The Georgian or Victorian era was a time when etiquette had a highly important role. If you disobeyed these social rules, people would see you as rude or even vulgar depending on the rule. Although basic etiquette has not changed such as the ones about eating, some were unnecessarily restrictive, especially for women. Beachside bathing machines were related to one of these rules. That is, during the Victorian era, it was not appropriate for women to walk on the beach in their bathing suits. So, they had to get into a wooden cart driven into the sea by a horse.
Image Credit: Messy Nessy Chic
Female beachgoers could change into their bathing suit in these wooden carts away from the eyes of the opposite sex. The carts had two doors on either side, and women would exit from the door facing away from the eyes on the beach. The bathing machines started to get popular around the 1750s, before the invention of swimwear. So it was a period when most people swam naked. However, even after the introduction of the early forms of swimwear, it was considered improper for a woman to be seen in her bathing suit.
Bathing machines were most popular in England, but it was also possible to see them lined up on the beaches of parts of the British Empire, France, Germany, the United States, and Mexico. There were even upgraded versions of bathing machines such as the mechanical one belonging to King Alfonso XIII in Spain. In 1901, it was finally acceptable for both women and men to bathe together. This brought the end of the bathing machines which became entirely obsolete by the 1920s.