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.

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