Believe it or not, the one-piece, built-in bathtub is 100 years old, and as you can imagine, we here at Kohler are pretty excited.

So what exactly is a one-piece, built-in bath?

Well, in the early twentieth century, shoppers had two options: a freestanding bath and a built-in bath. Freestanding baths are the old, vintage-style tubs you commonly see with clawfeet. These are still a favorite for many.

Built-in bathtubs are just as they sound, built into the bathroom. These models are very common today; in fact, you probably have one in your home.

Believe it or not, this style of bathtub was a major breakthrough. 100 years ago, baths were cast in two separate parts: the tub itself and the exposed side or apron. The two parts were then fitted together by a plumber during the installation. This process was difficult, oftentimes messy and time-consuming.

Then, in 1911, a lightbulb moment happened in Kohler. The workers decided to cast the entire unit as a single piece. This new one-piece bathtub eliminated crevices, joints and seams and made installation easier on plumbers. The innovative new approach became a technical breakthrough that revolutionized industry production standards that are still in place today.

Kohler followed up quickly on this success by introducing the industry’s first one-piece bathroom sink and finally, the first one-piece kitchen sink.

So next time you’re soaking in your tub, light some candles, enjoy the seamless construction and wish a happy birthday to the oldest member of your home!