When you gotta’ go, you gotta’ go. But what if you went back in time and found yourself running around in a field in the 1300’s and there wasn’t a building, let alone a toilet in sight? Throughout history people have always had to ‘go’, it was where they chose to do it that changed and evolved into what we know today.
For most people, a toilet was wherever they happened to be. If they were near farmland they’d dig a little hole and squat over it, if they were near trees, they could relive themselves at will and if they happened to be in a building, they could use either a pot or rudimentary bucket and then slosh the contents out of the window and into the street when they were done. None of this was hygienic of course and you’d have to be careful when you were on the street that you avoided open windows…
Fast forward a little bit in time and the wealthy–those that lived in manor houses or castles had what they called garderobes. These were built on the side of the building, quite high up and consisted of a flat wood or stone slab that stretched from one end of it to the other and having holes with which to sit over. When you ‘went’ the waste would simply go down the chute or pipe and end up in the designated area. There was no flushing, no nothing, simply sit and go and then never have to deal with it again. Of course these could be cold places to sit in the winter so they were usually built near a fireplace or kitchen for warmth, but away from bedrooms because of the inevitable smell. Still not exactly hygienic but getting there.
As society grew, they found that they couldn’t keep throwing waste out of the window, there was just too much of it, so instead a lot of families implemented the chamber pot, the contents of which went into a cesspool that yes, had to be cleaned out on a regular basis.
Thankfully now we have a place to go that is private and sanitary. We have water flush toilets that take our waste away whenever we want, it doesn’t end up in the street, but instead travels by pipe to where it can be processed. We have come a long way and now have toilets that feature self flushing features and heated seats. Yes, we’ve come a long way!