Mosely Folding Bath Tub

by Kent Griswold on February 28th, 2010. 34 Comments
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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…”.

February 28th, 2010and filed in Tiny Furnishings
Tags: Folding, Mosely, Tiny House Furnishings, Tub

34 Responses to “Mosely Folding Bath Tub”

  1. They should have also quoted the weight of the thing, though. Hardly something you want to musle after or before a bath. Looks lovely, though.

  2. Elizabeth Goertz says:

    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.

  3. jeff says:

    seems like something along those lines could be designed to be a stand-up shower as well.

    • LWorthey says:

      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.

  4. Joyce Lovelace says:

    A Murphy tub!

  5. Evan Sayre says:

    Less fancy one on the Antiques Roadshow.

  6. Benjamin says:

    I wonder how the drain works.

  7. Antibubba says:

    I see a market that isn’t being fulfilled. That’d be perfect for studio dwellers as well as tiny housers.

    • Aldene says:

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

  8. Adrienne says:

    ” 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.

  9. Dod Wash says:

    [...] Mosely Folding Bath Tub [...]

  10. madaline says:

    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.

  11. Hope Henry says:

    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…

  12. Susan says:

    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.

  13. 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

  14. Mike says:

    Just saw one appraised on the show Pickers for $2500! Very rare.

  15. hillarose says:

    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!

  16. Dean says:

    This is coooooooool. Wood. I love wood

  17. Al says:

    Appreciate the innovation and craftsmanship of the time. That is the beauty of items like this. I would love to own one.

  18. Linda says:

    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.

  19. myron says:

    i love it and want one

  20. Horseglazier says:

    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!

  21. Tom says:

    I just listed my folding bathtub on ebay. Take a look.

    My user name is ybuwtr0h36 if that doesn’t work

  22. Jimi says:

    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.

  23. Hunter says:

    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.

  24. michele says:

    Love them..

  25. Judy Reid says:

    I LOVE it! Wow – I wonder…. where else could I find one?

  26. Eugene says:

    this is a great idea but update with lighter weight materials, like acrylic tub and pine cabinet/case.

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