This is one of those novelty wallpapers designed to put a smile on your face. The water theme clearly designates this as a bathroom paper, and what a way to start and end your day. The humor abounds, sometimes in-your-face obvious and other times more subtle, which is one of the signs of a good design. It makes the paper more interesting as you keep finding little details you hadn’t noticed before, and it keeps your eyes moving around the design. The glass shower stall turned aquarium, home to a mermaid and tropical fish, the three arms reaching out from a very narrow shower curtain, and the cracked mirror above Bertha’s shaving mug, are some of the more obvious delights. The unhappy dog getting a bath, and the webbed feet on another tub, are some of the more subtle touches. And do take note of the different wallpaper designs in each scene. Also, the white line illustrations on the black ground create a strong graphic that is sure to add drama to any bath.
Sanitas was one of the early washable wallcoverings introduced by Standard Table Oilcloth Company in 1903. Similar products were made by other manufacturers but Sanitas was the most heavily marketed. It was available in a glazed or dull finish and patterns included florals, tile effects, solid colors or burlap. Back when wallcoverings were printed with water soluble inks and couldn’t be cleaned, Sanitas offered a solution. Initially an oil-pigment coated fabric, after the war the manufacturer began using latex and introduced Super Sanitas. These washable fabric wallcoverings were durable and recommended for children’s rooms, washrooms, and any high traffic areas. They could be wiped clean if soiled and when needed, could be repainted.