History Lesson

It's easy to forget how young the hot tub industry really is. Sure, the Romans were enjoying their caldaria two thousand years ago. And the Japanese ufuro have a centuries-old history. Likewise the Ottoman hammam . In fact, nearly every culture has its own special history and way of enjoying hot water — whether for therapy, social bonding or ritual bathing.

But the hot tub or portable spa that we know and derive our livelihoods from is really quite a recent development. And while it's hard to pinpoint a certain moment when the modern hot tub was born, former AQUA editor Scott Webb makes a pretty good argument for 50 years ago in his special story on the history of hot water therapy, "From Barrel To Tub: The Humble Beginning Of The Great American Hot Tub"(page 82).

Webb spent all summer and talked to dozens of industry veterans to research and write this fascinating feature. He takes us from the converted wine vats in the hills above Santa Barbara to the Jacuzzi brothers' invention of a submersible pump, to early experiments with molded fiberglass shells. He introduces us to the characters, the inventors and the innovators who collectively created the hot water industry we know today.

Take a little extra time with this issue to enjoy a look back at our origins and to ponder where the next 50 years will take us.

Happy golden anniversary, everyone!

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