There is an oft-repeated and rather embarassing tale about President William Howard Taft getting stuck in an antique tub. Although he is noted for doing such things such as supervising the construction of the Panama Canal and championing for world peace through international arbitration, this novel detail about his presidency will forever stand out among all other truths as one of the most memorable trivial facts. Legacy, schmegacy.

At a gigantic 6’2" tall and 330 pounds heavy, the 27th President of the United States was indisputably the largest man to ever be president of this country. He was generally in good health and although he was medically diagnosed as being morbidly obese, he was quite light on his feet and was said to be a rather skilled dancer. One day, however, many contend that President Taft’s size got him in quite a precarious situation. Too large to be able to pull himself out of the presidential clawfoot bathtub, President Taft got stuck one unfortunate evening. The problem with this charming but rather small clawfoot bathtub is that it was too modest for the president’s robust body. It is rumored to have taken four men to dislodge him with a gallon of butter and a lot of determination. Eventually, a new oversized bathtub (probably not a conventional clawfoot tub) was installed that was seven feet long and three and a half feet wide. Many jokesters even said that he managed to break the bathtub with his prodigous girth. This, however, is not true. The bathtub broke when it was dismantled and taken out of the White House.

Perhaps inspired by Taft’s ordeal or simply a modern demand for more surface area, footed bath tubs today are made much more spacious than they were in the past and they are just as every bit elegant. Unless you are a giant, size accomodations will never be an issue again.

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