Five different brands — six designs — of “relaxation units” — places next to the toilet for your toilet paper, magazines — and smokes

Longtime readers surely know about “Relaxation Units” — recessed caddies for the bathroom situated next to the toilet to hold all your necessary supplies — toilet paper, magazines, even your cigarettes — in one easy-to reach spot. Some 1963 publicity indicates that some of these even had towel bars that were heated! Hall-Mack Relaxation Units (image from a catalog in my collection, shown above) seemed to have been the most widely distributed, but over the years, with the help of readers — thank you, all! — I’ve collected examples of five different makers: Hall-Mack, Family Hospitality, Satin-Glide, Perma-Bilt, and one “mystery” unit. America was booming … errr, relaxing! — with Relaxation Units!

#1 — Hall-Mack Relaxation Unit:

hallmack-relaxation-unitSarah is among a number or readers who have reported that their homes came with a Hall-Mack Relaxation Unit in their bathroom. Hall-Mack was such a big, national name, that surely this must be the most common brand we still see in the wild.

Hall-Mack Relaxation Unit’s distinguishing features:

hall mack bathroom ashtrayAnd lookie (above), discovered in July 2019, a smaller horizontal unit Relaxation Unit, circa 1956, in an online catalog here. :

#2 — Satin Glide Relaxation Unit: 

I spotted this Satin Glide Relaxation Unit in a 1963 catalog for Satin Glide steel bathroom vanities and cabinetry. So cool you could get your relaxation unit painted, too.  

Satin Glide Relaxation Unit’s distinguishing features:

  • The interior was painted
  • Shelf bottom below toilet paper and smoking nook was thick meta, painted.
  • Magazine rack had straight back.
  • See the complete catalog here.

#3 — Family Hospitality Relaxation Unit:

Above: Kristopher has a “Family Hospitality Relaxation Unit.”

Family Hospitality Relaxation Unit’s distinguishing features:

# 4 — Perma-Bilt Relaxation Unit:

And reader Helen hit a jackpot when she spotted two, New Old Stock Perma-Bilt Relaxation Units at a local ReStore. A true dream find for those of us who get excited about things like NOS Relaxation Units! Note: On the photo above, there is protective tape on the front molding protecting the original chrome finish.

She says:

Distinctive features of the Perma-Bilt: on the horizontal shelf below the TP roll there’s a strip of chrome. They also had matching aluminum magazine rack bars stamped “Universal”.  

#5 — Mystery Relaxation Unit:

relaxation unit vintageHelen also found this “mystery” unit. No markings. It is distinctive for that extra shelf above the toilet paper and smoking nook. Oooooh: A mystery to watch for solving!

Thanks to all the readers who have sent their woddities to me! After nearly 10 years of blogging: Are there any more out there I haven’t seen or featured yet?! Stump the chump! Keep them coming!

  1. Dana says:

    This is so cool but what about the toilet paper?! Since moving into my 1920’s on the outside/1950’s on the inside home, I’m getting frustrated because the new MegaRoll toilet paper doesn’t fit on the built-in toilet paper holder. Anyone else have this problem?

  2. Sally says:

    We had one in our last home similar to the Family Hospitality unit but ours did not have the magazine rack just the toilet paper holder and the little cubbie to the right. I never knew what it was for so I just put cool paper wrapped soaps and little funny bathroom books on the shelf. If I only knew I should have had smokes! ????

  3. ChrisM says:

    Did you notice the wall hung toilet in photo#2?
    Never saw that in a private home. Sure would make cleaning easy!

  4. linoleummy says:

    la573 says

    There isn’t a thing in the Satin Glide photo I wouldn’t love having in my bathroom….
    The painted inside Satin Glide RU-dreamy.

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