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Vintage Tubs and Bath Fixtures

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I enjoy doing DIY projects around the house. It's a great way to make use of free time.

It’s rather ironic that in the 21st century, some of the most popular decorating trends for new homes and remodeling jobs come from the past. Of course, antique furniture never goes out of style, so I suppose the same is true for vintage bathroom fixtures.

The vintage tub and bath idea is taking the U.S. by storm. Antique clawfoot tubs are going for unheard of prices at auction houses across the country, and major businesses have sprung up that specialize in refinishing these vintage clawfoot tubs.

When it comes to a vintage tub and bath, the Victorian period is perhaps the most popular. This period ended at the beginning of the 20th century. Another popular period for the vintage tub and bath design is the Art Deco period, which began around 1925 and lasted through much of the 1940s.

What Does "Vintage" Mean?

Vintage means old, from a certain era. When you use the word vintage to describe furnishings or décor, the term often denotes a classical period for that specific item or items. For example, the classical periods for bathrooms and bathroom fixtures is usually considered to be 1900 through the 1940s. This includes the end of the Victorian period and the beginning of the post-World War II era.

The Vintage Bath Tub

The vintage bath tub might take many shapes. The original tubs were usually made of cast iron and had an enamel finish. A modern replica of a vintage bath tub might be constructed of cast iron or of acrylic.

One of the most popular types of vintage bath tub is the clawfoot tub. These are generally made of cast iron with an enamel finish. Most of the clawfoot tubs are raised off the floor by “legs” or “feet.” Many have what’s known as “ball and feet.” In other words, the clawed foot, which often resembles the clawed paw of an animal like a lion, is resting on a ball. The balls and claws might be made of bronze, brass, chrome, or nickel. These might also be made of white cast iron to match the rest of the tub. There are several styles of claw foot tubs.

Vintage tub - classic clawfoot

Vintage tub - classic clawfoot

Classic Clawfoot Tub

This vintage bath tub has one squared-off end and one rounded end. The rounded end is made to be comfortable to the bather, while the faucet is placed at the square end. Consumers generally have the most choices of sizes with this type of vintage tub. They range from 48 inches up to 72 inches in overall length.

Vintage tub: double-ended clawfoot

Vintage tub: double-ended clawfoot

Double-Ended Clawfoot Tub

This vintage bath tub has two rounded ends, so it’s an elongated oval in shape. The faucet is usually placed midway on the wall side of the vintage tub to allow for two bathers. These bathtubs are usually 60-70 inches in length.

Slipper bathtub

Slipper bathtub

Slipper Bathtub

The slipper bathtubs usually have one rounded end and one raised rounded end. A few slipper bathtubs have a square end, along with a raised rounded end. Slipper tubs are steadily gaining in popularity, not only for their visual appeal, but also for their comfort. The raised end makes the perfect backrest for long soaks.

Double slipper bathtub

Double slipper bathtub

Double Slipper Tub

The double slipper bathtub has two raised rounded ends. This type of slipper tub is usually 71-72 inches in overall length. The faucet is usually placed at the side of the slipper tubs instead of at one end. This makes it possible for two people to bathe comfortably at the same time.

Vintage tub - pedestal tub

Vintage tub - pedestal tub

Vintage Pedestal Tub

Pedestal tubs are also popular choices for homeowners who are looking for a vintage bath tub and a vintage tub and bath look. These tubs are basically shaped like the classic clawfoot, the double-ended clawfoot, or the double slipper bathtub. Instead of resting on legs, however, this type of vintage tub rests on a pedestal.

Copper clawfoot vintage tub

Copper clawfoot vintage tub

Copper Bath Tub

Another type of vintage tub is the copper bathtub. Most of these are in the shape of slipper bathtubs or double slipper bathtubs. Like the slipper tubs, these copper models usually have one or two rounded raised ends. Some of the copper tubs rest on feet, while others are freestanding like the pedestal tubs. Copper is a wonderful material for tubs and sinks because of its natural antibacterial properties.

Vintage Sinks

Sinks for a vintage bath, like the tubs, might take several shapes. These include pedestal sinks, console sinks, vessel sinks, wall mount sinks, basin sinks, copper sinks, or sinks in vanities.

pedestal sink

pedestal sink

Pedestal Sink

The pedestal sink sits atop a single pedestal. The shape of the sink can be round, square, oval, or made to fit perfectly in a corner.

console sink

console sink

Console Sink

The console sink rests on two or four legs. The models with two legs are mounted to the wall at the back edge of the sink unit. The legs can be straight, turned, or Queen Anne in style. The art deco console sinks often have chrome legs.

vessel sink

vessel sink

Vessel Sink

This sink sits atop of a counter or surface instead of being recessed into it. Vessel sinks can be made of glass, stone, china, or metal.

antique wall mount sink

antique wall mount sink

Wall Mount Sink

Wall mount sinks are mounted directly to a wall and have no legs or supporting cabinet or vanity underneath. They come in square, round, rectangular, and half-moon shapes. There’s also a model that fits into a corner.

basin sink

basin sink

Basin

A basin sink is dropped into a bathroom counter. They come in several shapes, including ornate ones like scallop shells. Some of the basin sinks may also be painted with a design to match your bathroom décor.

copper sink

copper sink

Copper Sink

Copper sinks come in several finishes, including smooth and hammered. Many are hand crafted, so no two copper sinks will be exactly alike. As with the copper vintage tub, the copper sink has inherent antibacterial properties.

A vanity sink

A vanity sink

Sinks in Vanities

Using a vanity in a bathroom is a good way to carry out a vintage look. Simply choose an antique cabinet that complements your décor and use it to hold your sink. The plumbing is hidden inside the vanity cabinet.

vintage toilet

vintage toilet

Vintage Toilets

The classic vintage toilet is the high tank toilet with the pull chain. If you don’t like this type of toilet but still want to maintain a vintage tub and bath look, you can always add vintage flush levers to more modern toilets. These might have a porcelain handle or a brass handle to continue your vintage bath motif.

Are You Ready?

I hope after reading this article and looking at the photos you now have some ideas for your vintage tub and bath. Remember, everything in the room doesn't have to be vintage to give your décor an old fashioned flair. You might consider adding just a vintage bath tub, like a slipper bathtub, for example. Not only do slipper tubs and other comfy bathtubs of vintage type provide interest, they'll also provide long hot bubble baths and great stress relief!

While you're shopping for your vintage tub and bath, browse the internet to compare prices!

Comments

arlene on December 08, 2015:

for Molly, I'm looking for the exact pedestal. I have the sink bowl. I've been tracking it down by the numbers under the bowl and this is what I found: Niagara Conservation Corp., 1800-831-8383, It's hopefully model West Minster. I don't know the manufacturer yet but I'm working on it. 12/08/2015 believe it or not I found a trade mark on the underside of the bowl and tracked it down.

Molly on December 21, 2014:

Thanks for this! We have a sink exactly like the first pedestal sink pictured here, but ours was recently broken during construction. Do you have any idea of the make/model of the sink pictured in your article?

bill on November 12, 2011:

got a tub in a storage unit that i bid on, and it had a cast iron tub{not clawfoot} it has angled ends, instead of round. would you know what it is?legs are about 1" thick and 4" wide, straight down.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 12, 2011:

Wow,I've never seen one of those! Take a pic and ask at antique stores.

grannyjo on April 09, 2011:

I have a vintage tub that has frog feet for the claws...is that unusual? I can't find any references online.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 10, 2010:

Many thanks for reading!

whitton on December 10, 2010:

Enjoyed reading your Hub! I think vintage tubs are great and they create a whole new look for your bathroom.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 22, 2010:

Thanks a bunch!

zuhr-akb from uk on October 11, 2010:

old is gold and vintage bath tubs and fixtures really stands out and could make a real difference with classic touch. good one .like that .

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 27, 2010:

Kellie, I've never seen a clawfoot tub like that! You might have something rare!

kellie on August 26, 2010:

Hi, I have a question. My boss gave me an old tub, the feet are fish. I never have seen one like that and can't find one on the enternet. Have you ever seen one or know anything about it.

Kellie, KY

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 24, 2010:

vintage clawfoot tubs are cool!

elf_cash on August 24, 2010:

I really like the clawfoot tubs.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 18, 2010:

Thanks, mhuze!

mhuze from USA on June 16, 2010:

Didn't realize there were so many types of vintage (clawfoot) tubs. They all look pretty cool to me.

Enjoyed your hub!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 23, 2010:

Glad you found treasurestrove, Dolores!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 23, 2010:

I love anything vintage, in fact my whole house is vintage. Those old claw foot tubs are so pretty. They look great for a long bath with a book! (I came here from a link on treasuretrove which I checked out after you recommended it in the forums!)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 21, 2010:

Thanks for visiting, Micky!

Micky Dee on April 21, 2010:

Beautiful tubs. I had a couple of these along the way! Thank you Habee!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 19, 2010:

Yeah, Jim. I know! Cookie cutter houses.

Springboard from Wisconsin on April 19, 2010:

I see that every time I drive through a typical modern subdivision. No character. Just houses. :)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 17, 2010:

Maita, thanks for stopping by!

prettydarkhorse from US on April 16, 2010:

they are antique, beautiful habee, Maita

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 16, 2010:

Sage, I do, too! I would love to have a slipper tub in my bathroom!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 16, 2010:

Lol, Katie - tub hub. Love it!

Sage Williams on April 16, 2010:

Nice hub, I have always loved vintage tubs and accessories. They certainly have come a long way.

Sage

Katie McMurray from Westerville on April 16, 2010:

habee, Really cool Tub Hub...I love the slipper tub. I'm a tall gal and our modern day tubs just aren't built for bigger folks it looks like the slipper tub would be perfect. I love how it's higher in the back for you to actually lay back and relax...Ewww I want one. Thanks for the great tub hub, just had to say that again. Peace :)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 15, 2010:

I love these vintage tubs, especially, virybo!

viryabo on April 15, 2010:

Fantastic hub habee. You know i love anything vintage and the past era pieces are always the best. They have so much character and were made with quality in mind.

Really enjoyed. Great photos.

Cheers habee.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

So true, Jim! I hadn't really thought of it that way!

Springboard from Wisconsin on April 14, 2010:

I think it's a trend I'm definitely happy about. I mean, back in the day there was so much more design and character, and intricate detail. Granted, there was a heart and a mind and an imagination behind each and every creation, and so really, these were artisans. Nowadays we focus far too much on static stuff—go to college and learn how to draw lines, and then tell a computer what lines to draw and where. We've lost something in that. Even though I'm sure some of this vintage stuff is created by the help of CAD, hopefully what we'll get out of it is some of that artisanship we had before. SOMEBODY has to have an imagination these days for something other than just creating game worlds. lol

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

Thanks, Pam!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 14, 2010:

Very nice way to redecorate. Good hub.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

Hi, Ann! I love the idea of the vintage tub, especially those slipper tubs!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

Nancy, cool idea about the "reading tub"!

Ann Nonymous from Virginia on April 13, 2010:

These are my style! I know we should celebrate our advanced indoor plumbing but i love the claw feet and especially in the slipper tub you uploaded a picture of! And the vintage toilet...priceless! Thanks Habee for making me wish for something I won't have for years if ever! LOL Great hub and pictures!

nancy_30 from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Great hub Habee. I loved all the pictures. I remember when I was in Elementary School, I think it was second grade, the teacher had a clawfoot bathtub in the classroom. She had it full of pillows and I loved getting in it and reading. Now I wish I had one in my bathroom. It would be great to relax in after a long day.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Audrey, I found my granddaughter riding Hamlet yesterday - literally!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Eth, they have small clawfoot vintage bathtubs, too!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Smireless, the comfy vintage tub is great for a long soak!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Thanks, Herbi!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Hi, Daisy! Mine too!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Sheila, we have one of those!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on April 13, 2010:

Totally awesome photos and love the 'old fashioned' look - isn't it funny how we do come full circle! Great job as always and makes me want to go take a nice, long soak since I just got back from riding the dogs - urban mushing makes you need a soak!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on April 13, 2010:

Those vintage baths are stylish but my bathrrom is just too small. I am not keen on the vintage loos perhaps because I remember them first time around.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Granny, never listen to your husband about decorating! lol

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Bpop, I want one in my bathroom!

Greek, good to see you here!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Yeah, Woody, that cast iron is a beeotch!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

"Back in the bathroom." Funny, HH!

Sandra Mireles from Texas on April 13, 2010:

These vintage tubs are wonderful. My grandmother had a claw foot bathtub. I loved getting into it! Comfortable!

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on April 13, 2010:

I LOVE the clawfoot bathtub!! I would love to have one of these! They bring such a charm an elegance with them!! Fabulous hub!

daisyjae from Canada on April 13, 2010:

Love these pictures! My dream bathroom would have a vintage tub like these.

sheila b. on April 13, 2010:

I once lived in an apartment with an old tub that was so big my little boy learned to float in it!

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on April 13, 2010:

Years ago I told my husband i wanted to take an old dresser and turn it into a sink for our bathroom. He told me I was nuts. Now look what's happening!

De Greek from UK on April 13, 2010:

I am all for these models :-)

breakfastpop on April 13, 2010:

Nice ideas. I have a pedestal sink very similar to the one you showed.

Woody on April 13, 2010:

when i built my house, we found an old claw foot tub that needed work. i had it sand blasted & refinished. it took 4 people to tote that thing up stairs. very heavy

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 13, 2010:

OOps, habee, is back in the bathroom again hahaha Seriously, they are wonderful suggesttions and I wish I could do my bathroom. Thank you for a wonderful hub.