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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]

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