This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
Shower Bath. The apparatus for a shower bath consists mainly of a large sprinkler, which delivers the water downwards in fine streams like a shower of rain.
The chief objection to plunge baths is that skin diseases are liable to be transmitted from one bather to another, unless the bath is thoroughly scrubbed after each bather has used it. For this reason, plunge baths are objectionable for public use; they are, however, considered quite safe for family use.
Hospitals, asylums, etc. must be provided with a large number of baths to accommodate the patients, and as each plunge bath occupies a large area (about 12 square feet), it is often found that sufficient space cannot well be obtained for the desired number of baths. In such cases, spray or shower baths, or a combination of both are often used. A shower bath consists of a sprinkler or shower nozzle attached to the end of the water-supply pipe, at a point about 7 or 8 feet above the floor, which is made waterproof and furnished with safe strainers at suitable points. The chief merit of the shower, or rain bath, as it is sometimes called, is that excretions or scales from one bather's skin cannot possibly come in contact with another bather. In a tub or plunge bath the water is cleanest when bathing is commenced, and at the period when clean water is most required, that is, at the finish of the bath, the water is most foul. In a rain bath, however, the water is clean at all times, because it is continually changing and none of the water comes in contact with the person more than once.
23. The shower-bath apparatus is so arranged that hot or cold water can be obtained as desired by regulating the discharge of hot and cold water cocks, or if steam is the heating agent, by regulating the volume of steam discharged into the cold water as it flows through the feed tube to the nozzle.
The best method of heating the water by steam is to place a copper or brass tube inside the cold-water feedpipe, admit steam into the top and have a drip pipe from its base to carry off the water of condensation. The cold water becomes heated as it flows around the steam tube towards the nozzle. A graduated disk, representing the resulting temperatures when the valves are opened, should be attached to the steam valve so that the handle can be turned just enough to admit sufficient steam to give the desired temperature to the water. As a safeguard, however, a thermometer should be attached to the water pipe before it reaches the nozzle.
24. A needle and spray bath consists of a frame of perforated pipes, which partially surrounds the bather. The water is projected horizontally in fine streams or spray upon all parts of the body above the knees.
25. The douche is designed to project a stream of water upwards from the floor, either in a solid jet or in a spray. The jet is often attached to the strainer, which is set in the middle of the safe. All three varieties are often combined with the shower baths.
All jet or spray baths are provided with suitable hot and cold water pipes, which deliver the water into a mixing pipe before it leaves the jet. The mixing pipe should be provided with a thermometer, so that the temperature may be regulated before the bather exposes himself to the water. The thermometer must be so enclosed that its bulb or mercury chamber is in actual contact with the water, otherwise the indications will be very unreliable.
If the entire bathroom floor is not water-tight, a rubber cloth curtain should be hung by rings from a suitable rod overhead, so that it can be drawn together and be made to enclose the whole apparatus. This will prevent the water from falling outside of the safe in which the apparatus is located. The curtain should be open at the top.
Jet and spray baths are frequently set up within a stall or alcove, which is lined with marble slabs, or other impervious sheathing. They are also combined with bath tubs usually of the Roman or French style.
The floor room required for a shower or spray bath is usually from 3 1/2 to 4 feet square.
26. Bidets consist of a pan or bowl having a seat like a water closet and a jet of water which is projected upwards. The pans are made of porcelain or of copper, and are 'also made in one piece with the support. They are usually fitted with hot and cold water connections and with a mixing pipe, which should have a thermometer attached to indicate the temperature of the water. Sometimes the pans are fitted with a standing overflow and plug, by which water may be retained in the pan.
To have the use of a bidet jet without a special bowl, a bidet arrangement can be attached to an ordinary water-closet seat, by means of a clamp, secured to its under side. This arrangement, however, is liable to leak, and otherwise get out of order, and consequently, is seldom used.