M9188.8.131.523 | Catalogue illustration of bath
Catalogue illustration of bath
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
4.1 x 6.6 cm
Gift of David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Miscellaneous (671) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
In the middle of the 19th century, several medical associations sprung up in large North American cities. In 1866, a group of doctors founded the Montreal Sanitary Association. These doctor-hygienists called for measures to improve the health of their fellow citizens. Building public baths, or better still, connecting up all of the houses to the sewer network were a few of the solutions envisaged to sanitize an increasingly unsanitary city. Every dwelling could now be equipped with a bathtub and bathroom. Cesspools would be banned, and the city's air quality would improve. Excellent measures to counteract the epidemics that regularly hit cities during this century. These advocates of a preventative medicine resolutely oriented towards hygiene would pursue their combat within the city's health office.
Source : Big Cities, New Horizons [Web tour], by Robert Gagnon, Université du Québec à Montréal (see Links)
Illustration of John Henry Walker showing a man running a bath.
This plate was reproduced in a business catalogue at a time when the use of private baths was increasing owing to the introduction of urban infrastructure and increased public awareness about hygiene.
The exact date when this picture was printed is not known, however it would have been around the end of the 19th century.
A fictional character representing a middle-aged man. The picture was used to promote the idea that it was now possible to take a bath at home.