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Bathing machines were an integral part of what Victorian-era activity?



  A woman who steps out of a bathing machine into the ocean.
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Answer: Swimming in the ocean

Remember your last trip to the ocean where you drove the ocean into it with a small car? No? Well, you just failed in the "Am I a Victorian-Era Beachgoer?" and are probably not a time traveler or supercentenarian. As such, we will have to inform you about the very curious practice of small wheeled houses or, as the Victorians would have known, swimming machines.

The extent to which Victorians would work to maintain modesty, especially female modesty, was truly limitless and, when it came to things like swimming (where all sorts of indecency such as the mixing of genders and exposed kneecaps could occur), their skill fell to a Pretty simple process to make it really complicated.

In the 1

750s and until the beginning of the 20th century, beaches in England, France, Germany, Mexico and the United States were equipped with bathing machines. The machines were wagons, usually pulled by horses (but some locations had steam-powered units), with a cabin-like structure on top of them. The bather entered the machine while on land (and dressed in proper street clothing) and the car would be pulled into the ocean until it was deep enough that the structure on top of the car was close to the water like a low-lying dock .

The bather would change inside the structure and then leave through the door to the ocean (away from the beach) where they could swim with the bathing machine that shielded their bodies from the shoreline where someone could catch a glimpse of them in a indecent swimsuit (a suit, we add, that looks more like a modern wetsuit all over the body than a bikini). When the swimmer had finished their carefully structured visit to the ocean, the horse and handler returned and brought them back to the shore, where they would reverse the process and come out of the bathing machine with their full and modest street clothes.

the next time you go to the beach and walk straight to the surf line, sand between your toes, with your bathing suit as modest or immodest as you want, be happy you don't have to wait for a car team to drag you to the sea to enjoy the simple pleasures of a beach visit.


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