Cast iron enameled tubs are now so well made that the porcelain lining adheres firmly to the iron and makes a very beautiful and durable finish. It is not so durable, however, as the all crockery tub which, once paid for and properly set, will last as long as the foundations of the house will support its weight. The solid crockery is even colder to the touch than the enameled iron, but it forms a very beautiful though exceedingly heavy and expensive fixture nevertheless.
A very good form of tub, recently introduced, is made of copper-lined sheet steel with cast iron supports of ornamental design and polished wooden rim. This is an open fixture, light and easy to handle, and has much about it to commend. Similar in construction to the sheet steel tub is one made of a very heavy sheet copper. It has the advantage of being entirely rust-proof and quickly warmed, but does not present the inviting appearance of the porcelain surface.
Fig. 368 shows a "needle" bath standing free in the corner of a bathroom having marble or tiled sunken or dished floor. Jets are arranged on all sides as well as above and below. These shower baths are supplied with hot and cold water and mixing devices so that the temperature required for comfort as well as health or medical benefit can quickly be attained.
Fig. 369 shows in section the construction of a slow-closing faucet devised by the writer to measure and economize water. No packing is required around the valve stem. The valve closes with the pressure, instead of in the usual manner, against it. Hence a comparatively flexible spring is used; and in virtue of this and of the peculiar construction of the handle it is easily operated, and the spring being never under heavy tension when the faucet is closed, wear is minimized. When the valve closes against he pressure evidently very powerful springs have to be used, difficult to operate, and constantly deteriorating under the permanent strain to which they are subjected. Moreover, with ordinary faucets the strength of the spring must evidently be greater than the heaviest water pressure ever likely to be used on the faucet valve, so that a considerable waste of power is necessary; and, since the life of the spring is gradually exhausted with age, and the pressure is liable to be varied in the water mains, either permanently or temporarily, the faucet is soon liable to leak. Moreover, the wearing of the packing required around the valve stem of ordinary faucets is a constant source of leakage and annoyance. In using them it is necessary not only to exert a considerable strain of the fingers in overcoming the pressure of the heavy spring, but to sustain the strain during the whole time the water is running. This proves to be so very inconvenient (especially when, with hot-water faucets, the handle becomes so hot as to burn the fingers) that all kinds of devices are resorted to to tie the handle down, and thus the whole object of the device, for insuring against water waste, is frustrated. When the handle is suddenly released, a severe shock is sustained by the recoil of the spring, which injures and sometimes bursts the water pipes.
Kitchen Pantry Sinks and Baths.
Fig. 368. Needle Bath.
Figs. 369 and 369a.
Section and Perspective iew of the Writer's Slow Closing Faucet.
This faucet is designed to do away with these difficulties. A slight touch of the handle, with instant release, is sufficient, with the exercise of very little power, to draw any desired amount of water, from a quart to a couple of gallons, from this faucet. The handle is in the form of a lever and moves forward in an arc in the direction of the nozzle. Drawing the handle down through the complete quarter circle opens the valve completely and gives the whole amount of water for which the faucet is originally adjusted when set. Turning the handle through a half or a quarter of this arc gives correspondingly a half or a quarter of this amount of water, and thus a very great saving of water is effected, an advantage which the metered-house owner and the water companies greatly appreciate.
Moreover, the user is enabled to make use of the water while it is running, and thus avoid the annoying waste of time necessary with other self-closing faucets in holding the handle down.
A small adjusting screw is provided at the bottom of the chamber under the spring, by means of which the quantity of water to be delivered at each full opening of the handle is regulated when the faucet is set. It is best to regulate the amount by the capacity of the basin it serves, up to the overflow point. This faucet closes slowly automatically, and cannot hammer under the heaviest pressure ever used. Hence there is no possible danger of swelling or bursting of pipes through its use.
The spring chamber is closed by a floating valve, which opens when the water is turned off of the house; and all parts of the faucet are then drained off, rendering damage by frost impossible.
Instead of packing around the valve stem, the principle of water suction is employed in this faucet to make tight. The closing of the faucet is slow, direct and soft, and does not come to its seat with the turning or grinding movement which ordinarily cuts away washers at the seat.
The difficulty, however, with this device, in common with all hydraulic devices depending upon close-fitting plungers for their operation, is a liability to stick in gritty waters. Hence they should only be used where the water supply is pure or well filtered, as is now not uncommon, and as indeed always should be the case everywhere.