Monday, October 26, 2015

The History of Privies


 Defecation in ancient times is thought to have been done indiscriminately. Prehistoric men released human waste anywhere in the forest. But soon, as the idea of privacy was beginning to take shape in their minds, they began to do it in isolation in caves. This was the crudest form of an outhouse by the first latrine maker or makers. Some studies estimate this to have happened about the same time when man learned to dress up.
But the problem of available space in the latrine caves soon started troubling them. Thus, probably for convenience sake, they started digging holes for the purpose and partly refilling it with earth to make it reusable by others. Then, as refilling reached the level of the ground, they dug another site.

Privy in Scottish Castle
As they advanced in living standards, people started living in constructed shelters of wood and thick canvas, and much later, wood and stone. The idea of communities also began to propagate. About that time, caves were too isolated and dangerous to continue serving the defecation needs of the people. The person or persons who invented the outhouse came up with the idea at this time.

The earliest record of a water closet system was in China. A stone toilet bowl with a water system was found to have been used in 206 B.C. Thus, the first latrine maker and the person who invented the outhouse could well have been a Chinese who lived around this time.

Urinal in Scottish Castle


Some experts estimate that the first outhouse in Europe was used some 500 years ago. In fact, they also assert that the man who invented the outhouse was a European. Fifteenth and sixteenth century Europeans started enjoying the convenience of outhouses then instead of doing the human urge in remote places where digging and refilling were done countless times through the year. Latrines were yet unhygienic to keep inside houses as long as the U-trap and water closet were not yet invented.

Privy System, Welsh Castle

When people back then had the urge to relieve themselves of human waste, they went to a roofed cubicle about 50 to 100 yards away from their houses. It was about 3 by 5 feet in area and stood some 7 feet tall. It had no windows and light. On the center of the floor was a hole and inside it was a tin bowl for catching waste. Each morning, the tin bowl was replaced. The person or people who invented the outhouse had to assign someone for the daily and messy chore. 


Did the Outhouse Help the South in the Civil War?


In the early part of the 20th century, millionaire John D. Rockefeller set out to profit from southern industry, but was stymied by the lack of productivity from an unenergetic workforce. Rockefeller funded studies that discovered the cause: a microscopic hookworm which could travel up to 4 feet in soil from a site of defecation. The “germ of laziness,” as they called it, infected a new host through their bare feet and migrated to the intestine, resulting in anemia, malnutrition and poor worker performance.

 
Rockefeller spearheaded a public health campaign in the South to “unhook the hookworm,” which included the widespread installation of outhouses that buried waste well past 4 feet. Treatment and health education were also major components of the campaign. The educational video below was produced by the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1920.

Anyone who goes camping these days is familiar with outhouses. Eww, yuk. I hate them. I remember going to visit my grandmother when I was a child and having to use theirs. Often, I would walk the 2-3 blocks back to our motel (one of those old fashioned ones where the bathroom was a communal one) to use the one there rather than use Grandmother's. There were spiders in there. Eek. I suppose there are members of the younger generation might not be familiar with outhouses. If not, they're missing out on a lot of memorable fun--not because of outhouses, but because it means they aren't getting out into the mountains and enjoying nature. Frankly, I think someone should start a crusade to preserve what few outhouses are left; they are a vanishing species. Anybody with me?
in the early part of the 20th century, millionaire John D. Rockefeller set out to profit from southern industry, but was stymied by the lack of productivity from an unenergetic workforce. Rockefeller funded studies that discovered the cause: a microscopic hookworm which could travel up to 4 feet in soil from a site of defecation. The “germ of laziness,” as they called it, infected a new host through their bare feet and migrated to the intestine, resulting in anemia, malnutrition and poor worker performance.
Rockefeller spearheaded a public health campaign in the South to “unhook the hookworm,” which included the widespread installation of outhouses that buried waste well past 4 feet. Treatment and health education were also major components of the campaign. The educational video below was produced by the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1920.
- See more at: http://endtheneglect.org/2012/01/how-the-outhouse-helped-save-the-south-and-what-it-can-do-for-the-worlds-bottom-billion/#sthash.buiDPHo3.dpuf
in the early part of the 20th century, millionaire John D. Rockefeller set out to profit from southern industry, but was stymied by the lack of productivity from an unenergetic workforce. Rockefeller funded studies that discovered the cause: a microscopic hookworm which could travel up to 4 feet in soil from a site of defecation. The “germ of laziness,” as they called it, infected a new host through their bare feet and migrated to the intestine, resulting in anemia, malnutrition and poor worker performance.
Rockefeller spearheaded a public health campaign in the South to “unhook the hookworm,” which included the widespread installation of outhouses that buried waste well past 4 feet. Treatment and health education were also major components of the campaign. The educational video below was produced by the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1920.
- See more at: Http://endtheneglect.org/2012/01/how-the-outhouse-helped-save-the-south-and-what-it-can-do-for-the-worlds-bottom-billion/#sthash.buiDPHo3.dpuf



Someone wanted some pictures of classy outhouses. How about these? I think they are sort of classy...for outhouses.




6 comments:

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Interesting post, but pretty poopy. :)

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Forgot to add...when I worked, we quite often found shoe prints on the seat of the toilet. Finally realized that a lot of chinese people stand over a hole and urinate or... I guess, their mom's told them not to sit on strange toilets. :)

Ginger Jones Simpson said...
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Ginger Jones Simpson said...
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Paty Jager said...

I was wondering when someone would do an outhouse post. Interesting info.

Zina Abbott said...

I believe the Romans, along with their aqueduct system, had a sewer system in place that allowed for toilets in buildings. However, that may not count as an "out" house.

Robyn Echols w/a Zina Abbott