History Of Hot Tubs
We often think of hot tubs as first coming to prominence in the 1970’s with the advent of GRP, when suddenly the modern hot tub became a reality. Yet looking back on it these early GRP tubs were relatively poor in design, as GRP is both messy and very pungent (Due to the vapors given off by the chemicals used in its production) to work with.
Also the early GRP tubs were often over engineered, resulting in very heavy tubs, with even well engineered GRP hot tubs weighed a huge amount.
Yet if you look back in time the earliest forms of hot tubs actually came in around Roman times, with early tubs being made of precision cut stones to form a square or rectangular tub, with the joints sealed with tar to make them water tight. These were commonly built near hot springs where the hot water could be perted into the stone tub.
So it took us quite a while to progress from stone tub to the modern day acrylic tubs.
Along the way there have been some major changes with early American settlers building tubs from cedar planking, and also using the heat from natural springs to heat them up, indeed Banff Springs in the USA was one of the first to use naturally heated spring water to heat a wooden hot tub.
This in turn lead to the majority of early hot tubs being made of traditional cedar wood, and constructed and made water tight in much the same way as a wooden barrel. Indeed it is highly likely early tubs were made from large wooden barrels!
These early wooden spas rose to prominence and were the mostly widely used up until the 1970’s when the GRP era came in. However wooden tubs are now experiencing a resurgence as they look great in a natural garden setting. They can also be bought with a wood fired boiler, where as with an acrylic tub you will have to use electric heating, which can be expensive for a large eight seater hot tub.
Acrylic tubs now dominate the market with very few if any still being made in GRP. The reason for this is GRP tubs were very labour intensive to make, taking several days work before coming out of the mould, whereas an acrylic tub can be set and taken out of the mould in less than an hour. This change in production meant that hot spas could finally be mass manufactured, hence the prices have dropped dramatically making them easily affordable.