The History of Bathtub Design and The Most Popular Styles

We are exploring the history behind the bathtub's design and the most popular styles, from freestanding to roll-top bathtubs to 20-century fire clay baths.

The end of the 19th century saw Europe and the US move into a period of industrialisation and urbanisation. Frequent epidemics plagued big cities because of the lack of proper sewage systems. Strict sanitation laws were issued in the US that prohibited the construction of new houses without a toilet and wash facility and closed down places without such an installation. The need for a home bathroom was in high demand. In the UK, the clockmaker Alexander Cummings invented the s-trap plumbing system. A carpenter named Joseph Bramah combined this invention with a flushing system and started cooperating with manufacturers such as Wedgewood to make ceramics for the bathroom. Bramah was the first reseller of an item we call the WC, known as the water closet. His invention, which he sold in a shop in St.Giles in London, was expensive and difficult to mass produce. A functioning sewage system was still lacking in London, and water was polluting the soil.
Installing running water in homes made it easier to get water to fill a bathtub; however, they needed to be heated using a kettle. Wood and charcoal were replaced within a few decades with gas, and electricity and bathrooms were installed with boilers. Apart from clean running water, installing sewage systems was essential to a more hygienic London. London produced a fully functional sewage system by the end of the century. Clean water and sewage systems were now available for most of the population. By the 20th century, most households had a bath, and the term "bathroom" was first coined, often an extension of the bedroom. Brass and zinc bathtubs were the most popular material, slowly replaced by cast-iron enamel baths. There was an enormous choice in style, from oval bathtubs to straight-back bathtubs for a more comfortable soak, often designed with feet in the shape of a lion's paw or eagle's foot. Ceramic glazed fire clay bathtubs were introduced later in the 20th century, often on square feet representing the art deco movement of the time.

Our focus is on timeless and traditional design classics. This is reflected in the style of bathtubs we offer.

Beginning with the iconic bateau-style bathtub, regarded as both luxurious to experience and a design classic. The design of the Bateau bath is credited to a French designer and manufacturer, Joseph Delafon, in the mid-19th century. Bateau translates as "boat" in French, has the distinctive roll top of the tub and is said to look like the bow of a ship. The symmetry of the bateau invokes the overall shape of a boat providing a utilitarian feel to a bathroom. Our bateau boat bath is manufactured in light weigh acrylic, and we can offer it in any colour imaginable.

Our original Roll-top copper bathtubs are made in the traditional hand-crafted manner used for centuries. Traditionally the copper bathtub was placed in a bathroom in front of a fireplace, evoking memories of a luxurious way to bathe. Famous for their traditional appearance, roll-top baths first appeared around the 1800s. The wealthy and upper classes first adopted roll-top baths. These were often freestanding tubs and raised in the centre of a room. Those interested in luxury would sometimes have a roll-top bath in their master suite for ultimate luxury. There will be gentle undulations and slight colour variation in our finish offering an antique and weathered quality we look to promote in many of our products. Hence, every bath is unique to you. Copper baths are excellent heat conductors and will maintain the water temperature much longer than cast iron versions. Copper roll-top baths remain warm to the touch even after emptying. We achieve our beautiful Antique finish on our verdigris option by applying sulphuric acid and chalk powder before sealing with lacquer for a durable finish. We then add a patina effect on the outside of the bath. Our roll-top baths are available in an antique and polished pure copper material. We also have a copper exterior, interior nickel option, and tin. The roll-top boat bath is also available in Brass, sculpted with beautifully formed brass sheets to create the classic roll-top bath look.

Inspired by the early 20th-century fireclay bathtub design, we offer the Senator, Magnus and Bampton bathtubs. Produced from a unique cian material for better durability and heat-retention, these styles provide the height of luxury and are available in multiple sizes and colours.
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