Hot Tub History: How Have They Changed Throughout the Years?

  in  General Health
The hot tubs we have in our gardens today are a far cry from the hot tubs of the past. Theuse of heated water as a health and relaxation aid is certainly not a new concept, however, hot tubs with rejuvenating massage jets, hydro action, relaxing fountains, drinks cabinets and water edge lighting certainly wouldn't have been around back in the day. It's safe to say hot tubs have come a long way but just how far is that. Here we look at the history of the hot tub and how it has changed throughout the years.

Ancient history
It's known that ancient cultures made use of natural hot springs such as the Roman thermal springs and bathhouses. They also used to create hot tubs when hot springs weren't available by adding hot stones to a cauldron of water. Further down the linethe Romans developed piping that could carry hot water from a furnace to a poolof water.


The first wooden hot tubs were manufactured in America. They had no pumps or filters and although they were good at holding the water, unfortunately the wood caused lots of issues such as bacteria, mould and leakage. When the wood corroded thetub would lose its ability to hold the water. What came next was revolutionary.

In 1956, the first portable hydrotherapy pump was invented, known as the J-300, by the infamous Jacuzzi brothers. This invention changed the hot tub game by turning any bathtub into a rejuvenating spa-like atmosphere. The reason for this invention was to help a family member that suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. This launched the wellness industry.


This is when the first home hot tubs started to appear in the wine country of Northern California. People would take old wine vats, tanks and barrels and fill them with hot water. Some would be able to fit up to 20-30 people but didn't have luxury seating. At the southern end of the state they were making spas out of gunite or cement and attaching them to in-ground swimming pools. These were very expensive and couldn't be mass produces as they had to built from the ground up.

Meanwhile, in 1968 Roy Jacuzzi invented the first whirlpool that was named "the Roman". This is when the "Jacuzzi" concept really took off. The Roman has integrated plumbing and, jets and 50/50 air-to-water ration. This sparked a phenomenon and as the years went on indoor and outdoor hot tubs became more than just a health aid but people started to take influence from the Roman days and tubs became a place to gather and entertain.

The next year a guy called Len Gordon started to mass produce spas using fiberglass. This increased the structural strength of hot tubs and made them much more affordable.


A lot happened during the 1970's. Fibreglass spas were all the rage and there was a lot of copying and selling that took place. This caused a lot of issues as copycat companies were producing careless products which resulted in blistering, delamination and gel coat cracking. Customer satisfaction rates were low and resulted in a lot of companies going bust.

Fibreglass slowly started to be replaced by even stronger acrylic tubs but these were much more expensive to manufacture. At this point the industry was in trouble. What saved the industry was the introduction of vinyl ester resin, a solution that was discovered by the boat industry.

Hot tubs still haven't stopped evolving, today we have endless options. There are hot tubs, swim spas and even hydrotherapy pools for dogs. Whether for relaxation, pleasure or health benefits, hot tubs are still very much a part of life with many benefits.

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