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.

  1. Kathy says:

    If you look for soaking and alcove tubs you can find some smaller sizes, although perhaps not technically a receptor tub, and mostly in acrylic.

    There are even some specialty very small soaking tubs just for feet, although most of these at around 30″ x 25″ or less are too small for a bath or a shower.

    https://www.wayfair.com/Kohler-Greek-48-x-32-Soaking-Bathtub-K-1490-X-KOH1685.html —23.4 inches deep $$

    Or the much more budget friendly: https://www.wayfair.com/Fine-Fixtures-Drop-In-or-Alcove-Bathtub-32-x-48-Soaking-Bathtub-BT106-BT-FINF1003.html –19 inches deep — the back is sloped around 10″, but reviews say it works as a shower/tub combo, esp. for a kid’s bath. $

    https://www.wayfair.com/American-Acrylic-48-x-48-Soaker-Corner-Bathtub-BR-49S-XCX1120.html Neo-angle $ (seen others in stores)

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Pam, the front of the tub in this photo looks exactly like my 1950’s tub, with the angled ends and line across the bottom. My tub is a regular tub, though. I’ve been trying to determine the manufacturer. Also, my bathroom has the same 4″ tile and trim, in those colors. Do you happen to know who made the tub and/or tile? My tub matches the tile.

  3. Patti says:

    Has anyone done further research on receptor tubs? I very much want one but have not had any luck finding it.

    Thanks

  4. Pam Krause says:

    I have one in my one bathroom house. It is white, cast iron and measures 36 x 38 and 11 inches tall. It also has a nifty corner seat! Remodelled the bathroom last year and kept it as is!

  5. Vicky Miller says:

    I need one of these corner shower/tubs for my small mid-century bath. I need a smallish one36x38. Any ideas as to where to find one? I’m in Pittsburgh, PA

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Patti says:

      Hi Vickie,

      So many of us are hoping to find a small Receptor tub for our old houses. If you happen to find a source, would you post it here? I hope someday Crane will reintroduce these small tubs.

      Thanks

    2. Andrea says:

      Comb craigslist in a 500 Mile radius. I searched for about six months and snatched up a pink one for my bathroom restoration.

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