Rage against the Bathing Machine

Mangesh Hattikudur

Neatorama just featured this great and strange photo of bathing machines, and I was completely intrigued. Apparently, the sheds on wheels were popular in the 19th century (even Queen Victoria had one!) and were there to--what else?-- protect a woman's chastity. At the time, beaches were segregated, so men and women used separate sections. In fact, because it was considered coarse to see a woman in her bathing suit, ladies entered the machines in their street clothes, changed into their swimwear in the dark room (there were no openings for light in the sheds), and then had the little room pulled toward the water.

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