal tub is also a contemporary favorite as it replaces the Clawfoot designs with a cast iron skirt at the bottom.  These cast iron/porcelain tubs all come in various sizes and can easily fill almost any space.  The point is, they won’t look like the standard, run-of-the-mill combo fiberglass tub/shower you had before.  Far from it. You are adding elegance and making better use of space.  

Photo Credit: tubking.com

An alternative approach, one that’s very much in-demand today, is the Safety Suite Shower. Available in different configurations regarding drain orientation (left, center, or right) and numerous colors/patterns, Safety Suite Showers offer a very open design with either a low threshold (usually four inches high) or a zero threshold so you can safely and easily walk or roll right in.  This is indispensable if a person is wheelchair bound or has trouble getting into a traditional bathtub.  They are extremely attractive with high tile walls and matching floor. There are various options regarding what type of built-in seat one can choose as well (fold-down, molded, etc.) Along with the shower itself, you can also choose various bathroom accessories such as bathroom paper roll, towel rack, and self, all of which are equipped with handsome, yet sturdy safety grab bars. The shower itself includes several strategically placed grab bars as well. Safety Suite Showers come in sizes ranging from 48- to 60-inch lengths, so that they can accommodate any size bathroom.

Photo Credit: nwtile.com

Another way to make better use of the space you already have is to consider doing away with the old laminate counter top and drop in sink.  Again, if your bathroom is 40 years old, the sink is usually large and takes up way too much space.  The counter top is probably a laminate variety that is already showing wear on the edges and maybe some lifting of the laminate from the pressed board underneath.  You can take advantage of some beautiful counter top choices now available.  Take, for example “natural stone.”  There is organic beauty in every stone slab.  The variations in each slab are unique and will amaze you.  The colors are spectacular.  The polished granite is highly stain- and scratch-resistant.  Another interesting option, as seen in the photograph to the left, is a combination of stone, granite and wood. Talk about natural beauty.

Since I mentioned the sink, if you have a tiny bathroom, go for a porcelain pedestal sink.  There are some slim, silhouettes out there that are perfect for a powder room or diminutive bathrooms.   The only drawback is that they offer almost zero storage space and a small deck space.  To work around this, many homeowners are creating niches in the wall for toiletries and other necessities. Unlike clunky over-the-shower headorganizers, a recessed cubby in a tub or shower surround gives shampoo and soap a permanent home that doesn’t take up premium stall space. 

Photo Credit: wallpapertren.com

If the floor of your bath looks bad, tear up that linoleum and replace it with “no-regret” tile floors.  If you want an easy-care floor, go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles such as limestone.  Unless sealed it’s been vigilantly, limestone (and other porous stone) will absorb drips and spills and become stained.  If you want a non-slip floor, choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes.  Another option would be “small” tiles with lots of grout lines, as these offer better “grip” than the larger tiles.

When caulking around tubs, sinks or tiles, it’s best to choose an acrylic caulk. It can be removed without the use of harsh chemicals so that replacement is easier.  And make sure it is mold- and mildew-resistant.
Most homes that are 50 years old or older offer an antiquated wiring service in the bathroom.  Over the years, the circuit has usually been abused by years of high-power hair drying.  So don’t just swap in GFI outlets.  Replace the wiring, too, with dedicated 20-amp circuits and plenty of outlets for all the appliances you use, from electric razors, and toothbrushes, to hair-straightening irons, hair dryers, etc.
Photo Credit: gardnerfox.com

If your bathroom is simply too small for any changes except expansion, then consider the following:  In most cases, the homeowner is not going to be happy with anything smaller than a bath  that is 3 to 4 feet wide by 6 to 8 feet long.  (Make sure to check with local codes for additional requirements.)  Some homeowners have found that by just taking out an adjoining closet, they can garner precious space without really changing the footprint of the house.  But if you must expand, contact a remodeling expert who can give you some viable options. If your lot is large enough, the contractor might be able to add a bathroom without interfering with any property lines or set-backs.  It’s important that he keeps the natural flow and design of your home.  Look at the roof style that you have in your home.  Can a gable be extended?  As you might expect, “expansion” remodeling is not cheap.  Just like new construction, it will require several sub-contractors, such as framing, floor covering, sheet rock, plumbing and electrical.  Ask for referrals, shop around and get several estimates, and then decide what you can live with.  Establish a budget that you can afford before you ever begin.

In this article, I discussed several options for homeowners to consider when remodeling their bathrooms.  I talked about replacing their current fiberglass tub/shower with a standalone cast iron/porcelain Clawfoot or Pedestal tub and/or going with the Safety Suite Showers. I also discussed various things to consider such as new sink and cabinet designs, replacing linoleum floors, upgrading the electric wiring, using acrylic caulk and more.
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.

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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.

Coming in June 2015 to Tub King! 
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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Why are Birthday Cakes Round … and Porcelain Tubs Oblong?


By Kerry Knight
Have you ever wondered how the tradition of the birthday cake originated?  
Photo Credit: tumblr.com
Believe it or not, it was in ancient Greece. Within the temple of Artemis, who was the Greek’s Goddess of the Moon, worshippers would bring honey cakes to honor the goddess, in the round shape of the moon. They would also place one or more candles on the cake to represent the light reflected from the moon.  

The tradition didn’t reappear in historical records until the Middle Ages in Europe where the Germans were given credit for the first “birthday cake.”  Young children were awakened on their birthday and presented with the round cake.  Only in this tradition, the candles represented the light of life.  The child was told to make a wish, then blow out the candles.  If they revealed their wish to anyone, the wish wouldn’t come true.   Likewise, if they failed to blow out all the candles, the wish would fail.   
Photo Credit: breakawayoutreach.com

Unfortunately, there’s no solid precedence as to how this part of the tradition got started.  But that’s the way it is with many traditions; they continue to get embellished with more folklore, customs and various and practices as the years pass.

Now, if you want to get mischievous and break an age-old tradition, bake a triagnular cake.  But just remember, Artemis may not like that.

Why Oblong Tubs? 

Birthday cakes are round (okay, sometimes rectangular), porcelain tubs are oblong.  Yes, there are round bathtubs, rectangular ones, square ones, but most of them are oblong.  There’s a reason.  The beautiful cast iron and porcelain tubs that date back to the Victorian period were created not just for bathing, but also for comfort. And here, the oblong shape did the trick.  
Several popular styles were created: 
Photo Credit: tubking.comtubking.com
The Traditional Roll Top is the style that most people have seen and most of today’s seniors remember.  The tubs had a slope on one end for reclining and the flat end for the plumbing fixtures.  When they came along, they replaced a wash bowl and pitcher, which most of our pioneer families used to “wash up” (see our previous blog, “Bathtubs in the Old West.”)  Submerging in warm water was a luxury that few enjoyed.  If there was a creek or pond nearby, that was your bathtub.  During winter months bathing was more marginal.  There were a few metal tubs, like tin or zinc, but most people just went without bathing.  No wonder they were eager for spring time to arrive. Spring cleaning also entailed being able to take a long-needed bath.  
The Slipper Tub offered a taller, sloped end to give a more dramatic sweep to the tub.  It was a huge success and had the look of a foot Slipper.  The plumbing end was rounded.  This elegant shape became popular among the aristocracy of France and England.  There was typically no plumbing involved.  Servants would heat water over an open fire and then carry pails of hot water and fill the tub.  They would continue to bring more hot water as the water began to cool.  That’s because those thin metal tubs would not keep the water warm for very long.
Photo Credit: tubking.com
The Dual-Ended Tub had a slope on both ends, so that the bather could choose either end for reclining.  This tub became an object of beauty and was a tub that was often displayed in the open.  It was also handy if two people chose to use it at the same time.
The Double Slipper Tub had the high slope on both ends of the tub with the drain and faucet centered in the middle of the tub.  It was by far the most elegant, gracious, and beautiful of all the designs.  This masterpiece of bathtub design was only used by the wealthiest.
There is one thing they all had in common: they were all oblong- shaped, designed for comfort.  The bather could lean back and relax in warm water for a longer period of time.

 A Bath a Day Keeps the Doctor Away


Along with the obvious comforts of luxuriating and relaxing in a nice warm bath, there were/are also definitive health benefits.  In addition to making one less odiferous, regular cleaning of our skin helps keep it healthy. Considering that our skin is the largest functioning “organ” of the human body, that’s a good thing. 
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In fact, warm water soaking has been a therapy since the beginning of recorded history. During more primitive times, warm water was thought to carry curative properties. The bath houses of ancient Greece and ancient Rome are a testament to that.  Many would come there to treat almost any malady.  The ruins of these bath houses are still being unearthed by archaeologists in many places throughout the world.
Today, we’re finding more and more advantages to using warm water to treat a plethora of human conditions.  Relaxing in an oblong-shaped tub can help with:
  • Poor circulation
  • Chronic back pain
  • Joint discomfort
  • Neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia

Photo Credit: healthpointphysiotherapy
In addition to helping you live better, water treatment may help you live longer. “Just sitting in hot water up to your neck aids cardiovascular health,” says Bruce E. Becker, M.D., clinical professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington.  He adds, “The ultimate purpose of the heart as an organ is to pump blood in response to physiological demand, so its best measure of performance is volume of blood pumped per unit of time.  Immediately after a person is immersed in a tub or pool, water begins to exert pressure on the body.  Cardiac volume increases by nearly one-third with immersion to the neck.”  Simply put, this means your heart gets a cardiovascular kick start just from sitting in a warm tub; this does not occur when you’re sedentary and dry.  Hydrotherappy can also be beneficial for certain pets such as dogs, and if you can find one like “Soggy Moggy,” even cats (see “Related Articles” below).

Since the body weighs less in the water, it takes the strain off injured or worn out parts of the body.  The warm water then relaxes and soothes aching or tired muscles and joints.  Just lean back in one of these porcelain tubs, and you’ll be tempted to fall asleep.
Photo Credit: tubking.com

So porcelain tubs are oblong-shaped for your body’s comfort and your overall health.  They disappeared from the public about 75 years ago, but are now making a resplendent comeback. We regularly ship these tubs throughout North America and beyond.

Tub King, Inc. offers these beautiful Roll Top, Slipper Tubs, Double Slippers, and Dual-ended styles today at fantastic prices.  The cast iron exterior speaks to their durability.  The porcelain interior is a testament to their beauty.  We can also custom-color the tub’s exterior and interior for your specific interior design needs. 
We now have a new exterior painting process, which we proudly call our “Artisan Series” (see our previous blog “Are You Looking for a Bathtub That Really Stands Out?”) These feature the ever-popular Slipper tubs in elegant Hammered Copper and Hammered Steel models. 
Photo Credit: tubking.com

In this article, I talked about the history of the beloved birthday cake and the advent of oblong bathtubs. Ialso discussed several different porcelain tub shapes and touched upon some of the many benefits that can be obtained from sitting in a warm, oblong-shaped bathtub.

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.

 Testimonial for a Cast Iron, Porcelain Pedestal Tub
If you’d like to receive a FREE Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
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Check out Tub King’s End-of-the-Year Sale on Clawfoot Tubs. Click Here to Learn More.

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” 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.
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Bath Tubs in the Old West

By Kerry Knight
Photo Credit: gallowglass.org
What I’m about to share with you might shock you.  As much as it’s become a near-daily ritual to we moderns (especially in the U.S.), throughout human history, bathing has not always been considered a necessity.  Even within the last two hundred years, bathing was considered a luxury in which few availed themselves. 
Back in the 1980s when I toured the castle at Versailles, outside of Paris, I was astounded to discover there was not one bathtub in the entire castle, and not even one bathroom.  If royalty wasn’t bathing, imagine what the common people must’ve smelled like.
Now let’s fast forward to the Old West in our own country.  A cattle drive from Kansas to Texas would take a month.  Did they carry a bathtub along?  No.  How about a wash basin?  Not likely.  Many rashes and serious skin conditions were caused or aggravated by a lack of proper hygiene. Infrequently, if the cowboy got to the point that he just couldn’t stand himself, he might go to a take a dunk in a nearby river or stream, but that was it.  He would sometimes pack a bar of homemade soap in a saddle bag.  If they did stop to take a bath, most would put the same dirty, unwashed clothes back on.  Even as late as the early 1900s, bathing was considered of minor importance.  Many believed that bathing too much could cause illness.  
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While to discuss the sweet-scented history of perfumes and colognes would take an entire article ― an interesting one at that ― suffice to say that in lieu of bathing frequently, early Americans, like many other cultures throughout the ages, used scents and perfumes to help mask the scent of their not-so-clean bodies. In early America, the first were colognes and scented water were exported by French explorers to New France (a vast portion of Canada and the U.S., encompassing the Great Lakes all the way down to New Orleans). Also popular was a scent called “Florida water,” which was a simple mixture of eau de cologne with a dash of oil of cloves, cassia, and lemongrass. 
 
As a young boy, I heard stories of great uncles who lived on a farm.  They would take a bath in the spring as the weather began to warm.  In the winter they would wear the same long johns all winter long.  They must’ve smelled pretty darn “ripe” come spring time. Aren’t we all glad we didn’t live back then?
Photo Credit: monstermarketplace.com
I’m sure many of the cowboys of the Old West, when they got to town after a cattle drive, would go to a bathing house and pay a nickel for some warm water and a tub, especially if they were looking to find a woman later on. Bathing was just not catching on, that is until the advent of indoor plumbing.  You see, early tubs had to be filled by hand.  Water would be heated over a fire and poured into the tub.  By the time it was full, the water inside the tub was already turning cool.  Tubs were made of tin, zinc, copper and  wood.  I personally owned a tub that dated back to the mid to late 1800s.  It had an interior made of zinc and the outside was mahogany.  It was very small, only about 48 inches long.  

Interestingly, due to inadequate nutrition and other factors, people weren’t as tall back then, especially the ladies.  Usually houses were much smaller back then, sometimes just one room.  Including a bathtub was considered a waste of valuable space.  Again, men would choose to bathe outside, in a lake or stream, when the mood hit them.  Women were more confined to the inside, with a basin of water and a wash cloth.  On rare occasions, like a wedding day, they might visit a lake with a bar of soap.
Photo Credit: tubking.com

Soon after indoor plumbing arrived in rural America in the 1930s, bathtubs started to be viewed in a different light. No more trips to the outhouse or streams, especially in cold weather. With the new addition of running water, especially hot and warm water, people began to look more closely at personal hygiene.  Bathing regularly actually became a good thing.  People learned that doing so could contribute to  good health and much better social relationships, because people smelled better.

Eventually people began building a separate room for their bathtub, and even turning this small room into an attractive addition.  With the advent of the cast iron and porcelain sink and Clawfoot tubs, the stage was set for a bathing revolution.  Even in the Old West, the finer hotels offered the beautiful and stylish Clawfoot tubs and Slipper tubs.  Many movies have immortalized this relic of antiquity.
Photo Credit: mobmit.com
Those today who wish to add this gorgeous Victorian look to their current bathroom can do so with the resurrection of the old porcelain tubs.   Classic porcelain tubs such as the Roll Top, Slipper, Double Slipper and Dual-ended can be purchased today.  They are newly cast and offer attractive designs and finishes on the majestically sculptured legs that support them.  Who knows? Two  hundred years from now, your great-great grandchildren might be talking about your Clawfoot tub.  It will still be there long after we’re gone.

In this article, I talked about the history of bathing and bathtubs in the United States, particularly in the 19th century and in the western portion of our country, commonly referred to as the Old West. I talked about bathtub designs, materials, the “how-to” of bathing back then and more. 

Testimonial for Cast Iron Pedestal Bathtub by Tub King

If you found this article useful, please share it with your 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.


 
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” 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.

Check Out Our End-of-the-Year Specials. Click Here for More Information.

The Cinderella Slippper Tub

By Kerry Knight
Everyone remembers the Disney classic, “Cinderella.”  As she rushes from the Ball, as midnight approaches, she loses her slipper.  The Prince will eventually find her, but only after he puts that slipper onto her foot for the perfect fit.

There is a deep soaking bathtub that has been appropriately named, the Slipper Tub.  One end of the tub has a very tall, and pronounced slope, thus resembling a slipper.  The sloped end is 29 inches from the floor to the top of the rim.  The opposite end is 21 inches tall.  The faucet is located on the side of the rolled top, so that one can conveniently control the water  flow. 

The slipper tubs are made of cast iron with bright, white,

porcelain glass  covering the interior.

The Slipper comes in several sizes.  All tubs are measured from outside rim to outside rim.  The width is a consistent 30 inches.

The 57 inch slipper would be appropriate for the petite body.   The 61 inch Slipper is for the average frame.  The 67 inch would be more for the taller person.

The Slipper comes with majestic metal legs, ornately designed.  They are available in chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, or a color of choice.

The Slipper can be accented with a color on the outside the tub, other than white.   Popular colors have been candy apple red, midnight black, and buttery cream.

The Slipper tub often comes with a tub caddy, which is a metal tray that reaches across the width of the tub.  This is the ideal place for the glass of wine or your favorite book.

The Slipper tub has appeared in more movies than any other style of tub.  It will forever be known as the sexy tub or the glamour tub.

Another variation of the Slipper is the “Double Slipper.”  

This one has the tall slope on each end of the tub.  It reaches 72 inches in length and can be the tub of choice for a couple wishing to bathe  together.  It is a monster in size and a real beauty to behold.  The dual symmetry of the tub makes it a perfect choice to be centered  at a large decorative window in the bath.  The ornate legs that support it are even larger than normal, and also can be purchased in chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze or a color of choice.


The Slight Slipper also has the high back on each end without such a pronounced  slope.  Some find this one to be even more comfortable.  It is 71 inches long by comparison for the back.

And we all know, it’s not just the beauty of these tubs that attract us.  It’s also the comfort and relaxation that it offers, when you fill these deep tubs with warm water, place the towel at the nap of your  neck, close  your eyes, and forget about the day’s drudgery.

In this article, I have discussed the Slipper tubs and its other variants, the Slight Slipper and the Double Slipper. I  discussed all the benefits, the dimension and the varieties for this glamorous tub. Because this tub has been featured in so many movies, it is always remembers as a sexy and glamorous tub to bath in. This tub is so beautiful that people sometimes forget how relaxing and comfortable this tub is in use. If you found this article to be useful please pass it on to your friends. Leave a comment or tell us your slipper tub story in the comment section (PG only) below. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you. Thanks again for sharing this journey together. 

Until next time keep smiling.


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 3 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 History Behind Clawfoot Tubs

By Kerry Knight

Ever wonder how the idea of a clawfoot tub came about?  Well, it all goes back to ancient Europe.  Royalty has created some fine art, either by design or decree, and the deep, soaking tubs sitting upon legs or claws of animals, is one of them.

Unlike the bathing pools in ancient Rome or Athens, the soaking tubs were personal and private.  They had no faucet holes, so the tubs were filled with warm water by servants.  They were made of many composites such as stone, wood or  alabaster.

Eventually, with the passing of time, cast iron molds were made in the shape of deep tubs.  Porcelain glass was poured or sprayed over the cast iron.  Many were made to sit upon the legs or claws of animals, such as the lion or bear.  Some legs would bear the image of fish, eagles, turkeys, and even gargoyles.  These designs were also made of cast iron.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century,

the claw foot tub was manufactured in America by many foundries, offering a variety of sizes and shapes.  The length of the tub was always measured from the outside.  There were 48 inch tubs designed for small adults or children.  Then they increased in 6 inch increments:  54 inch, 60 inch, 66 inch and 72 inch.  


Most were called traditional roll top or rolled rim.  They were designed with a dramatic slope on one end and a more upright design for the plumbing holes on the opposite end.   Tens of thousands of these tubs came off the assembly line, and many can still be found today.    

Many of these will be banged up pretty bad, with cracks, chips and missing porcelain.    There is a great demand for those who can refinish and restore the old tubs to some semblance of their glory days.

Today, the foundries that once thrived in the making of these tubs are gone.  However, there are still ways to find newly manufactured ones.  Many American companies import newly made cast iron and porcelain clawfoot tubs from different parts of the world.  Not only will you see the roll rim design, but also dual ended, slipper tubs and even double slippers.  

Like the tubs of old, these new ones are designed to last a hundred years or more.  The legs are even more beautifully designed and can be made of chrome, brushed and polished nickel, and even old rubbed bronze.

For those looking for elegance in bathing and rich accents to their architecture, the new and improved clawfoot tub is still available. These tubs can be ship anywhere and can make any bathroom beautiful.



In this article, I have discussed the history of the clawfoot tubs and how it originated in ancient Europe. I also discussed how the many varieties came about and how there is a strong demand for those who are skilled in the restoration of these tubs. Today manufacturing of these tubs has shifted from American foundries to being imported by US company that specialize in the beautiful tubs. This article also lists many of the specific styles of tubs available to chose from. If you found this article to be useful please pass it on to your friends. If you have a comment leave it in the box below. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you. Thanks again for sharing this journey together.


Until next time keep smiling.


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 3 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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