Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 October 1957 “There is Nothing Like a Bath”


“A hasty plash and dash may do a surface job of cleaning. But it’s time to revive the ancient art of bathing as one of life’s greatest satisfactions”

This article from a 1955 magazine of mine exclaims that in America (at the time) there were thirty million bathtubs and a number of ‘uncounted’ showers.

Though daily bathing as a norm then, in 1955, many older people most likely still had a sink wash daily and a bath/shower on Saturday. For most people, including my age group, in the 1950’s daily showering may have been the norm. Though washing one’s hair was a one time a week occurance for women. It is for me, today as well. I usually wash and set my hair on Friday’s. Other day’s my hair is protected by a shower cap.

This article goes on to mention that even those still using a bathtub as a means of cleansing oneself, the ‘art of the bath’ was something altogether. I have to say I agree.

bath2 Bathing has meant, for past civilizations, something quite important. The Greek word for ‘bathe’ meant: “ to drive sadness form the mind” and the Japanese call bathing “the washing of life.”

bath3 Ancient Romans baths, called thermae, were a social affair. Even the walls of their baths were rubbed and anointed with oils to herbs to give off scents.

bath4 The 18th century well to do enjoyed slipper of chaise longue shaped baths, filled by servants carrying gallons of hot water up flights of stairs to their boudoir, usually placed before a fire.

Benjamin Franklin brought the first bathtub here from Europe, but the United States colder climate and ill conceived plumbing did not see actual baths prevalent until the late 19th century with the advent of the shower and enameled baths.

bath5 This was probably a scene my fictional 1957 me would have been told of by my grandmother who would have been familiar with the odd boiler cranking away coal or wood fire to heat the bath.

Here is a list of 1950’s relaxing bath tips: bath6

Here are some fun to make homemade luxury bath recipes

Ginger Cinnamon-Salt Body Scrub by "AJ"
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup almond oil or olive oil
Mix all ingredients together, then gently rub over your damp skin (except your face) to slough off dry skin. Rinse with warm water. Save remaining product in a wide mouth jar for easy use later.
Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Scrub
Exfoliates and is very moisturizing but doesn't leave a greasy feeling. Before you turn off your shower scoop a small handful of scrub into your hand. Rub gently onto your skin. Rinse.
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup ground oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 cup pure honey
3/4 to 1 cup (or to total saturation)
Oil of choice - I use Jojoba, Grape seed or Sweet Almond
1/4 tsp Essential or Fragrance oil of choice (optional) Vanilla works nicely. Though this smells great on it's own.
Mix the brown sugar & oatmeal together in a large bowl. Now add the honey. Drizzle the oil over the mix. Mix well. When all your mix is saturated and sinks to the bottom of the bowl and you have oil on top you're done. Add your essential oil or fragrance oil. A six or eight ounce wide-mouthed jar works nicely. Spoon mixture in.
Almond and Bran Scrub:
1/2 cup very finely ground almonds
1/2 cup coarse wheat bran
*1 cup hot green tea
10 drops lavender essential oil
Mix the almonds and bran. Add the tea; stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Cool just to body temperature. Add the lavender essential oil, thoroughly blending the mixture. Use this scrub as often as once a week.
* Green Tea is for toning and a oily buildup.

I currently have a smaller bath tub. I appreciate and enjoy the water in the summer and am often in a pool or the ocean as much as possible. Come the long winter months, I crave a good hot bath, but our tub is so small that I rarely enjoy it. I am planning, some day, to install a large claw-foot in our bedroom. I once saw a bedroom with a tub installed in the room in front of a fire and thought it a luxury that also made sense in that one would not have the expense of adding an entire new bathroom and also needing the space to find for the bathroom.

How many of you enjoy a good tub?

Happy Homemaking.


  1. What a great post for this Fall weather! Thanks.
    -Rosana from Vancouver Canada

  2. My home came with 5.5 foot tubs. The width isn't much bigger than the standard of today but the length makes such a big difference. From what I can decipher the shower heads were added later.

    I too have been washing and setting my hair weekly. I feel more put together because it allows me the time to style my hair daily in a way that washing and using the blow dryer doesn't. My hair feels heather as an added bonus. I shower daily because I came of age when this was the norm and I just don't feel clean otherwise. I think it's really a good marketing campaign to sell more soaps and the like.

    I love the top picture of the woman in the pink bathroom!


  3. I LOVE my claw foot bath tub, but think I use it too rare. Since I fill so many litres in it I also think I should spend the time and really enjoy it. As part of my anti-stress plan I have named Wednesday as bath tub day -that is today! :) DH has installed loud speakers in the ceiling, so I lie there and enjoy my favourite music – which can be everything from Mozart to Sinatra, depending on my mood. I also have a bubble mat which I can place in the bottom of the tub and then enjoy a bubble bath, really great massage, but quite noisy. I enjoy the silence. Time and silence are the main luxuries in my life. I have a collection of nice salts and bubbly soaps on glass shelves - I love to have something to choose from. Lying there I feel like a queen or movie star, afterwards I feel like a new and better person. I really think I should do this every Wednesday. I will think of you in my tub tonight. :)

  4. I never knew that bathing was such a big deal! It makes me want to take a bath! I can't wait for colder weather! Thanks for the post. I love it.

  5. I really love taking a bath with candles lit and music playing. That may not be so 50's like though. I don't do it very often but I enjoy it on occasion. :)

  6. AMy M-that sounds VERY 50's to me. Music playing, candles, bubbles. A time when home conveniences were allowing us time to relish the solitude. I feel, for most people, that existed for a very short time. Today with costs, values, and two income families all the 'conveniences' of the 2010's leaves very little 'bath time'. But, hey, maybe texting is relaxing, I don't know.
    Sanne-what a wonderful set up. I envy you your tub. One day I shall have that dream tub installed.
    sarah-lucky you!

  7. I love a good bath but right now my belly sticks out far above the water. At least that's better than poor Spouse who practically folds his 6'3" frame in half to take a bath! Still, we manage and even keep a store of candles in the bathroom so we can have soft light and no rattle of the loud fan (that doesn't actually do anything bt make noise) that comes on when you switch on the light.

  8. Just luv your blog 50's gal! I'm a 40's gal myself! Would love you to visit me at

    Thanks for the look back!

  9. Aaaahhhh, baths are one of my favorite ways to relax. Our new home is almost complete and my big splurge was a claw-footed tub. It has the high "slipper" back, so I can sit up, but still have enough water to soak. We have been without a tub for the last five years and I can't wait to have my first steamy hot bath!

  10. I have an anthology of Nancy and Sluggo comics beginning from the 1930s. In a 1950s strip, Sluggo was jealous of a friend who was bragging about how energized he felt after taking a "shower bath." Apparently showers were a novel activity that only the well-to-do could afford.

    I'll have to make one of your bath scrub recipes if/when our renovated bathroom gets done! Susan

  11. When I met my husband he still thought showers were something posh people had (there is still no shower at his mum's.) It was ages before he would take a bath for relaxation when he had the option to shower.

  12. Here in our country there's a place where people take a bath in a large vat and underneath was a burnt pile of wood. It just like you were cooking. It still exist nowadays.


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