13 November 2009

From the Cleanliness Bureau

In 1956, LIFE magazine ran an article titled 'A Treasury of Old Tubbery', which featured a number of historic bathing apparatuses. The one I've selected to share is from the 1880s; it was originally described as 'the common sense invention of the age'. My immediate reaction is to wonder what inventions would be considered nonsensical, but then we live in a time when the home bathing experience is enhanced by colored lights, musical scores and even vibrating tubs.

Nota bene: The omnipotent Google has made available the contents of a huge number of LIFE issues online; if you have a soft spot for blasts from the past, I guarantee you'll spend hours and hours paging through them. I did.


  1. I'm almost positive there were no naked women in 1956, though there were lots of them emerging from bubble baths, a completely nonsensical invention. I'm expecting modesty bubbles lost among ever more abstract pixels in your example where today an immodest but perfectly photoshopped bottom would artfully protrude. For what it's worth, Adobe's Permissions and Trademark Guidelines states very clearly that "photoshopped" is obscene and improper, or maybe just incorrect. "Trademarks are not verbs," they caution. Hmmm, I didn't know that. They would much prefer Today, the young woman's bottom [no guideline here] would be "enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software, or Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® software, which you'll have to agree is much catchier than photoshopped. Anyway, another perfect image, photoshopped or not, for the Friday nostalgia series. To paraphrase Goethe's apocryphal last words, "LIFE, more LIFE."

  2. It shall be so.
    Your comments are always appreciated, evanjones.


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