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History of Clawfoot Tub
Author: Chris Zhao

Clawfoot tubs have become more and more popular in today`s bathroom remodel designs. Whether you`re looking to retrofit a clawfoot tub into your modern bathroom or just want to introduce the feature into your home, you might be curious as to how the tubs came about and what is available today.

Originally, clawfoot tubs were made of cast iron in the United States. The first tub was made by the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, now known as American Standard, in 1883. The early versions of the tub were sold for other purposes, such as farm animal feeding, but the 1883 model was introduced specifically for personal bathing. Other manufacturers began to introduce their own models shortly after, including Kohler and Crane.

The clawfoot design made installation of the tub easier into homes. Since rudimentary plumbing lines were necessary and there was the risk of the tub leaking, the raised clawfoot design was ideal for installation purposes.

The early designs of the clawfoot tub featured a rolled rim and a lot of bathing space. The American design was large enough for an adult man to lie in, while the European design was shorter and deeper, with a ledge.

Older clawfoot tubs were usually cast iron and heavy and often set on reinforced floors on the first level of the home. The tubs were coated with enamel to protect the iron underneath. Vintage clawfoot tubs may need to be recoated if the enamel has chipped, discolored or begun to flake off.

Feet styles varied on older tubs. Feet may be a basic, functional design or more ornate. The ornate feet were often designed to match popular furniture styles at the time. If you want to buy a vintage tub, make sure it has its original foot-style. Retrofitted feet that don`t match the tub`s original style can lead to instability and cracks after installation.

Clawfoot style tubs today are not usually made of cast iron and don`t require a special installation. Cast iron can retain cold and heat because of its conductive properties, so the tubs may become cold in chilly weather and take a long time to heat up with the addition of warm water.

You`ll find modern clawfoot tubs in a variety of materials, including fiberglass and acrylic. These materials are not as conductive as cast iron and are easier to clean than enamel coated cast iron tubs. Modern clawfoot tubs are also lighter than the vintage models and don`t require a reinforced floor in most cases.

Modern clawfoot tubs come in a variety of styles, including slipper and pedestal. Slipper tubs have a higher back for a more comfortable seating position. The higher back provides a headrest for those who like to recline in the tub in a sitting position.

Pedestal tubs actually sit in a base instead of being raised up on feet. A doubled-ended clawfoot tub has rounded sides and a double-ended slipper tub has high backs on both ends.

Clawfoot tubs, whether vintage or modern, can give an antique feel to your bathroom. Consider other features, such as Venetian blinds, to complete your overall room design.