Treasure Hunting for Bathtubs

When I think of a treasure hunt, I am reminded of the ancient artifacts, items covered in gold, precious items that people hold onto and pass on from generation to generation. In order for an item to fit this description, it has to have staying power. It must be durable, important and part of our everyday life.

Check out Claw foot tubs are back

Years ago, when we first started in the bathtub business, and  before cast iron/porcelain tubs were being manufactured again, my brother and I were always looking for the old clawfoot tubs, which could be refinished and sold.  We would visit wrecking companies, and plumbing supply houses to see if they had any of the old tubs that we could buy and restore.  Sometimes we would see tubs sitting outside of homes, being used as flowerpots.  We would stop and ask if the owners wanted to sell them.
For a long period of time, the clawfoot tub had virtually disappeared.  No foundries in the U.S. were casting these tubs because everyone was going to fiberglass.  So, the old style, claw-footed tubs, as beautiful as they were, disappeared.  Those we could find were always in high demand.

I remember delivering several antique sinks to a customer out in the country who lived in a farmhouse.  We had refinished these antique sinks for him, and as we off-loaded them into his living room, I noticed a huge cast iron bathtub sitting right in the middle of the floor.  It was a dual ended tub with massive claw legs.  It was 75 inches long and 35 inches wide.  It was extremely rare ... and I wanted it.

I asked the customer what he was planning to do with it.  He said he and his wife were going to bury it in the back yard to make a goldfish pond.  I quickly said, "I'll pay you $300 for it."  They were hesitant, so I sweetened the pot a little.  "Okay, how about $300 plus the three sinks I brought you, no charge."  The couple looked at each other.  The wife said, "Dear, that will pay for all our tile work."  The husband thought about it and said, "Okay we'll do it."   Music to my ears!

We eventually sold that tub for over $4,000. How? The tub was very rare.
Today, tubs that size and shape are being recast again.  We can provide customers with the same basic tub for under $2,000.  Customers like it for reasons beyond price.  Since it is newly cast (new porcelain), it does not need to be refinished.  The legs are now plated with chrome and brushed nickel, instead of the old cast iron legs that rusted.  New faucets and hardware are readily available for the new tubs in designs that were not even available a hundred years ago. In essence, you can now own a beautiful claw foot tub that will last another hundred years without having to spend months on the treasure hunt trail. You won’t have to spend many hours and a lot of money resorting it. You can just buy and have it professionally installed it with matching fixtures, ready to enjoy, admire and use.

There has never been a better time to purchase one of these beautiful porcelain/cast iron clawfoot bathtubs.  You have so many design choices and the price is extremely low.  It will definitely add to the value of your home, and the hours of personal enjoyment cannot be easily measured.

In this article, I told you some of our treasure hunt stories, where we searched for old claw foot tubs so we could restore and sell them. Today, anyone can own one of these beautifully functional tubs, no treasure hunt needed. In fact, there are more choices, sizes and color combinations now than ever before. On top of that, prices are very reasonable. It has never been a better time to own a beautiful claw foot tub.

See our double slipper tub.

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.  If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In 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 will personally get back to you. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you. Thanks again for visiting with us.Until next time. 

Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and 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” three years running. If you would like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at or

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