The Bath ‘O’ Matic
Water with bubbles
Sir Oswald Hennessy opened the door to his workshop and stood aside to allow his guests to enter.
Once inside, Mrs Henrietta Parkin laid a gloved hand on the arm of her host. 'This is so tremendously exciting, Sir Oswald. It's such an honour to be the first to see your latest invention.'
Sir Oswald took a puff on his cigar and smiled.
'I think this one will prove to be a roaring success,' he said. 'We call it the Bath O Matic.'
Sir Oswald sipped at his brandy and waved a hand towards his latest steam powered machine.
'There are still one or two little issues to be sorted out, but we're more or less ready to give it a thorough testing.'
Henrietta studied the device intently. The machine was gunmetal grey, circular in shape and stood some four feet high. Rows of metal rivets ran around the circumference. There was a double door at the back with a rubber seal and a hole at the top just big enough to allow a head to poke through. It was fed by a series of pipes from a compact boiler in the corner of the room.
'So, this Bath O Matic is … personal bathing and massage machine?' Henrietta was fascinated.
'It is exactly that, madam.' said Sir Oswald proudly. He opened the rear doors to allow his guests to see the interior of the machine.
Inside, there was a small seat and two levers. Fixed to the front wall, about three feet apart, were a pair of foot pedals. Protruding from all sides of the machine were hundreds of tiny brushes on thin retractable handles.
'It works like this,' said sir Oswald. 'The bather sits down and places their feet on the two pedals at the front. I readily admit that this is not a very ladylike position to take up, but we haven't been able to find a better place to situate them.' Sir Oswald averted his eyes from the blushing Henrietta and continued.
'The steam level is set by the use of the two levers. Pulling the right hand lever adds more steam whilst pulling the left hand one will allow some of the steam to be removed from the cabinet. On the top here, to the left of the bather, is a temperature gauge. On the right is a speaking tube, so that the bather can call for assistance if needed. Liquid soap is dispensed through this aperture here. The foot pedals are used to control the speed and intensity of the brushes.'
'It all sounds very complex,' said Mr Parkin. 'Do you really think it will catch on?'
'My dear fellow, I'm convinced of it,' replied Sir Oswald. 'It hasn't been fully tested yet but I'm actively seeking a volunteer. The servants run a mile if I approach them.'
'I'll do it,' blurted Henrietta. 'I love the idea of working on a new invention.'
'I couldn't ask you my dear,' said Sir Oswald.' I was going to advertise for a tester.'
'Oh Please,' cried Henrietta. 'I do so want to help.'
'Are you sure, Old girl?' said Mr Parkin. 'It all looks a bit awkward to me.'
'Do let me, Henry,' said Henrietta.' It's such an exciting idea.'
Sir Oswald led Henrietta to a side room and ordered the maid to bring a dressing gown and towels.
'I'll see you when you're safely ensconced,' he said.
Henrietta undressed quickly and slipped on the dressing gown. A couple of minutes later she walked into the workshop and sat down in the Bath O Matic. The maid closed the rear doors and wrapped a towel around her neck to stop the steam escaping.
The maid left the room and Sir Oswald's voice came from the tube next to Henrietta's ear.
'Right oh, Old thing, start her up.'
Henrietta pulled the right hand lever until the steam gauge read, 'hot,' then she began to pedal.
'It's working,' she called excitedly.
I'll leave you to it now, Henrietta. Call when you're ready to come out.'
Sir Oswald patted Mr Parkin on the shoulder and refilled his brandy glass. 'Don't worry, Old chap, she'll be fine.'
Henrietta pedalled slowly as the soft chamois brushes gently soaped her skin.
'OOH,' she giggled, 'that tickles. Ooh, haha, Oooooooh.'
As she pedalled harder, clusters of tiny brushes began to soap her chest and thighs.
'Ooh I say, this is....Ooh...OOOOOOOOOH.'
Fifteen minutes later, a bedraggled looking Henrietta staggered through the sitting room door. She was dressed in a long, thick dressing gown. Her damp hair hung around her shoulders and her eyes sparkled like wet diamonds. She took a deep breath, puffed out her cheeks and collapsed on the carpet.
As Mr Parkin rushed across the room towards her, Henrietta lifted her head and gasped, 'Henry, you must buy me a Bath O Matic.