How prudes of the 19th century bathed

"Oh, this modern youth!" - say grandmothers, complaining about the free morals of our time. - "Now in our time ..." But really, as was the case a century ago or a little earlier in the days of long dresses and balls. Let's touch on such an everyday topic as swimming. Surprisingly, in the 18th and 19th centuries, women couldn't just put on their swimwear and sunbathe on the beach. At that time, a very strange seaside etiquette was in effect, which had to be unquestioningly observed by everyone, without exception. It was considered the height of indecency if a woman appeared on the beach in a swimsuit - therefore, special bathing machines were used, which will be discussed in this article.

Do you know how women swam in the sea several centuries ago? Surprisingly, in the 18th and 19th centuries, women couldn't just put on their swimwear and sunbathe on the beach. At that time, there was a very strange seaside etiquette, which had to be unquestioningly observed by all without exception. It was considered the height of indecency if a woman appeared on the beach in a swimsuit - therefore, special bathing machines were used, which will be discussed in this article.

To help women maintain their modesty and dignity, a simple invention called the Bathing Machine was created. It looked like a beach dressing room, but larger and equipped with wheels. A woman could walk into this booth and change into a swimsuit that was much more modest in comparison to today's standards.

The Bathing Machine was moved directly into the sea with the help of a horse, and sometimes also manually by special carters. Once the booth was in the sea, the bather could open and dive into the water away from prying eyes on the beach. Some cars were equipped with a canvas tent that dropped directly into the water and created an enclosed swimming area. The bather was usually accompanied by a strong woman, whose duties included helping out of the bathing machine. If a woman did not know how to swim (which was most often the case), a strong rope was tied around her waist, tying the other end to the van.

Bathing machines debuted in Britain around 1750 and spread to the United States, France and Germany. As moral values ​​changed, in 1900 the number of bathing machines decreased significantly. During the last days of their existence, bathing laws were relaxed, and men and women often used these booths together. After the 1920s, this practice disappeared altogether. Over the decades, the history of fashion has changed, and women began to wear completely different swimwear.