English: Kids bathing in a small metal tub. Th...
English: Kids bathing in a small metal tub.
The tub reads "SWANCE". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Alan Knight

Whether we admit it or not, we all have stories to tell about “bathtubs.”  Our lives have been affected since our youth by these porcelain monuments.  I can remember playing in bath water with small battleships, prizes from cereal boxes, and even submersible submarines.  It was the only way mom could get me into a bathtub.  I would even look forward to my evening baths.

Bathtubs make for interesting conversation, the world over.  One of the oldest discovered bathtubs was found in Knossos, the ancient Minoan city.  Archaeologists, at the site of King Minos' ancient palace the remains of a 5 foot tapered bathtub, probably belonging to the Queen.  It was most likely filled and drained by hand since there was no outlet.  It was painted Terra cotta and was covered in a bas-relief of reeds.

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Bathtubs were pretty common among the wealthy in Greece.  Many tubs have been discovered, dating back to 500 B.C., and surprisingly, they look very much like bathtubs today.  These ancient tubs were even self-draining, and their design followed from the wisdom of Hippocrates, who said, “Sitting in a tub is much healthier than reclining.”  The Romans were known for their public baths, although private baths can be found in the ruins of Pompeii.  The Greeks were known for bathing in cold water, whereas the Romans preferred the warm water.

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Obviously, the British town of BATH played a significant role in the advent of modern bathtubs.  The springs were originally discovered by Prince Bladud, the father of King Lear, who founded Bath and dedicated it to Minerva.  When the Romans arrived, they rebuilt the baths from back home on a smaller scale and introduced their modern technology of plumbing.  Around the 6th century the Romans had to abandon Bath and the city was taken over by Barbarians, who had no appreciation for this innovative technology.  In time the baths fell into ruin.  The Middle Ages were no better, as Christians rejected anything Roman, thinking that bathing was unholy and a sign of decadence.  By the sixteenth century bathing was back in vogue and was in full swing by the eighteenth century.  Cleanliness was still not considered very important and people were prone to use perfumes instead of bathing.

A man by the name of Richard Nash, a known gambler, was a trend setter during his day, and has been given notoriety as changing attitudes about bathing.  He claimed there were health and medicinal value to bathing, based on his own experiences, and the idea caught on.

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The first bathtub in America was claimed to have been imported by none other than Benjamin Franklin.  Millard Fillmore was the first president to introduce a bathtub in the White House in 1850.

Now, after our trip through history, let's look at some more interesting trivia about bathtubs:

In Arizona, it is against the law for donkey's to sleep in tubs.

In Minnesota, all bathtubs must have feet.   (I doubt this one). 

In Pennsylvania, it is unlawful to sing in the bathtub.

In Missouri, installation of bathtubs with four legs resembling animal paws is prohibited. (They need to get together with the Minnesotans.)

An old law in Kentucky required citizens to take a bath at least once a year.

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About 365 people drown in a bathtub every year.  By comparison, only 350 are struck by lightning.

The longest Monopoly game played in a bathtub lasted 99 hours.

Edmond Rostand, a writer, did not like to have his writing interrupted, but at the same time, he disliked turning his guests away, so he did most of his writing in the bathtub, thus giving him a good excuse for turning away visitors.

A friend gave Dorothy Parker a small alligator as a pet.  She put it in her bathtub, one day and left.  Upon returning, she found a note from her maid.  “I am resigning.  I do not wish to clean your house with an alligator in the bathtub.  I would have mentioned this point sooner, but I didn't think the matter would ever come up.”

During the bombing of Londonin World War II, a young lady was taking a bath when a bomb struck her house.  It blew the tub out of the house, and later the tub was found upside down with the naked girl still underneath unharmed.

And one more, in 1917 H.L. Menckin wrote an article about the history of the bathtub and it was published in the New York Evening Mail.  He claimed that as the bathtub gained popularity in America, the American Medical Association claimed that bathing was hazardous to the health and should only be administered under medical supervision.    About ten years later Menckin claimed that the whole thing was just a joke.  So, although trivia can be fun, don't always take it as the real truth.    The only real truth is, “Bathtubs are here to stay.”

Check out this short testimonial video.

If you’re looking for a bathtub or shower to complement your bathroom, we have one that will fit your budget, taste and design needs. We carry a wide variety of Claw-foot tubs including the elegant slipper and double slipper tubs. We have ultra-modern solid surface tubs designed to fit homes with modern decor. We have a variety of Walk-In tubs with many therapeutic options like air and water jets designed to make bathrooms, safe for the elderly and provide them relief from aches and pains. We even have a variety of safety suite showers designed to accommodate wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. These showers have little or no threshold and make it easy for anyone to get in and out even in a wheelchair.

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In this article I have provided a lot of fun trivia about bath tubs and bathing for your enjoyment pleasure. At, we hope you found this article useful, worth reading and fun. Take the time to have fun in your life and if you feel it’s appropriate, share this fun trivia article with friends and family and don’t forget your co-workers as well. If you want to read more articles like this, enter your search term in the search box at the top of this blog. We have over 100 articles available for your reading pleasure. If you have a comment related to this article, please leave it in the comment section below.

Until next time. 

Would you like to receive a free copy of our walk-in tub buyer’s guide? Fill in the form below and we will send it to you. 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.  


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.

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Alan Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville,  Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, the company is also multiple time award winner, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you would like to contact him, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at

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