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Bathtubs Fun Facts

Bathtubs may be humble, but they can also be fun!

By John LimboPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

The humble bathtub. Whether we’re relaxing in an evening bath or taking our morning shower, some of our most private moments are spent in it. How often do we take a moment to realize just how versatile this unassuming fixture really is? So much more than just a place to clean ourselves or soak and soothe tired muscles, below is a list of just some of the other diverse uses of the bathtub.

Bathtubs can help you work. If you have ever lived with an author, you know how intensely focused they become on their work in progress. You also know that people who do not live with authors don’t understand that just because the author is home it doesn’t mean they’re available to chat because even the briefest interruption can pull them out of their story and leave them unable to write for the remainder of the day. French author Edmond Rostand was no different. He didn’t want to turn any of his friends away because he was writing but he hated the interruption to his work. To solve his problem, he started writing in the bathtub so his friends could be turned away because he was “in the bath” and he could still work. It must have worked because in 1898 he published his (now classic) novel “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

Bathtubs can help you wet your whistle. When Prohibition made it illegal to produce and distribute alcohol in the United States in the early 1920’s, both the big and small alcohol producers turned to making alcohol at home. We’re pretty familiar with the age-old image of the Moonshiner with his brown jug and shotgun sitting in his rocker on his porch in the Appalachians but in the bigger cities a different setup was required. Stills were set up in kitchens to produce small batches of 200 proof alcohol, the most common of which was Gin. To turn this into something drinkable, the Gin needed to be watered down by half. Unfortunately the jugs were too large to fit under the faucet in the kitchen sink but the one in the tub worked perfectly which resulted in this bad tasting alcohol being called “Bathtub Gin”.

Bathtubs can help you solve the mysteries of the universe. Greek mathematician, Archimedes is known for his work with levers, pulleys spheres and cylinders. He also had a great interest in optics and mirrors. Archimedes is best known, however, for discovering the law of hydrostatics (displacement). According to the popular story, the King of Syracuse, Hieron tasked Archimedes with finding a way to prove his new crown was not made of pure gold even though the goldsmith claimed it was. Archimedes thought and thought but could not find a way until one day while taking a bath he noticed how water level in the tub would rise when he got in and fall when he got out. He was so excited by this discovery that he leapt out of the tub and ran through the streets naked shouting, “Eureka”. While it’s highly unlikely this brilliant man actually ran through the streets naked, his new discovery did result in him being able to tell the King that the goldsmith had cheated him.

Bathtubs can help keep you entertained. According the Facebook page for Monopoly, the longest game of Monopoly played in a bathtub lasted 99 hours. In 2017, Hasbro, the company that makes Monopoly decided to upgrade the tokens for the game. Over 50 new options were developed and the company put out word for the world to vote on replacements for the boot, thimble and wheelbarrow and one of the new options to vote for was a bathtub. The new tokens ended up being a Tyrannosaurus, Penguin, and Rubber Ducky which although not actually a bathtub, is at least bathtub related.

Bathtubs can take care of your pets. There are several versions of a particular story about American poet Dorothy Parker and her love of animals. One version states she was given an alligator egg, another a baby alligator, and yet another that she found the baby alligator in a box in when she got in a cab, left behind by the previous occupant. No matter how she ended up with the alligator, the end of the story is the same. She put the egg or baby alligator in her bathtub but had to hurry and leave for an appointment. At this point in the egg version, the egg hatches. In all versions, the maid comes in to clean the bathroom and, upon seeing the alligator quits immediately leaving a note which reads, “I have resigned. I refuse to work in a house where there is an alligator in the bathtub. I would have told you this before, but I did not think the matter would ever come up.” Of course, if you’re in Arizona and have a pet donkey, you’d be wise to not keep it in your bathtub since it’s against the law there.

Bathtubs can save your life. There is a story that originated in England during World War II about a young woman who was taking a bath during an air raid over London. Her home was hit by a bomb, the impact causing the bathtub to be thrown into the air, turning upside down and landing on top of the woman, sheltering her from the other effects of the bomb. When rescuers, digging through the debris of the destroyed house looking for survivors, came upon the overturned bathtub they were rather shocked to find a naked, but otherwise unharmed woman inside. It is unclear whether this story is true or not. Questions such as, “Why would someone decide to take or stay in a bath during an air raid?” leads one to think that although entertaining, it’s more fiction than fact.

Who knew the bathtub is such an amazing bathroom fixture. So much more than just a place to clean up in or relax, it can add so much to our everyday lives. At the very least, the stories about it can keep us entertained and give us a laugh.


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