A receptacle of water in which to plunge, wash, or bathe the body. The practice of bathing, although not so common in this country as on the continent, is daily becoming more general; and, in most large towns, there are public establishments, where, at a very short notice, warm, cold, and vapour baths, either plain, saline, or medicated, may be had. From the beneficial effects of hot baths, in sudden cases of inflammation of the bowels, and of cholera, portable baths, of various kinds, have been constructed, by means of which a hot bath may be speedily prepared in a sick chamber; and the apparatus occupying but little space, can be easily stowed away when not in use. The annexed cut represents a simple and effectual apparatus of this description, invented by Mr. Benham, of Wigmore Street, Cavendish Square, a represents the ordinary bath filled with water to the proper height; b a furnace for heating the water; and c a fender to keep in the fuel and ashes; at the end d e the bath has a double case, at top and bottom of which there are apertures communicating with a double-cased boiler that entirely surrounds the fire.
The water thus heated naturally ascends and enters the bath at e, while the cold water to supply its place enters the boiler at d; thus a continued circulation of the water is effected by this arrangement, so as to heat it very quickly, and by a small fire, more conveniently and agreeably situated, than if placed under the bath as usual; f is a pump, the lower end of which dips into a small well at the bottom of the bath for discharging the water; g is a small wrought-iron flue; the whole runs upon castors.
In Mr. Hick's portable baths, a broad shallow flue of metal is constructed underneath the bath, and in the flue is ignited a determinate quantity of the oil of turpentine, or other inflammable liquid, supplied from a reservoir above, in the side of the bath, and regulated by a stop-cock. The vapour arising from the combustion is earned off by means of a tube, into the apartment in which the bath is placed. By a slight modification of the foregoing plan, the patentee purposes to employ the flame of condensed inflammable gas for heating the water rapidly; and in the water may be infused herbs, or other medicaments, for patients who may be labouring under cutaneous diseases. By these arrangements, a portable warm bath is prepared in a few minutes.