Bathtub with indoor plumbing is introduced to Seattle in 1870.

  • By Greg Lange and Priscilla Long
  • Posted 11/04/1998
  • Essay 186
In 1870, Seattle gets its first bathtub with indoor plumbing.

At the time, bathing was not prevalent. However, the practice of washing the body was on the increase. Things had evolved since the Middle Ages in Europe, when bathing was considered bad for health.

People had wash basins in their bedrooms. There was also a washtub, kept in the kitchen, for more extensive bathing. Water for this bath was heated on the stove.

The bathroom as we know it today, with toilet, sink, and bathtub, was extremely rare across the United States. And, though there was plenty of soap around, it was used mainly for laundry.

People did not use soap for personal washing until after 1882, when Proctor and Gamble introduced Ivory soap.

Sources: Myra L. Phelps, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History, The Engineering Department, 1875-1975 (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 198; Merritt Ierly, The Comforts of Home: The American House and the Evolution of Modern Convenience (New York: Three Rivers Press, Random House, 1999), 62-64, 150.

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