[LMB] Economics - bathhouses and laundries

Paula Lieberman paal at filker.org
Thu May 21 04:03:41 BST 2015

The end of communal bathhouses in the west was due to as the Roman Empire 
contracted, and the bathhouses got worse and worse reputations as being 
essentially brothels and the Church ranted against them, shut them down, and 
regards baths as immoral...

Hot water can be "free" if there is a hot spring around--spas were places 
were there were natural springs, originally.

Laundry, people originally did by rivers...

--Paula Lieberman
-----Original Message----- 
From: William A Wenrich
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:47 PM
To: lois-bujold
Subject: [LMB] Economics - bathhouses and laundries

I am interested in the economics of  non-modern and non-western cultures. I
really loved the PBS series 1900 house.
An example from the books, the community laundry Caz used with the public
bath house nearby. At what point does the labor and expense of a private
laundry and bathhouse move it from individual homes to a commercial
enterprise. Also consider the extreme of Arkady's shower arrangements. I've
seen old signs advertising baths at barber shops and the different prices
for used and fresh hot water.
At my house we do laundry on an irregular basis when it's needed, often
decided by what messes the granddaughters have made. We don't have a regular
laundry day. Laundry is load the washer and start it. Transfer to the drier.
My two year old granddaughter, Anna, likes to help and push the buttons.
Take it out of the drier and put it away. The last step is by far the
Before automation, it used to take two people a full day to wash a week's
clothes for a family and that was with running hot and cold water!
When water had to be carried and heated separately, it makes a lot more
sense to do it in a central location. 

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