Commodes Of Olde
on 9/30/2005 (1)
Ever wonder how people did their dirty business in the old days? No?...well read on anyway!
|24 karat bowl. Going in style. |
Ancient Romans: Romans had no understanding of sanitation, as the science of microbiology hadn't been discovered yet. They did realize, however, that a steady flow of water from aqueducts was at least a reasonable way to flush out public commodes and incorporated running drains and sewers through the larger ones. People would sit in plain view of each other, some of the larger public commodes seating hundreds. The ghastly conclusion at the end of one's business was that there was no toilet paper; a sponge on a stick was daubed in the water at ones feet, and the backside swabbed that way, rinsed "clean" for the next person along to use. No wonder cholera and dysentery plagued large Roman cities. All hail Commodus!
Ancient Greeks: Most Greek towns had no sewage system, and just latrines for bathrooms. Because their sewage just drained into the nearest stream or river, the water in towns was not safe to drink. So the bigger Greek cities like Athens or Corinth built public fountains, with the water piped in from out of town, where it was cleaner. Keeping in mind that the Ancients had no knowledge of microbiology and disease, but certainly they had modern noses. Such practices of dumping raw sewage out of second story windows into street storm drains continued well into the 19th century in many parts of England, Europe, and as far east as Japan.
Middle Ages: Between the period 500 to 1500 AD was a dark age from the point of view of human hygiene. It was an era of cess-pools and human excreta all around. Rich man's housing and forts in India had protrusions in which defecation was done and the excrements fell into the open ground or the river below. The forts of Jaiselmer in India and big houses on the banks of rivers bear testimony to this fact. In Europe it was an era of chamber pots, cess-pools and close stools. So were the toilets protruding out of the castles and the excrements from which fell into the river.
It was also an era of "liberty to pee" French poet Claude le Petit described Paris as 'Ridiculous Paris' and in the following words:
"My shoes my stockings, my overcoat
My collar, my glove, my hat
Have all been soiled by the same substance
I would mistake myself rubbish"
An odiferous period of human history, indeed.
The modern Crapper: Flush toilet design began in 1596, when Sir John Harington invented a device for Queen Elizabeth (his Godmother) that released wastes into cess-pools. Harington invented two elements of the modern toilet: a valve at the bottom of the water tank, and a wash-down system.
There is disagreement over who was the inventor of the modern flush toilet, and flushing out the truth is not easy. Many give credit to Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), an English sanitary engineer, for inventing the valve~and~siphon arrangement that made our modern toilet possible, hence the term "crapper" joins the English language, for better or for worse.
24 karat gold bowl: Hung Gar Master Lam Sai-wing read about Vladimir Lenin's dream of celebrating a socialist revolution by building toilets of gold when he was a teenager in mainland China. Mr. Lam, now 45 and living in Hong Kong, has realized Lenin's dream by building two solid-gold toilets in a bathroom gilded with 24-karat gold and encrusted with gems at his successful jewelry business, 3-D Gold. To use the $4.9-million gilded bathroom,<
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