Robert Owen Allsop's design for a Russian bath
suitable for a hydropathic establishment

Allsop's design for a Russian bath
< Image: Robert Owen Allsop The Hydropathic establishment and its baths (Spon, 1891)

Allsop describes a late nineteenth century Russian bath as being a room heated partly by hot air and partly by steam. It should be separated as far as possible from any other facilities such as a Turkish bath, or a shampooing room, so as to keep the vapour as far away as can be arranged.

In large establishments, such as the Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden, there are two rooms. Russian baths, like the modern sauna, have benches stepped one above the other, the highest temperatures being obtained on the highest benches.

The temperature in a Russian bath is slight compared with the Turkish bath, varying from 100°F to 112°F. Whereas the bather in a Turkish bath can stay in temperatures from 200°F to nearly 300°F, the bather in a Russian bath would be scalded in a vapour bath of ordinary density if the thermometer registers 120°F.

This page first published 01 January 2023

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Sexual activities in the Jermyn Street Hammam. 3: A case study in queer history

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