Mosely Folding Bath Tub

Mosely Folding Bath Tub


Ryan spotted this very interesting folding antique tub on eBay and thought you would enjoy it. I’ve seen folding beds many times before but did not know a tub was ever designed to do it as well. The auction has ended but I think it will be back up for sale if you are interested and have lots of money to spend. You can view the original auction here. It would work quite well in a small home. Thanks Ryan for sharing this with us.

Own a fabulous piece of American history…The Mosely Folding Bath Tub manufactured by the Mosely Folding Bath Tub Company in Chicago, Ill. in the mid 1880’s.

In near perfect condition with a ten gallon copper tank, heated by a small kerosene burner. Clearly a luxury from another century. Included: Original tub stopper, original bath brush with “How to use” instructions on handle, and original advertisement. Tub and solid maple cabinet approximate dimensions Width: 29 inches, Depth: 25 inches, Height: 77 inches. Tub extends to 76 inches. Some quotes from the original advertisement “If you have no bathroom, buy a Mosely Folding Bath Tub”, “Don’t look around for another house, and “acts well and looks well”. An advertisement also notes that the tub is “portable, with self-heating arrangements to heat water at a moments notice. A great convenience and when closed an ornament to any room…”.


  1. Great Idea. you could rig a modern version with an on demand propane water heater and a plastic horse trough, it wouldn’t be as pretty, but it would work and be lighter.

    • A stand up shower? That confused me… I’ve never seen a lay down shower… was the question perhaps, could it be converted to a shower? Then I’d say not very successfully.

    • I agree about there being a market out there; some savvy entrepreneur has a customer base from the readers of this website alone….

  2. ” Murphy Tub” Good one Joyce. Had me laughing out loud too Anne! :-).
    Great idea though,wonder if I could rig up something lighter for camping.

  3. why are you people laughing? it’s a great idea. I want one!!! it’s very pretty, and practical if you live in a place where there’s no bathtub.

  4. Combine a wooden entertainment cabinet or a wardrobe and a lightweight, small rv bathtub…the plumbing could be attached directly, or a plastic holding tank, filled by hand with warm water could be installed. The drain could be plumbed to funnel through a floor drain (with a cover for when the tub is folded up) or to attach to a hose to run the water to filter, before using on garden…

  5. This is the first time that i met this kind of tub, very specific.

    I bought a bath tub before, very funny, it can be portable, foldable, different from traditional tub, especially heat insulation. Whether camping or traveling, I always took it. Make our family feel convenient and comfortable.

  6. Hi, We are a company promoting Social Entrepreneurship for women in India. We have an excellent collection copper vials for bathing purposes. They can be custom made for specific uses or commercially available in quantum. Some are antique pieces and can be used for designer bathing rooms. For more details contact me at

  7. Watching one of these on American Pickers. But it is in good condition. It’s worth $2500 without the tank. Looks like something from an old Sears catalog. Pretty cool!

  8. I make these only in a modern version. The antique tubs are made out of tin and pieced together. The one shown is definitly in great shape, if the tin is original and doesn’t leak. The wood shell is the heaviest thing on them. I don’t recall seeing a copper holding tank on the one I saw, nor a way to heat it. These were hauled on some wagon trains and owned by people considered rich in 1809-1900.

  9. I have one of these…not encased in wood, but galvanized with an oak ring around top. Stand is white metal but the water tank is missing. I would like to sell this, however don’t know where to start. Can someone help me with a value. I have a picture of a similar one on If anyone can help, I would sure appreciate it. Thanks!

  10. They had these on some of the older steam locomotives at one time. Usually it would be in the owners executive car. Quite the luxury for the times.

  11. there used to be folding canvas tubs that earlie pioneers could fold up and tuck inside a wagon. it’s frame was an X shape and canvas nailed or stapled along the sides. you had to dip the water out till it could be tipped up to pour out on the ground. my grandpappy used one when he was headed to MO. as a young man. You may have had to heat your water but it beat a cold river by a mile.

  12. This is cute but not practical to own, that’s why they never continued them very long. It’s a collector piece if you have the room and the audience to enjoy the looks of this, but as of value and practicality I would say it’s too dated .

  13. My aunt and uncle owned one of these that they were still using in their home in a rural area of Oklahoma where they only had electricity and a party line telephone. I remember bathing in it when I was 12 around 1970. It is a great piece! They had an outhouse, but the bathing took place in a room in the house. Originally you had to drain the tub into another container to drain the water, but my uncle had a drain set up where it went through the floor to a trough that ran along the side of the house with a piece of screen that caught anything other than the bath water, and would end up in the garden. My aunt kept it dusted and polished like the rest of the furniture, and thing looked like they had just bought it. I know they purchased it from a “wealthy farmers” son after he died in the 1940’s and had used it ever since. You could lower and lift the tub with one finger. The kerosene heater had the water heated within 20 mins. Great piece of equipment!!