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Papier Mache Baby Baths

#1 2015-07-19 20:54:06

Jackie
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From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 388
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Papier Mache Baby Baths

To those of you who are interested in vintage papier mache, I received this email regarding papier mache baby baths which you may find of interest....

Dear Jackie,

It's a while now, but I've just read the remarks on your forum about papier-mache baby baths.  I was myself bathed in just such; probably purchased ca 1951.   It was white paint enamel inside, and blue paint enamel outside ( a light blue) and ca half an inch thick. (1.25 cm).    My recollection is that it was very tough, and lasted the babyhood of three boys.   Then it became a laundry basket for carting washing down to the clothes-line. In all it would have lasted ca 25 years.

In the end, it got a bit battered, and possibly dropped on the bottom-edge, finally damaging the integrity; at this point I think it got thrown away.   My recollection is that it was not made with any bitumen in the paper, which was clearly  'white' all through.   The waterproofing came from the paint 'enamel' only.

To my amazement, in ca 1983  I saw another one, identical and in perfect condition,  in a junk shop in the East End of London, and almost bought it for the museum where I worked  at the time....

My feeling is that times were quite straitened after the war; plastics were very expensive; a polythene washing up bowl in the 1950's was a luxury item, a novelty even (the rest had enamel bowls).  Quite apart from the amazing properties of well-stabilised papier mache (toughness & lightness) It was in my opinion definitely cheaper than any new plastic to make.
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I'm uncertain how to add this to the forum, if it would be of any interest, so I'm sending this to you.

With best wishes,

Tom Going

But see this.....    I think it was a Thetford product, in all probability.

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Patent_Pul … cturing_Co


Jackie

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#2 2015-07-20 00:31:33

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1305

Re: Papier Mache Baby Baths

Very interesting.

It has always surprised me how many papier mache articles have been made over the years that were deliberately exposed to water.

"They were then soaked in linseed oil to make them water repellent, which turned them from grey to brown ..."

I wonder how long they soaked them in the oil, and how long it took to dry so decoration could be applied?

Sue

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#3 2015-07-20 09:23:18

dopapier
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-12-04
Posts: 748

Re: Papier Mache Baby Baths

I too was bathed in one (1936/7).  It lasted many years but I wasn't interested enough then to investigate it!  As I remember, it was a white core with an enamel paint finish.  I think it was still in used for my brother, ten years later.
Items that were soaked with linseed oil were normally baked at high temperatures so the drying out period was not very long.  I have been in a linoleum factory, which oxidised linseed oil at high temperature.  The smell was one of the worst I have experienced.


I'm a PM addict

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#4 2015-07-20 19:28:32

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1305

Re: Papier Mache Baby Baths

Thank you for that information, David!  I guess I won't try it in my oven...

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#5 2015-07-25 16:27:01

scyllac14
Member
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 19

Re: Papier Mache Baby Baths

Hi Jackie: Thanks for posting this note and the reference to the Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co. I so enjoy the history of paper and papiermache, and this is a bit I hadn't run across before. Very interesting about the mix and the waterproofing. Also to know that this was the safer alternative before we began the plastics explosion. I wonder if there is a "rag engine" lingering in some warehouse? Wouldn't we love to have that!

Best, Scylla

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#6 2015-07-25 17:23:55

Jackie
Moderator
From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 388
Website

Re: Papier Mache Baby Baths

Definitely Scylla!


Jackie

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