M930.50.7.693 | Catalogue illustration of bath

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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)
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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)

  • What

    Illustration of John Henry Walker showing a man running a bath.

  • Where

    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.

  • When

    The exact date when this picture was printed is not known, however it would have been around the end of the 19th century.

  • Who

    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.