This section is from the book "American Plumbing Practice", by The Engineering Record. Also available from Amazon: Plumbing: A working manual of American plumbing practice.
(Published In 1891.)
H. D. Wood, C. E , of Boston, who resided at Paris a number of years, in referring to the foregoing article on Paris bathcarts, sends further information as follows:
"There were three good ordinary bathhouses within a quarter of a mile of where I lived, each having from 30 to 50 bathrooms. These averaged about 6x10 feet, and the furniture consisted of two chairs, a looking-glass, two shelves, with a comb and brush, a shoe horn, a pair of slippers, a decanter of water, and a glass, a bootjack, coathooks, and a square of cork 14x18 inches to step out on. The charge for a plain hot bath was 16 cents, with a discount if buy. ing six tickets at once. The attendant furnished hot towels at the rate of 2 cents apiece, when rung for. Soap was extra, as in all continental Europe. A printed schedule of extras was hung in each room, including soaps, bran baths, almond-cream baths, etc , hair wash, services of barber or pedicure, also a list of cordials, lunches (hot steaks, chops, etc.), all furnished by the attendant. Besides the plain bath, there was the complete bath, in a larger room, with a sofa, lounge, a sheet spread inside of the tub, so that the body does not touch the metal, and a towel over the cork mat. Price, about 20 cents. Also one or two rooms for shower, hose, etc., baths; and six or eight rooms with iron or porcelain-lined tubs, for medicated baths. These establishments furnish Seine River water. In the cheaper districts, the bathhouses are supplied with canal water, which is not of so good a quality, nor as clean
*' The public washhouses, sort of charitable establishments, where, for a few cents (nominal price) a woman may have the use of washtubs and hot and cold water for doing her laundry, and also the use of a drying closet, usually have a few bathrooms attached. These are more especially for the use of the poorer class (here a tramp may get a bath, and have his clothes washed and dried, while he waits). The object of the washhouse is to help those living in one room, as the police regulations forbid any laundry work done where a person has but one room to live in.
" The shape and form of the Paris bathtub is such that when sitting back at the head of the tub one has water up to the shoulders. That is the way the bath is prepared for the customer. If sufficient water were used here to get the "same depth I fear the boiler in the $300 house you speak of would give out often, and even in the larger house, but I may be prejudiced.
" One appliance used in the bathhouses is a portable brass tube about the size of an ordinary standing overflow plug, which the attendant hooks on to the hot-water faucet when he fills the bath. The cold water being turned in at the same time, the hot water is delivered under, the body of warm water mixes quicker, and no steam is thrown out in the room.
" The Paris bathtub is somewhat larger than those in common use here; they are generally of planished copper, thick enough to stand common use without any wooden frame or boxing. The portable ones are on castors, and the stationary ones are set upon blocks an inch or two from the floor, and the outlet sets over a floor catch basin connected with the drain pipe, so that a tub can at any time be removed for tinning or repairs without affecting the plumbing; all the water pipes and faucets being made fast to the wall and located at the middle of the side of the tub. There are several shapes and styles, weighing from 70 to 88 pounds, holding from 75 to 120 gallons. In estimating for water-works, or for bathhouse tanks, a bath is called 60 gallons.
" In the more thickly built-up sections, where bathhouses are numerous, the carts for portable baths are drawn by the attendant, and carry two bathtubs. A horse is used in the less populous districts. In either case the cart consists of a barrel set on a two-wheeled frame, on top of which are placed the tubs. On a shelf in front are two copper pails with large cork floats for carrying the water upstairs, the pails being hung on the ends of a stick slung across the shoulder of the attendant. Usually on the cart each pail contains a closed doubled-lined copper cylinder in which the towels are carried and kept warm by a hot-water lining. The barrel is filled with hot water at the bathhouse tank before starting, and this water is carried up to the apartment with the bath, and cold water taken either at the kitchen sink or taken up from the faucet in the yard. When all the baths on the team have been delivered the attendant, before starting for home, lets off the remainder of hot water from the barrel into the gutter, and frequently small shopkeepers help themselves to a free supply of hot water. Thus the attendant lightens his return load, as it would be of no use taking the water back to the establishment."