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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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A Fresh Start: 1937

A Fresh Start: 1937

Washington, D.C., 1937. "Baby's bath" is all it says here. If you recognize yourself 78 years later, let us know. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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The Bathinette Company

My mother had one in the early 1950s. I don't know if she had one for me a decade earlier.

It was made by the Bathinette Company. It was the best way for her to give my baby brother a bath and then flip the top up and powder and diaper him. It had a handy drain hose and I was fascinated with the way it folded up for storage. (I was easily amazed back then)


My aunt had one of these strange things. You toted the water in a bucket, and drained it out with a hose in the bottom. It might have been mainly a "first child" thing. I know my mother bathed my sisters in a basin or a sink, and I think my aunt did after the first kid. You could close the lid and use it as a changing table.

Bassinettes and Bathinettes

This is a bathinette. The flat top can be seen hanging behind. That made it a changing table. Some had a ruler printed on the top so baby's growth could be documented. A bassinette was usually made of woven wood with folding legs and wheels. A skirt made of nylon net was de rigueur. So babies got their own furniture plus daily laundry ... belly bands, tar soap, boric acid, cradle cap, rubber pants, diaper pins, hard-soled shoes.. sterilized bottles, pablum ? I sure feel old!

Where does the water comes out from?

Anyone noticed the washbasin does not have a faucet - just three knobs?

[Presumably it's the "integral spout" type similar to this. -tterrace]

A disclaimer, perhaps?

Dave, can you please zoom in on that label below the handle on the bassinet?

["???MOR MANUFACTURING CORP." -tterrace]

Babies and Bathwater

Sure hope the kid is still with us, as opposed to those unfortunates that went down the drain.

No, I don't recognize him

But I do notice two other things: 1) the photographer did not accurately focus on his/her subject, but it was probably close enough for whatever purpose this image served prior to being posted on the internet at hi-res for me to criticize, and 2) what's up with the elaborate (and flimsy) baby bath setup?!? Just put the kid in the tub you already have back there, already! I suppose the idea was to bring the kid closer to Mom, and to use less water. But for me it would still be just an unnecessarily complicated and wobbly piece of junk to take up space in the bathroom.

[Even if you are unfamiliar with the multipurpose item of baby furniture known as the bassinet, you probably got yourself changed on one. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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