Small shower receptor bathtubs

small vintage bathtubIs is a shower base? Is it a bath tub? Yes. I went to an estate sale last Thursday. A lovely, rambling mid century colonial-ranch… all picket-fence Americana like… quite sweet. The two bathrooms upstairs were pastel delights — but the real prize was this small bathtub / shower receptor. I have seen these small tubs in old marketing materials, for example, in this 1949 Crane bathroom fixture catalog. But I have seen only one “receptor tub” in the wild. The estate sale manager said it was okay for me to take some photos for the blog, so here we have it — a petite receptor tub, in a rosy pink.

vintage bathtubWhy such a small bathtub? This seems to me to be a terrific idea if you don’t have much space… if adults prefer to shower… but there still needs to be a bathtub for a child.

The Crane brochure explains:

Requiring minimum space for installation, the Lahoma bath provides facilities for feet, sponge or shower bathing.

The Lahoma tub in the brochure measured 42″ wid by 31″ to the wall and was 12″ deep. It even had a little seat.

receptor bathtub neuvogue-bathtubAbove: A second bathtub in the 1949 Crane catalog was also billed as a receptor tub. The Neuvogue‘s proportions — 48″ across, 41″ to the wall — were more “Cinderella bathtub”-like. It is billed as having enough space for real bathing (for an adult, presumably).

kohler mayflower tubThe Neuvogue’s dimensions are actually quite similar to those of the Kohler Mayflower tub (above), now discontinued. However, the Kohler Mayflower is not fully recessed on three sides — it is a neo-angle. The Mayflower is 48″ x 44″. It retailed for $3,360. Yikes.

As I recall, Eljer (I *think*) still offered a receptor bathtub until the early(ish) 2000s. But then it disappeared.

small bathtub
The receptor tub in the estate sale house was in impeccable shape. The tile around it — and wrapping the entire bathroom — also was beautiful and gleamy and clean and I loved it all.

This story gets filed under Bathrooms/Tubs, Bathrooms/Shower Bases and Woddities, all three!

be safeUPDATE: Read this story — Understanding potential lead hazards in old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age — which raises awareness regarding the potential for lead dust exposure from old tubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age. Get with your own properly licensed professional to assess your own situation regarding this and other potential hazards in old homes and materials. Be Safe / Renovate Safe.

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Comments

  1. Terri says

    I will get pics of mine (the tile is not nearly so gleamy) and a pic of the triangular one that is in a house I know is for sale.

  2. rebellemichelle says

    Do you know of anywhere that still makes them in this size? we have a tiny bathroom in an old row home in Baltimore and we redid our bathroom and had to put in a shower pan, but since we only have one bathroom I would like to put a tub back in when we renovate again which will probably happen in the next few years. We are just shy of 4 feet if I remember correctly and we couldn’t find anything that didn’t need heavy repairs or that was sized right for us. (we had to get rid of ours because it was badly damaged)

  3. Elizabeth says

    The foot washing aspect mentioned in the promotional literature makes total sense to me. When I was a kid in the early ’60s, growing up on a farm, we didn’t bathe every day. But we were required in summer (when we ran around barefoot all day long) to wash out feet in the bathtub before bed each night. Ironically, this was not completely out of a sense of personal hygiene. It was to stop the bed sheets from getting too grimy!

    • pam kueber says

      Growing up in the 1960s, I do not recall that we bathed every day. My parents also came from rural backgrounds. I recollect getting a bath once a week when I was small. I’m not sure when the “you must shower every day” imperative kicked in, in America…

      • Mr Kim says

        I was born in the seventies and I remember clearly my mother bathed me once a week and, later told me to do so at least once a week (not that she was particularly unhappy if I did more than once, except for the wasted water).
        When governments started taking into account environmental issues,
        I think it was in the eighties (or maybe late seventies), they started with the «shower instead of bath» campaign. Which caught on, and, this enabled people to actually have a shower every day. Because bathing was very cumbersome. For some it was even a luxury.
        In any case, it’s interesting to realise how furniture and decoration is directly linked to social change. And regardless of a particular taste for this or that style, studying how people actually decorated their houses offers a very complete picture of how their lives were.
        So, yes, be aware of the many sociologists and anthropologists that might be keeping an eye on Retrorenovation. You might be the next topic of a graduation thesis 😉 heehee

  4. Ree says

    I have a square one with a corner seat in the master bedroom of my 1955 MCM house and I love it. My 1-year old grandson loves to take a bath in it. When I “refreshed” the bathroom about 4 years ago, the contractor said to save the tub, which I was going to do anyway, because you cannot find them anymore at a reasonable price. Getting it out would have been a huge process too since it is cast iron and the doorway was narrow. I had it resurfaced and it looks brand new.

  5. JKM says

    I had one of these in an apartment I lived in one year in school and my friends and I found it so odd. I’d never seen one before and haven’t seen one since. It was too little to sit in comfortably but one could sit on the edge. The building, probably built in the early 1960’s, would have always been inhabited by students since it was only blocks from the university. I’m sure it was originally white but by the time we lived there in the early 1980’s, it was a sort of dull gray – yuk – and I never sat in the thing!

  6. Peggy S says

    I have 1950s wall tile in my bathroom this color. Does anyone know what the name might be? I need to find this tile in case any of the wall tile is damaged when tub is replaced. I know I’d have to exchange samples to get it exact, but I’m just looking for a place to start. Thanks! Peggy

    • pam kueber says

      Sorry, Peggy, way too many companies to even begin to guess. Send your sample to Chippy at World of Tile (see my stories) to see if she can help you.

  7. Kathy K says

    I have a receptor tub identical to the pink one above, but in a jade green color. It was refinished white by the previous owner. When we moved in one year ago, there was a tiny chip in the white coating. One year later, I noticed that the chip was growing and beginning to curl. 6 hours later, I had the entire tub scraped clean with a razor scraper. It is green once more, but etched and streaky. Any ideas on how to improve the surface? I don’t expect shine, but blending away the streaks would be nice. I love my little green tub!

    • pam kueber says

      Kathy note my UPDATE: Read this story — Understanding potential lead hazards in old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age — which raises awareness regarding the potential for lead dust exposure from old tubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age. Get with your own properly licensed professional to assess your own situation regarding this and other potential hazards in old homes and materials. Be Safe / Renovate Safe.

  8. Sue Flynn says

    My husband and I are purchasing a 1927 American Four Square home and were surprised to find the unusually small bathtub in our upstairs bathroom. I am pleasantly happy to find this website and to know our bathtub is called a receptor bathtub! I love the uniqueness of it and can’t wait to take a picture and post for everyone to see.

  9. teri says

    I have been looking for these for about two years now. We have a home built in the 1800s and have a bath that is so tiny and has a very little shower. Well I was on a trip to WVA and stayed at a hotel that had ones of these little tubs. Anyway I thought what a great idea and could not believe no one makes these anymore. Well I started a search again today and found Honolulu Foot Bathtub. It is 27 x 46.5 x 15.2 inches. Have any of you out here heard of these, because they sound like the modern day version of this bathtub? I think I just may order one and the are only around $250.00

      • teri says

        OK now I am confused, not sure what the difference is between a shower receptor and a small bath tub. Please help explain this so I do not go out and spend $ on something that would not work.

  10. patty says

    I have a pink bathroom and would love to buy a tub like this,its just the right size,where can I find one in pink

  11. Kathy K says

    The tub pictured above is a Kohler Standish bath. I found it on the Kohler website labeled “discontinued.” I’ve been hoping to find a matching toilet for the green one in my second bathroom. Now I know what to look for. I think my green is called Fresh Green.

  12. shannon says

    One of the bathrooms in my parents house has a tub like this. For years my step mom talked about tearing it because of “design/decorative issues”. I’m so glad I found yall, now if I can only convince her to go with the barbie theme I’ve been pushing for since 1990.

  13. teri says

    OK now I am confused, not sure what the difference is between a shower receptor and a small bath tub. Please help explain this so I do not go out and spend $ on something that would not work. I di know that these small tubs are not just like the ones from the 40’s but seem to be good choice since it is darn near imposible to find the old ones.

  14. Patti says

    Kohler has a 54″ tub that might work. I prefer the smaller size but this might be a solution. What do you think?

    Kohler K-746
    Seaforth 54″ Enameled Cast Iron Soaking Bathtub for Alcove Installations with Right Drain

    Seaforth Collection
    Length: 54
    Width: 30.25
    Height: 14
    Material: Cast Iron
    Installation Type: Three Wall Alcove

  15. Jeff says

    I salvaged a small tub from a 1924 house we were demolishing. It is a white, cast iron tub, built in application, with a left drain. I saved it because I had never seen one before. It is a Kohler 305-42×36-1S, I was calling it a half size tub or mini tub but it would make sense if it is actually shower receptor/tub combination. Contact me if you are looking for something like this and I can send or post pictures. I have the original drainage piping also if that is desirable.

    • Donna Petralia says

      Jeff, first of all, thank you for rescuing the tub. I wish more contractors would follow your lead. Did you list the tub on Craigslist? I am searching for one just like that in Ca.

  16. Lori says

    I just bought a house and there are THREE of these tubs! I may keep one, but definitely not all three. I was just thinking to trash them but after reading your blog I realize that someone out there might be looking for it. Do you think Craigslist is the best bet?

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