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Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers: A History of the Bathroom

Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers: A History of the Bathroom

Автором Penny Colman

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Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers: A History of the Bathroom

Автором Penny Colman

4.5/5 (3 оценки)
48 pages
51 minutes
Dec 22, 2011


A fascinating, lively account of toilets, tubs, and sanitation systems with intriguingly catchy chapter titles from "Splish, Splash, the First Bath," "The Queen's Toilet," "Ugh, Gross!" to "Bathrooms Beyond Belief." Award-winning author, Penny Colman traces the fascinating history of the bathroom, starting thousands of years ago on the Orkney Islands of Scotland where hollowed-out slabs of stone with a crude drain served as the first indoor bathroom, to the ancient Egyptian city of Tel el Amarna where in 1370 B.C. there were limestone toilet seats and stone bathtubs; to the years when people in western Europe didn't pay any attention to sewage disposal or bathing; to the International Space Station where a water regeneration system distills, filters, ionizes and oxidizes wastewater, including urine, into freshwater for drinking. A list of "Ten Facts About Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers" includes the fact that Albert Einstein once said that if he had it to do all over again, he would become a plumber. The book includes an extensive bibliography and webliography.

Dec 22, 2011

Об авторе

Penny Colman is an award-winning author of books, essays, and articles. Her books include Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II and Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference. Her book, Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial was named a ?Best of the Best Books for the 21st Century? by the American Library Association. She has appeared on television and radio. Colman is a Distinguished Lecturer, Queens College, The City University of New York. www.pennycolman.com

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Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers - Penny Colman

Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks and Sewers:

The History of The Bathroom

By Penny Colman

Copyright © 2011 by Penny Colman


Smashwords Edition

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. All rights reserved.

Cover photograph: kobi & yael from Israel (השירות הטוב ביותר) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

The quotes in the text in the order in which they appear were taken from the following secondary sources, which are listed in the bibliography: Mazzurco (1986); Wright (1960); Wright(1960): Mazzurco (1986); Hibbert (1986); Wright(1960); Plumbing and Mechanical (1993) Chicago Daily News 1939) Domestic Engineering (1981)



Chapter One: Splish, Splash, The First Bath

Chapter Two: Seats and Sewers

Chapter Three: The Queen's Toilet

Chapter Four: The Empire's Baths

Chapter Five: Downs and Ups of Sanitation

Chapter Six: Ugh, Gross

Chapter Seven: Lots of Pigs

Chapter Eight: Bathrooms Beyond Belief

Ten Facts About Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks and Sewers




I didn’t start thinking about the history of the bathroom until I took a white water rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The trip lasted thirteen days and it was my first experience of living life without a bathroom. We used river water and biodegradable soap for cleaning ourselves. We spit toothpaste into the fast moving water. We urinated on the wet sand or in the river.

Every night we camped along the river, and the guides set up a toilet behind a boulder or tree. The toilet was actually a surplus military ammunition can with a toilet seat balanced across the top. A large, green garbage bag was placed inside the ammunition can. In the morning, the guides sealed the bag, lifted it out, carried it to a baggage raft, and placed it in a large metal container that would be carried out of the canyon at the end of the trip. Don't pee in the toilet or drop in sharp objects, said the guides. Urine makes it too heavy and you can imagine the mess if a sharp object pokes through the bag.

If we needed a toilet during the day, the guides provided a day tripper, a small ammunition can with a small plastic bag and no toilet seat. Using it required flexibility, balance, and urgency.

The first and only time I used the day tripper, I said to myself, There’s got to be a story here! There was, and here it is: TOILETS, BATHTUBS, SINKS, AND SEWERS: THE HISTORY OF THE BATHROOM.

Chapter One


There is no truer sign of civilization in culture than

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