Clawfoot bathtubs first appeared in the middle 1800s. Constructed of iron with a porcelain finish, these tubs were mass-produced by the J. L. Mott Iron Works Company. The tubs were favored until they were gradually replaced by built-in and pedestal bathtubs in the early 20th century. Today, clawfoot tubs are found in upscale bathrooms and associated with spaciousness and luxurious baths. The new tubs are made from lightweight acrylic and are available in a number of colors.
Manufacturer's Name or Logo
Examine the tub for the name of a manufacturer or logo. One often appears on either the outside or inside, depending on where the tub was made. If this cannot be found, look for a mold identification number. It's most likely on the underside of the tub, but numbers were sometimes placed near the spigot or faucet. The mold number will help identify when and where the tub was made, and the company's name.
Note the type of rim. A rolled rim was the most commonly produced and the least expensive to manufacture. Some clawfoot tubs sported more original designs and were more costly to manufacture. While lack of the mass-produced rolled rim might not mean the tub is much older, it indicates a higher cost of production. This, in turn, means the tub was meant for a higher scale home and purchased for a higher price.
Uniqueness of Design
A more unusual design, or a color other than the standard white, is more easily traceable by antique dealers. See if the tub has any of the more unique features, such as unusual color, contoured sides or faucet holes on the side. A clawfoot tub without the standard even sides is more rare and much easier to trace the originality.
The type of claw foot can also be used to help identify the tub. Vintage bathtub websites are helpful in identifying cast-iron tubs. Go on-line and look for a picture of your tub and compare the feet. The claw feet may be original, but sometimes they have been replaced. This may indicate the tub itself is much older. Tubs with replaced feet are considered undesirable because they may have been structually damaged by the alteration.