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Photo by Kristine Larsen

Designs for bathtub feet, which were used to elevate the vessels and give them a furniture-like look, were most elaborate in the 1890s—the peak of the Victorian era. That's when Americans craved embellishment on even the most utilitarian household objects. These ball-and-claw feet had wide "ankles" decorated with flowers, vines, or shells that wrapped the base of the tub like shields. They were quite large—about 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall—and weighed 4 or 5 pounds each. By the early 1930s, when the popularity of claw-foot tubs began to fade, feet were often small unadorned balls supported by smooth ankles.