What's a Caldarium?

Bathhouse Soapery

Posted on April 29 2016

Get ready to rock trivia night because you are going to not only know the double definitions of the word caldarium, but you'll forever store it in your brain next to the fact that most toilets flush in E-flat.

What is a Caldarium and why is it part of a bath + beauty company's name?

In late 2008, I spent a better part of two months wearing down my husband with ideas for naming, what is now, Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium. The names I presented to him were exclusive, extravagant and a bit pretentious - everything I wanted my customers to feel when they experienced the unshakable passion for the creations I would be crafting for them. Being the total dude that my husband is, every single suggestion warranted the same reaction; a programmed agreeable head nod while concurrently wondering if he were to place his guitar tuner next to the toilet, would it register an E-flat.

BATHHOUSE Soapery -&- Caldarium

After a squeaky teeter-tottering of impeccable AND imperfect suggestions this is how the word caldarium evolved into being a "tattoo it, let's do it" part of our business being. Equally as interesting is the gained knowledge of what the heck a caldarium is.

I chose "Bathhouse" because the inspiration to open Bathhouse's first retail boutique took place in Hot Springs, the Spa City, known for Bathhouse Row and the eight composed structures on our treasure of a National Park.

"Soapery" was chosen to describe what Bathhouse is / sells because I didn't want visitors to mistaken us as an actual bathhouse spa (we don't rubba' the feet).

Bathhouse Soapery Soap Shop in Hot Springs Arkasas

Then I discovered the word "Caldarium"

I was searching for a word to describe my soap kitchen, because I thought the title should also include the point that we craft our exquisite bathing luxuries in-house. Kitchen just didn't flow as much as I'd liked, even though it would be cohesive to name it a room in a house - or a bathhouse. I poured over everything about bathhouses and what they meant to Roman, Greek, English, and American societies. Then I saw it...CALDARIUM. This word blew my bubble, if ya' know what I mean! It resembled "cauldron" which is what most people think I use when making soap; it also had a purposeful meaning as it related to my new venture. To read and say the word caldarium felt exclusive, extravagant, and a bit pretentious...exactly the feeling I had in mind when conjuring an unforgettable experience for my splashy customers.

The definitions of Caldarium are...

The technical definition of a caldarium is "a hot plunge bath in a Roman bathhouse". Roman baths also had a cold plunge known as a frigidarium (another bullet in your all out trivia night assault). The frigidarium would be entered after the caldarium to open and close pores and to bring on an utterly euphoric sensation of renewal. Versions of this spa treatment are used in our famous Hot Springs' spas today.

The non-techinical / alternate definition of a caldarium is "Bathhouse's soap kitchen, studio, cauldron, etc.". This second, more illusory meaning of the word was everything I had hoped to discover while naming Bathhouse.