Rare Ann Arbor Antique Find – 1920’s Clawfoot Tub

With any Antique or Vintage product, I love researching the history of each item.  Whether it is a simple match strike plate from the late 1800’s or a Clawfoot Tub from the 1920’s, there is always a story to tell.

Early versions of the Clawfoot tub were used for other purposes, such as a hog scalder or a horse trough.  It was almost an afterthought to use this type of tub for bathing.  As with most innovations, an indoor bathing room with a tub was a sign of wealth and status.  The bathing tub was usually elevated and set in the center of the room.  Since the weight of the tub was heavy, bathing rooms were usually found on the first floor of the home.

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The cast iron Clawfoot Tub was first produced commercially in the United States in 1883.  Until this time, bathing was not considered “popular” among the general population due to lack of resources (time, effort, inconvenience, winter, accessibility to water resources, etc).  With the invention of indoor plumbing came demand and affordability for these types of bath tubs.  Along with these innovations and demands, indoor bathing rooms became more decorative.  With time, however, the heavy Clawfoot tubs were replaced with tubs built with lighter materials.  During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Clawfoot tubs were no longer popular and were removed from homes and either destroyed or thrown away.

Recently, there has been a renewed demand and resurgence of Clawfoot Tubs in Europe and the United States.  Remember the old tag line, “Out with the old, in with the new”?  Nowadays, old is the new “New”.   

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This is what makes this Antique Clawfoot tub a rare find.  It is in very good condition and was recently removed from a house in Ann Arbor – so the plumbing is still attached and in good condition. 

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