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 *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene* 
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Thank you on this information DreamersRose.

They washed their hair only not as often as we do and there wasn’t anything like shampoo.

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Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:58 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
I shower and wash my hair twice a day. Sometimes 3.I don't think I could survive...


Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:07 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Twice a day! That is not healthy for your hair.

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Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:57 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Tsk. Tsk. Comte!

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Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:54 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
lilliane-delphine wrote:
ow often did they bathe? were there toilets like we have today?


I believe there was a distinct difference between, for instance, the English and the French in terms of bathing. But I don't think it was frequent in France, no. (Londoners, by the way, had water piped into their houses by the end of the century; Parisians had to buy it or go to a fountain.)
I've never read of flush toilets (though a poster above dates them to the 16th century in England and someone else mentions a similar system for Marie-Antoinette), but, apart from chamber pots and outhouses ("castles of ease"), there were "pierced chairs" (close-stools) with holes in a seat over the chamber pot. I doubt Marie-Antoinette did this, but Louis XIV, I believe, received company while seated thereupon. And English travelers spoke with dismay of how readily otherwise polite women would "answer nature's call" in front of them. Versailles was supposedly stained with the dumpings of chamber pots which lingered on the cornices etc., and people were not shy about using stairwells, etc.

The Bastille seems to have had some holes right over the moat around the castle (one man actually managed to escape this way - at the cost of swimming in excrement when he landed.)

=============updates=====

This link only goes up to 1601, but might be of interest in regard to baths:
http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/baths.html

It turns out too that Diderot describes "domestic baths" under "Bains" in the Encyclopedia, with water coming down from a cistern to faucets, often heated en route. This suggests some domestic hygiene, for the privileged at least.

Under "aisance" he describes "closets" with toilets that sometimes included faucets or valves for water ("place of ease" or "valve place"), but says that when water was not available, they merely held close stools. (The article on the "pierced chair" (chaise percee) describes a seat used by the Pope at his inauguration (?) and refers back to aisance for the other type.)

Alfred Franklin's books (in French) on private life include one (volume 7) on hygiene, which provides all manner of detail on the subject. In 1780, the Paris police forbade dumping urine, fecal matter, etc. out of windows. Additional details make it clear that Paris must have had a distinctly fecal odor, overall. Apparently, at Louis XVI's coronation in Reims, an "English-style" water closet was set up for the Queen; but these were still rare in 1807.

His book on the toilet (vol 1) includes a long stretch on baths (114 or so on) which mentions that the bourgeoisie could rent copper tubs to take baths at home, and the fact that women often received people while in their baths (which however were covered or clouded with milk - hence, "a milk bath".) Some bathhouses were distinctly multi-purpose - all a man's needs could be taken care of. Or, as suggested in one play, a man returning from a trip might go to one before seeing his mistress "in order not to disgust his mistress".

Marie-Antoinette, by the way, apparently bathed in a kind of full body outfit, and made sure she was hidden from her servants as she changed.

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Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:30 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Very interesting....... :book:


Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:52 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Ah, let's not forget the bidet - introduced to Versailles by Madame de Pompadour -it became the French fashion for intimate washing.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:42 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Quote:
the bidet - introduced to Versailles by Madame de Pompadour

A note on this page of the Intermediare des Chercheurs claims that's a myth, which I rather would have expected:

http://books.google.com/books?id=fhMFAQAAIAAJ&pg=PT31&dq=bidet+Pompadour&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES

But then I would also have thought that crediting Mme DuBarry with its invention would be too, whereas the article at least cites her inventories as listing one.

However the Goncourt's provide a similar inventory for Pompadour, from 1751, with this entry for a bidet (covered with rosewood and flowers, with brass ornaments, the inside of tin):
http://books.google.com/books?id=Q4C7RZUgtwcC&pg=PA438&dq=bidet+Pompadour&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES#PPA438,M1
Madame de Pompadour By Edmond de Goncourt, Jules de Goncourt
Published by G. Charpentier, 1881

She had another at her Chateau of St. Hubert
http://www.madamedepompadour.com/_eng_pomp/galleria/design/architt/castelli/saint_h.htm
this one of walnut, with a back and cover of red moroccan leather and golden nails, with two crystal flasks (?) in the back:
http://books.google.com/books?id=_okDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA366&dq=bidet+Pompadour&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES#PPA366,M1
Réunion des sociétés des beaux-arts des départements ...By France Ministère de l'instruction publique, France Ministère de l'éducation nationale
1898

However it does not say if she brought it to Versailles, and I believe the history of the object goes back a bit further.

Bear in mind that this particular kind of hygiene has sometimes - however mythically - been associated with prostitutes, so enemies of either woman would only have been too happy to emphasize the association. One 1755 satirical image showed Pompadour using one:
http://books.google.com/books?id=4pEsAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA414&dq=bidet+Pompadour&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES
L'art du dix-huitième siècle By Edmond de Goncourt
Published by A. Quantin, 1880

Otherwise, for those who like the naughtier side of Old Regime humor, here's a passage where a fairy turns an insolent man into one:
http://books.google.com/books?id=RXoTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA38&dq=bidet+date:1650-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES#PPA38,M1
Oeuvres complettes By Claude Henri de Fusée de Voisenon
Published by Moutard, 1781

The word originally meant a kind of small horse, so this scene (which specifically refers to a porcelain bidet) might be considered to be punning a bit.
UPDATE: Having reread the passage (from 1781), it's really not clear if it means a pony or the hygienic device. I'm leaning more towards the latter now, though by this date the other association would have been clear.

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Last edited by jimcheval on Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:40 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Thanks Jim! I actually should have put a question mark after saying Madame de Pompadour introduced the bidet to Versilles - like this (?) My friend told me that she was the first to bring one to Versailles - (it was late, I am several hours later than the time this website says) my mistake. I only wish I could read French! I did find a source that says the bidet was bought to Versailles in the time of Louis XV - but it does not say by who. Hmm...


Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:29 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Well, it might still be true, but no certain source documents it and the Wikipedia says the word is first documented in that sense around 1710. Which would have left decades for people to start bringing them to the better places.

Otherwise, for anyone who doesn't read French, the satire I mentioned turns out to be from a private album full of satirical sketches, and the date is in fact uncertain (though after 1755, when the Salon shown in one image occurred). The image of Pompadour is part of a magic lantern series:

Quote:
But the person the most mistreated in the album - and it is inexplicable given the relations Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin supposedly had with the favorite - is without doubt la Pompadour. Here she is [the author describes several lighter satirical images]... and at last, it is still her, naked and using her bidet [literally, "doing bidet"], and surrounded by black robes and square caps prostrated at her feet: "Blame no one, they no doubt have their reasons. The Jesuits at the feet of Mme. Pompadour".


Though I'd say the satire here is against the Jesuits, who would court her even under those circumstances, rather than Pompadour.

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Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:30 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
“The more a ram smells, the more the goat loves him.” - translation of a proverb from the French regime

No roll-on anti-perspirant, no dandruff shampoo, no pads/tampons, no toothpaste nor toothbrush….. how did people function without what are considered (in the USA anyway) life necessities?

What a horrible thought…. the beautifully gowned and coiffed Marie Antoinette surrounded with head lice and body odor on most of the courtiers.

Attempts were made to deal with such problems, usually without much success. Compounding the problem were long-held beliefs that were untrue. One such belief was that water was not only bad for you, but could be lethal if one exposed their body to it.

Let’s look at some of the problems, the attempts to remedy them, and the beliefs that left vermin at Versailles, foul odors at Fontainebleau, cologne at St. Cloud and no tampons at Trianon.


Most historians agree that the 17th and 18th centuries were among the worst periods in terms of physical hygiene. Although hot baths and public baths of the Middle Ages still existed, the French regime sounded the death knell for this tradition. The French regime was a period of extreme modesty and, as a result, nudity was frowned upon. It was for this reason that people when washing did not disrobe. Into the 18th century, filth was considered beneficial thus causing people to wash even less. Medical theory of the time was that germs (then called miasmas) floated about in the air and entered the body though the skin, contaminating it. Water (particularly hot water) was harmful since it opened the pores of the skin, making the individual more vulnerable to disease. It is said that Louis XVI took one bath in his life; on his wedding day. Because of the limited use of water for bathing, soap did not make a major inroad in French culture until the late 1700s. In 1791, Nicholas Leblanc, a French chemist, patented a process for making sodium carbonate from common salt. Sodium carbonate is the alkali that combines with fat to form soap. In the 1700s, cleanliness and hygiene were sought in white linen. Because of this, until the end of the 18th century, most people bathed ‘dry’ or, in other words, using as little water as possible as a cleaning agent. Linen absorbed perspiration, sebum [skin oil], and purified the body, and hence became a sign of the wearer’s sophistication and cleanliness. .

Therapeutic values were attributed to dirtiness. For example, urine soaked diapers were just dried before using them again; they were not washed. Urine was used as a beauty product to treat acne, among other things. People avoided washing their hair since scalp oil was considered excellent for shiny, healthy hair. As a result, most people had head lice. If you could manage to endure the stench of a person, his house would finish you off. Chances are you would smell several chamber pots. Separate toilet rooms draining to a cesspool weren’t common until the 19th century. Courtiers have written that Versailles had a particular stench; since it was a long distance between chamber pots, one relieved oneself in a corner, any corner.

For the nobility, cleanliness was attempted through the use of cosmetics: perfume and cologne to chase away bad odors, powder to dry greasy hair, etc. Artificial means, predominately wigs, were used to provide the appearance of cleanliness. Fragrances were used in great quantity and containers for them were an important part of early toilet sets. Most scents were heavy and sweet and were kept in glass or crystal bottles with glass stoppers ornamented with silver, gold and other metals.

An increased awareness of the benefits of hygiene in the later 18th century brought a change of attitude toward an unpleasant aspect of life that had been accepted for generations---the prevalence of lice, bedbugs and fleas. Bedbugs were a particularly common nuisance even in royal palaces. Marie Antoinette introduced an innovative remedy when, in the late 1770s, she ordered beds of polished iron from the royal locksmith Courbin. Since the bugs could not nest in the iron bed frames as they could in wooden ones, the royal children were protected from bites. Iron beds then became the standard in hospitals, homes and dormitories.

The peasants, on the other hand, settled for changing the shirt they used as their underclothing a few times a month and washing the parts of their body not covered by clothing (face, neck, hands, arms) quickly with cold water.

Everyone had poor dental hygiene. Since there were no toothbrushes, people settled for rubbing their gums and teeth with a cloth. They would then scrape the remains of food from their teeth with toothpicks.

Make-up can cover a variety of flaws. Dry perfumes and powders were in abundance from the time of Louis XIV, when saffron and flower pollen were used to make faces colorful. In the 18th century, men and women alike went to great lengths in order to make themselves appear almost unnatural. Besides whitening their faces, they used blue coloring to touch up their blue vein lines. Black silk beauty spots were initially used to conceal blemishes and smallpox scars and sometimes reached astonishing sizes and had significance associated with their placement.

Other methods of flaw concealment involved using make-up with a lead- or mercury base that would penetrate the skin and leave dark, permanent lines or blemishes. Yet the French found a way around this problem; they would melt down bee’s wax and rub it over the affected spots, then cover the spots with make-up. One had to steer clear of the fireplace, or the face would literally melt.

The use of cosmetics, particularly the use of rouge, became a class indicator. Good girls didn't; bad girls did. Prostitutes placed rouge on their lips and cheeks to mimic the effects of sexual arousal. (It is well known that the body undergoes a natural flush during arousal—the skin glows, the lips engorge with blood. Red lipstick and pink face powder imitated these natural effects.)

. Obviously, some of the more unusual practices regarding hygiene left one susceptible to illness and in need of health care. At the top of the list were respiratory diseases and weather-related problems such as chilblains caused by the cold of winter. These were followed by dysentery and intestinal worms, generally caused by poor water quality. The small rivers in the cities were used as open sewers and, in the country, the manure pile was often found close to the well. For peasants, the strain and difficulty of their daily work often led to back pain, hernias and rheumatism. Finally, mange, toothaches, abscesses and cancer as well as venereal diseases rounded out a bleak health forecast.

People used various ‘home remedies’ to treat most problems since most could not afford the services of a doctor or surgeon. All too often the intervention of a doctor or a surgeon made the situation worse since, at the time, most treatments involved bleeding, enemas or purging. The ‘home remedies’ were generally gentler since most were based on plants. Unfortunately, some ‘home remedies’ were based more on superstition and witchcraft than on actual cures. For example, maple syrup, urine and sheep excrement were used to cure coughing; lead grains removed corns, and crushed lice treated jaundice.


Finally, if all treatment failed, divine intercession remained the last recourse. Thus people were encouraged to pray to St. Lucy for help with eye problems, or to St. Blaise for throat problems. Each saint was attributed with the ability to heal one or more diseases. The belief that diseases were a form of divine punishment encouraged these practices.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:06 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
In terms of soap, there's an important distinction between that made of lye and that made of oils (often from Italy) - that is, lessive and savon. While both had industrial uses, the latter was, at the least, used in shaving kits (as "shaving balls").

Alfred Franklin discusses the "Soins de Toilette" as some length in the first volume of his La vie privée d'autrefois: arts et métiers, modes, moeurs, usages des parisiens du XIIe au XVIIIe siecle d'apres des documents originaux ou inédits

Here is a bit about the eighteenth century:
"Burgers who wanted to take a bath at home could rent, for twenty sous a day, a copper bathtub at a cauldron-maker's, or for ten sous a days a wooden bathtub at the cooper's. The water was warmed in the boiler; and so it was important to build bathtubs which did not require a large volume of it....Great lords had very luxurious bathtubs in their townhouses, where the bathtubs were in the shapes of couches, chaises longes, day beds, etc."
118-119
http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=cdl;cc=cdl;idno=cdl026;q1=bain;node=cdl026%3A5;frm=frameset;view=image;seq=143;page=root;size=S

There's a brief mention a few pages before about men going to the public baths when returning from travel before they then went to see their mistresses, and also to Louis XV bathing and perfuming before his various trysts.

Voltaire's paramour, Mme du Chatelet, may not have been typical of any woman of her time, but for what it's worth the appendix includes a passage from her valet about being shocked the first time he went in to pour hot water into her bath and found not only that she had nothing in the water to cloud her (entirely naked) body, but that she spread her legs to avoid the water he was pouring. Since he had to look down to pour it, he was, as the French say, tres gené.

So I'm not convinced bathing was as rare as all that. At any rate, readers of French who wish to follow the subject up might download the version of Franklin's book which is available on Gallica.

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Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:04 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Thank you jimcheval, this is interesting.
I was very interested in this subject but I couldn’t find much information from the reliable sources.

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Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:28 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Naturally, having seen that shampoo was still unknown, I had to research the subject a bit.

Shampoing, it turns out, was originally a form of massage, first mentioned in the West about mid-eighteenth century:
http://books.google.com/books?id=HMMRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA26&dq=shampoing+date:1700-1830

Quote:
Empr. à l'angl. shampooing, subst. verbal de to shampoo « soumettre à un massage, frictionner » prob. d'orig. hindi (1762 ds NED)

http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/advanced.exe?8;s=1303567395;

Strangely, in the eighteenth century, the idea of washing one's hair seems to mainly be mentioned in regard to other cultures (Indian, African, etc.):
http://books.google.com/books?q=%22nettoyer+les+cheveux%22+date%3A1700-1800&btnG=Search+Books

It does seem that in France combing one's hair was the preferred form of hygiene, and Queen Christina of Sweden was - shockingly, apparently - said to only have combed hers (in a previous time) once a week:
http://books.google.com/books?id=PO9MAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA428&dq=Reine+Christina+++cheveux+%22quinze+jours%22+date:1700-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES

Powder was also used to clean ("degrease") hair:
http://books.google.com/books?id=MNMWAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA177&dq=D%C3%A9graisser+les+cheveux+date:1700-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES

Wheat flour was one option used by wigmakers (who also acted as barbers, though it's not clear which use is meant here):
http://books.google.com/books?id=e4APAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA321&dq=D%C3%A9graisser+les+cheveux+date:1700-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES

Powder of broad beans (feves) was used as well:
http://books.google.com/books?id=PJ4TAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA960&dq=D%C3%A9graisser+les+cheveux+date:1700-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES


All kinds of manuals existed in France listing numerous remedies and potions, largely to improve one's looks and cure the more common maladies. These are probably not the only ones to list a way of cleaning one's teeth, using mallow:
http://books.google.com/books?id=pEgGAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA120&dq=hygiene+cheveux+date:1700-1800#PPA112,M1
http://books.google.com/books?id=XekTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA41&dq=%22laver+les+dents%22+date:1700-1800&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&as_pt=ALLTYPES

Certainly some ideas on hygiene were appearing, whether or not they were established. A dissertation by a certain Platner is quoted here on ways to stay healthy:
Quote:
The choice of a house with latrines far from it, the excessive [sic] cleanliness of the kitchens and servants, that of clothes, linen; safe water; changing shirts and sheets of the sick...; the great care one must have to blow one's nose, to wash often with pure water and not mixed with any scents, to avoid contact with people attacked by certain viruses or certain internal suppurations which can be smelled in the motuh, to comb the hair, to avoid certain unctions used by certain women, which do more harm than good to their skin, powder, rouge; to cut one's nails, above all for midwives...


http://books.google.com/books?id=Skt3-LY7bg0C&pg=PA185&dq=hygiene+cheveux+date:1700-1800#PPA185,M1

For literary sorts, the same author mentions the health dangers of using candles, which typically were made of tallow for much of the century. Apparently concern for "gens de lettres" was widespread - another entire work is called: "De la santé des gens de lettres" (On the health of people of letters) and, among other things, recommends cold baths as a way of restoring one's strength.

http://books.google.com/books?id=lN4sAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA208&dq=hygiene+cheveux+date:1700-1800&lr=#PPA223,M1

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Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:35 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
After all, I believe that the hygiene in the 18th century wasn’t as terrible as often presented. We discussed the text that Artois posted, I found it amazing as well but it was hard to determine the sources.

There are two interesting paintings, La Toilette intime, one by Watteau and the other by Louis Leopold Boilly, both showing the women’s hygiene.

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Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:09 am
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