Monday, November 12, 2012
I suppose that when a magazine is presenting practical tips to their readers, its editors feel the need to spice up the article in order to make it seem not so boring. At least, this must have been the case with an article that I read over the weekend, one that appeared in a 1934 issue of House Beautiful. The article's premise was how to make a woman's bathroom, dressing area, desk, and bedroom more efficient in order to help make her day run smoothly. But, the kicker was that these tips were all presented within the context of a fictional account of women getting together for a coffee klatch (actually, the article said it was tea) and discussing the daily trials and tribulations that they faced.
One of the women said, "Every time I step into the tub I think of what an insurance man once told me. Did you know that there are more casualties annually from slipping into bathtubs than there are deaths by motor cars? It's a fearful strain, really." A strain, indeed. Then there was Mrs. D who was livid about towel bars, ruing the "barbarian who first put towel bars over bath tubs behind bars of another sort." I'm not really sure of what she is speaking, but evidently it caused her towels to get wet, forcing her to make a "six-foot sprint across the room for a dry towel", something that she claims "nearly kills me." And then there is poor Mrs. C whose "gastronomist has positively forbidden any excitement during meals." And yet, when Mrs. C is "trying to be very calm and unhurried about my orange juice and toast, wouldn't that just be the time my Finnish Lena would bellow, 'Mrs. Carpenter on the telephone, Madam,' and I have to scramble out from under the breakfast tray and like as not upset my orange juice in the confusion." I don't know about you, but I would kill for these kind of problems.
I have to admit, though, that the practical ideas that were mentioned still seem like good sense today. Take, for example, a small table placed tubside that allows you a place upon which to place your towel. (It certainly beats the barbarian-created towel bar.) Then there is the "glorified" hospital table that fits conveniently over your chaise longue, a far more convenient way to take breakfast than a tray on the lap. My breakfast lasts all of ten minutes, so I might use such a table for Sunday night suppers at home. But the best idea of all has to be something called the "Servitone", described as a small disk-like microphone "into which you have only to whisper that you would like your morning coffee in bed...and the fact is boomed out in the butler's pantry through a loud speaker." Why go through the Starbucks' drive-through window when you can order your coffee from the comfort of your bed...and over a microphone, too. Now that might be the solution to my problems!
Image at top: Handy niches for bottles, jars and cloths. A waterproof cushion and rack for the tub. The small table keeps your towels available.
For a dressing table, this luxurious built-in arrangement with an adjustable mirror and copious cabinets for storing lotions and creams.
Breakfast in comfort on a chaise longue with a glorified hospital table instead of a tray and your telephone swinging at your elbow.
The drawer in the desk at the right has a light concealed inside. The blotter is fastened down.
For evening make-up this mirrored slab, draped top and sides, offers full-length vision. It is lighted by a concealed spotlight. The tables at each side are for creams.
Reading in bed with a light concealed in the wall and a back rest with soft, quilted framework for sheer comfort.