Menstuff® has compiled information on Toilets. The picture below is not the "missing episode" from Ally McBeel and is not the reason the show was cancelled, although it would have taken the unisex bathroom to a whole new level. Women could actually have the "eye-to-eye" contact they have so longed for while talking to you

Edge Designs is an all women run company that designs interior office space. They had a recent opportunity to do an office project in New York (Editor: Or was it in New Zealand?).

We all know that men never talk, never look at each other, and never laugh much in the restroom. The men's room is a serious and quiet place. The client allowed the women of this company a free hand in all design aspects. The client was a company that was also run by all women execs. Now, with the addition of one mural on the wall......let's just say the men's restroom is a place of laughter and smiles.




Forget putting the toilet seat down.
Put the toilet lid down before you flush the toilet. Watch why!

History of Toilets
Historical Evolution
The Joy of Pissing!
A Woman's Guide to How to Pee Standing
Toilet Seats - A Men's Issue?
A Real Man
ULF Toilets Do Work
Space Station's Toilet Needs a Plumber
Poetry on Nightsoil
Public Habits and Attitude
America's Best Public Restrooms
Public Toilets and People
Law and Citizens
Toilet Technologies
Low-Flow Toilets that Work
Toilet Manufacturers
Toilet Seats
Toilet Seats & Disease
Use the First Stall
Signs the Builder is Scrimping on Your New Home
China Debuts 1,000-Stall Public Restroom
Rules for the Use of Urnials - Humor
Male Restrom Etiquette - YouTube plus Outtakes
The Logic of the Toilet Seat - Appears in The Modern Martian's Guidebook by Dwight Brown
Other Resources

1:53Close the Lid

Toilet Seats - A Men's Issue?

Toilets are one of the many ways men are minimized and used in this culture. In this particular situation, to get them to spend more money. In building a house, we will think nothing of upgrading the carpets, spending a little more for longer lasting paint, a few extra touches in the kitchen, etc. But to spend a little more on a toilet that works better if there is a man or boy in the house - sorry, that's an upgrade. And, while a "man's" toilet is standard equipment in both male and female prisons, and is often required in public access bathrooms, in addition to a split toilet seat, it is estimated that 80% of the 2 piece toilets builders install in new homes are round. Why, to save a few bucks. After all, until now, most men don't even know the difference.

You see, a couple of years ago I upgrade my bathrooms. Partly to decrease my use of water by going to 1.6 gallons/per/flush toilets from 7 GPF, but also to be more stylish I paid over $350 each for two Kohler one-piece toilets. The salesperson didn't tell me I wasn't buying a toilet better suited for a man. The sales material also ignored this fact. It wasn't until earlier this month (9/01/01) that I learned what I had done. I hadn't purchased a "man's" toilet.

So, I started doing some research. I went to my local retailers. I looked at sales brochures. I talked to several contractors. "What is the advantage of the "elongated" toilet?" Most didn't know. or didn't mention it. Then I called every manufacturer with an 800 # listed below. Some never returned my call. Some thought I was joking. And the pitch I got from manufacturers who did answer my question about the advantage of an elongated toilet centered around either "they're more expensive", or "they take up more room (2 to 3", depending on the manufacturer)" or "they're quieter". Not one said they are more suited for a man's genitalia, until after I brought the up the subject.

Check out your toilet at home. Sit on it. If it's round, see how close to the porcelain and bacteria your penis ends up. After all, sanitary conditions are the primary reason municipalities require elongated toilets with split seats. Then, test an elongated toilet. There's definitely more room when you're sitting, and better coverage beneath you, when you're standing. So, while the round toilet has a few advantages over the elongated toilet, primarily price and space, the elongated toilet works better for men. It also works better for women since it gives them more room for wiping, since most women wipe partially and some completely from the front, and it gives them more room to deal with tampons.

So why doesn't everyone -- contractors, retail sales people, manufacturer's -- tell you these extra advantages of an elongated toilet for men AND women?  I've got my opinion but why don't you ask them yourself the next time you're in the market and they suggest a round toilet. How does this sit with you? We'd like to know the responses you get back. - Gordon Clay

A Real Man

If you ended up with a "woman's" toilet in your new home, you're not alone. And, while you could go to the expense of replacing the round toilet with an elongated one, consider the following size issue - yours and the working room of the toilet. If you're stuck with a round toilet which is typically 16 1/2" from mounts to the front interior edge, you could get a split seat to give you more room. Also, higher grade seats generally have a bigger opening.

Older markets like Manhattan, Detroit, and Chicago, where many apartments have galley baths, the few inches saved by the round toilet makes a difference. And, with the average wholesale price of a toilet (without seat) at $58 (of over 10,000,000 toilets sold last year), we've got some old habits to break.

But the rest of us don't have to do it the old way. When you consider the trend towards an increased use of tile in a home - take a look at the cost of tile. Why, then, should anyone complain if you spend a little more on the toilet. You'll be a happier man. And, we don't think your significant other will complain either. Everyone benefits.

So, if you are still in the planning stage on that new home or remodel, we'll give you a few other options to think about.

Ultra-Flow (ULF or Low Flow)Toilets. Since code changes in 1997, a 1.6 gpf (gallon per flush) toilet has been it. You can get them smaller, but a 1.6 will save a family of four an average of 10,000 gallons of water a year. Have you looked at your water bill lately? But, don't stop there.

Get More Working Room. Depending on the space in your bathroom, European models are 17 1/2" from the mounts to the front interior edge. And, US elongated toilets add yet another inch. Coupled with a high quality seat or split seat, and you're in business

A Bidet. To give you an ideal of how far behind the Europeans we are, I saw one designer magazine with the bathtub between the toilet and bidet. Someone got a bidet to make a statement and has no idea its function. In Europe, Asia, and South America, where some form of bidet has been used by men and women for centuries, and where the people seldom shower more than twice a week, the bidet is necessary for personal hygiene. In America, it's still just a statement.

A Higher Throne: The standard height of a toilet seat is 15 1/2". Now, sit in a chair. If it's comfortable, it's probably 17 or 18 inches high, so why shouldn't "your" toilet be the same. And, while Hi Boy toilets have been stuck in the airport look for years, some manufacturers are changes things, giving the bathroom a bit more style.

A Man's Toilet. Count the number of times you do a number one each day versus a number two. Probably 2 or 3 to 1. Catch the new trend. If you have a Great Room, or basement workshop, even a Cabana or guest space, think about putting in a urinal for the "Man" of the house, and his sons. At .75 gallons a flush (with some waterless urinals entering the market where the liquid sealant is lighter than urine so the urine passes right through into the sewage system) you can save time, mess, and water all at the same time. This also saves around $100 in construction costs since there are no valves or copper tubing involved. And you cut your water consumption in half for the majority of the flushes you do during a day. Think about it.

Style: China manufacturer's in the U.S. are well behind the Europeans. They have had to deal with space and water usage for centuries so have had more time to think about it. And, while a few US manufacturers are beginning to consider style as an element for the bathroom, foreign manufacturers have the edge there too.

So, the next time the sales person or contractor tries to talk you into the round toilet, let them know what you think.

When you gotta go....

See more from South Korea

Come to the Rescue: A Woman's Guide to How to Pee Standing Up

It was at an SCCA sports car race back in the early 70s. The wife of one of the corner workers wanted to join the evening's festivities, which were basically a group of "guy" race car drivers and pit-crew sitting around a fire drinking and telling stories. One of the race car driver's balked saying "You can join this group when you car piss over the hood of a car." To our delite and his regret, she used his race car at the next event to prove her prowess.

Well, now's the time that you might have to start asking your significant hottie to "put the seat down." Let her know about the Woman's Guide on How to Pee Standing The site has information on how to pee standing without devices and has comments from visitors on their techniques. They also developed a device they call TravelMate , which won a prestigious Medical Device Excellence Award at New York City's Javitts Convention Center in 2001.

Get Used To It - Longer lines.


Value of learning.

ULF Toilets Do Work

In the last decade nearly 45,000 water-efficient, ultra-flow-flush (1.6-gallons-per-flush) toilets have been installed in Marin Country, CA. Even though the vast majority of customers are satisfied with these toilets, there is still some doubt about their performance. Fortunately, ULF toilets have been on the market long enough for nationwide testing to be completed.

The results of this testing, conducted by the independent American National Standards Institute, demonstrate that 1.6-gallon toilets are as effective as 5-and 7-gallon toilets and are more effective than 3.5-gallon toilets. Much of the misconception about ULF toilets can be traced to the 1980s introduction of 3.5-gallon tanks.

As water conservation became more important, toilet manufacturers looked for a way to reduce the amount of water toilets used. Those first efforts were not completely successful. Manufacturers simply reduced the amount of water in the tank without changing the toilet bowl. With less water, the toilets weren't reliable.

The 1.6-gallon toilets are a different story. Manufacturers redesigned and reengineered the toilets to that they do work efficiently with less water. The poor reputation of the earlier 3.5-gallon toilets continues to reflect on new water-efficient toilets, even though the 3.5-gallon toilets are no longer on the market.

Why all the fuss? Except for irrigation, toilet flushing is the single largest use of water in the home. So, if everyone replaces their old water-guzzling toilets with 1.6-gallon models, we can save a lot of water. Some local water districts like Marin will even help pay for these toilets. You can get a rebate of $75 per toilet (two per household) when you replace your older model toilets with new ones. For a rebate application in Marin, visit their website at or call 415.945.1524. In other areas, check with your local water district.

History of Toilets

The paper presented by Dr. Bindeswar Pathak, Ph.D., D.Litt., Founder, Sulabh Movement at International Symposium on Public Toilets held in Hong Kong on May 25-27, 1995

Highlights in the Evolution of Toilet System - 2500 BC to 1990 AD


Unlike body functions like dance, drama and songs, defecation is considered very lowly. As a result very few scholars documented precisely the toilet habits of our predecessors. The Nobel Prize winner for Medicine (1913) Charles Richet attributes this silence to the disgust that arises from noxiousness and lack of usefulness of human waste. Others point out that as sex organs are the same or nearer to the organs of defecation, those who dared to write on toilet habits were dubbed either as erotic or as vulgar and, thus, despised in academic and social circles. It was true for example of Urdu poets in India, and English and French poets. However, as the need to defecate is irrepressible, so were some writers who, despite social as well as academic stigma, wrote on the subject and gave us at least an idea in regard to toilet habits of human beings. Based on this rudimentary information, one can say that development in civilisation and sanitation have been co-terminus. The more developed was the society, the more sanitised it became and vice versa.

Toilet is part of history of human hygiene which is a critical chapter in the history of human civilisation and which cannot be isolated to be accorded unimportant position in history. Toilet is a critical link between order and disorder and between good and bad environment.

In my own country i.e. India, how can any one ignore the subject of toilet when the society is faced with human excretions of the order of 900 million litres of urine and 135 million kilogrammes of faecal matter per day with totally inadequate system of its collection and disposal. The society, thus, has a constant threat of health hazards and epidemics. As many as 600 out of 900 million people do open defecation. Sewerage facilities are available to no more than 30 per cent of population in urban areas and only 3 per cent of rural population has access to pour flush latrines.

Seeing this challenge, I think the subject of toilet is as important if not more than other social challenges like literacy, poverty, education and employment. Rather subject of toilet is more important because lack of excremental hygiene is a national health hazard while in other problems the implications are relatively closer to only those who suffer from unemployment, illiteracy and poverty. I thus view a study of the history of toilet an important subject matter.

As long as man did not have an established abode, he did not have a toilet. He excreted wherever he felt like doing so. When he learnt to have a fixed house, he moved toilet to courtyard and then within his home. Once this was done, it became a challenge to deal with smell and the need was felt to have a toilet which can intake human wastes and dispose these of out of the house instantly and, thus, help maintain cleanliness. Man tried various ways to do so i.e. chamber pots, which were cleaned manually by the servants or slaves, toilets protruding out of the top floor of the house or the castle and disposal of wastes in the river below, or common toilets with holes on the top and flowing river or stream underneath or just enter the river or stream and dispose of the waste of the human body. While the rich used luxurious toilet chairs or close stools the poor defecated on the roads, in the jungle or straight into the river.

It was only in the 16th century that a technological breakthrough came about and which helped the human beings to have clean toilets in houses. This breakthrough did not come about easily and human race had to live in insanitary conditions for thousands of years. For all to know the history of toilet we have established in New Delhi the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets with the help of curators like Dr. Frittz Lischka from Austria and 80 to 90 other professionals around the world. The museum traces history of toilet for the last 4500 years.

Historical Evolution

The perusal of literature brings home the fact that we have only fragmentary information on the subject of toilet as a private secluded place to help the body relieve its waste. Sitting type toilets in human history appeared quite early. In the remains of Harappa civilisation in India, at a place called Lothal (62 Kilometers from the city of Ahmedabad in Western India) and in the year 2500 BC, the people had water borne toilets in each house and which was linked with drains covered with burnt clay bricks. To facilitate operations and maintenance, it had man-hole covers, chambers etc. It was the finest form of sanitary engineering. But with the decline of Indus valley civilisation, the science of sanitary engineering disappeared from India. From then on, the toilets in India remained primitive and open defecation became rampant.

The archaeological excavations confirm existence of sitting type toilets in Egypt (2100 BC) also. Though we have been able to mechanise the working of these toilets, the form and basic format of the toilet system remains the same. In Rome, public bath-cum-toilets were also well developed. There were holes in the floor and beneath was a flowing water. When the Romans travelled they constructed the toilets for their use. The stools were key-hole type so that these could be used for defecation as well as urination. Excavations in Sri Lanka and Thailand too have brought out a contraption in which urine was separated and allowed to flow while the other portion was used at the same time for defecation.

Historical evidence exists that Greeks relieved themselves out of the houses. There was no shyness in use of toilet. It was frequent to see at dinner parties in Rome slaves bringing in urine pots made of silver; while members of the royalty used it but continued the play at the same time. Whatever little information is available about history of toilets in India, it was quite primitive. This practice of covering waste with earth continued till the Mughal era, where in the forts of Delhi and Agra one can see remnants of such methodologies to dispose of human waste.

It was also popular in those days to emphasise on the medicinal values of human waste. Urine was supposed to have many therapeutic values. Some quacks even claimed that by study of urine they could confidently say whether a young girl was virgin or not. Hiroshi Umino 1) reports that a Pharaoh got his eye cured by use of urine of a woman, whom he later married. It was also widely believed that the dung of a donkey mixed with nightsoil removes black pustules or urine of a eunuch can help make women fertile. For oral care it was advised to relieve oneself on one's feet 2) because the divine liquid gives the required cure. 3) In the Indian scriptures there are stories about the strength of wrestlers. If a wrestler defecates too much, he is relatively weak because he cannot digest all what he eats. Similarly, a perfect saint has no need to defecate, for he eats as much as he can digest or he is able to digest all that he eats. 4) So not to defecate was considered saintly while in other societies not to defecate was considered manly. Blown Bettelheim. 5) States that men of Chaga tribe blocked their anus during the ceremony of attaining of manhood and pretended as if they did not defecate at all. This was also one way of establishing superiority over women. The ancient Greeks it is reported had similar beliefs. Swallowing something and not taking them out was considered as source of power and authority.

In Middle Ages, people used to throw excreta from their houses on the roads below. 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.

There was lot of jest and humour relating to toilet habits and toilet appurtenances. Ballets were performed with basket of night soil in the form of hood, on the head or a tin plate commode moving around with toilet sounds. The clothes were spotted with accessories from the toilet. The actors were etronice (night soil) Sultan Prime of Foirince (i.e. diarrhoea) etc. There are stories given by Guerrand 6) which depict the mood of Europe at that time. A lady of noble birth requested a young man to hold his hand. The young man suddenly feels the urge to urinate. Forgetting that he is holding the hand of a lady of noble birth he relieves himself. At the end he says "excuse me Madam, there was lot of urine in my body and was causing great inconvenience", Similarly Maid of Honour Anne of Austria owing to excessive laughter, urinated in the bed of the queen. Joseph Pujol (hero extraordinary of French scatology) in his shows demonstrated many types of farts i.e. young girl, mother-in-law, bride. He could even extinguish a candle 30 centimeters away through his farting.

Poetry on Nightsoil

Irrepressible poets in many countries despite social stigma attached to their professional work were writing poetry on defecation habits, farting and heavenly qualities of night soil. Chakrian in India, Euslrog de Beaulieo Gilles Corrozal and Piron in France, Swift in England were all enjoying themselves at the technological impasse which human beings were faced with in disposing of what they excreted.

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"

Gilles Corrozel (7) described the toilet in the following vein i.e.

"Recess of great comfort
Whether it is situated
in the fields or in the citys
Recess in which no one dare enter
Except for cleaning his stomach
Recess of great dignity"

Or take the erotic French Poet Eustrog de beaulieu (8) and I dare to translate as follows:

"When the cherries become ripe
Many black soils of strange shapes
Will breed for many days and urgents
Then will mature and become products of various colours and breaths"

French poet Piron called the faeces as 'Royal Nightsoil. (9) Though ostracised by the academic community he wrote as follows:

"What am I seeing oh! God
It is night soil
What a wonderful substance it is.
It is excreted by the greatest of all Kings
Its odour speaks of majesty"

Public baths were quite famous in early Rome (about 200 BC)

English poet called night soil as object of contemplation for the sage. According to him, midwives predicted the future of the child from examining the first excrement. In the province of Punjab in India and before independence, Grandmothers ate the first excrement of the male child if he was born after a long period of marriage or after number of female births in the family.

The Urdu poet Chirkin (10) in India was not well recognised by his poet fraternity. Out of vengeance and to create embarrassment he wrote on human waste and farting. I venture to share with you the following English version translated from Urdu-the language in which he wrote.

"The asset which I will earn
now will all be invested in Toilet.
This time when I visit your home,
I will never 'pee' there."

Public Habits and Attitude

In the absence of proper toilet facilities, people perforce had to defecate and urinate wherever they could. Defecating on the road, open spaces, or just easing themselves in the river was very common.

While the authorities were educating people to have private places for defecating, and getting it cleaned, in actual practice there was total disorder. Squalor and filth abounded in cities. The social reformers advised people where to defecate, how to defecate in privacy and the need to control themselves when in company. Children were taught not to touch human waste. At the same time, there was no hesitation in letting loose pigs to eat human excreta.

Number of enactments, however, could not prevent people to defecate in the open. A delegation led by master weaver protested in front of the French Municipal Building and said "our fathers have defecated at the place where you prevent us to do. We have defecated here and now our children will defecate there."

The rich used wool or hemp for ablution while the poor used grass, stone or sand or water depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. Use of newspaper was also common. In Russia to the utter dislike of all, the subordinates even stamped the toilet paper with imperial arms for use of the Czar. But in was termed as sacrilege. The final solution to the problem of ablution was found when in 1857, Joseph Cayetty invented the toilet paper in USA. This invention has enabled human beings to have a tissue paper, which is convenient to use, is absorbent, as well as compact and within reach while defecating.

In India it is very common to use water for ablution. However, the hand one uses varies in various parts of India. While in South India, people use the right hand for eating food, it is considered disgusting to use the same hand for ablution with water. So left hand is used for sanitary purposes. In most parts of the North India, however, no such sharp distinction exists.

Household hygiene habits of ordinary people left much to be desired. The dry latrines using bucket was cleaned by menials. These workers came to be known as Bucket Brigades'.

According to Hiroshi Umino, European culture blossomed forth after contact with Crusaders from the East. Washing hands for example before food also became popular. The social reformers admonished the people by saying "suck your fingers beast, do not wipe them on the wall". In colonial times in India, the British called big cities as "vast mass privy" due to defecation by people at all times and at all places. There were also no separate toilets for men and women, till a restaurant in Paris put up 'Men Toilet' and 'Women Toilet' at a dance party in 1739 AD.

It is also around this time that the urinal pot was introduced to enable men to relieve themselves. The facilities for women were niggardly and they were taught virtues of control. Despite technological breakthrough a lot needed to be accomplished to educate people to use the new technology appropriately, to ensure that the toilet drainage system is not misused by disposal of other household wastes. However, at city level the disposal of human waste still remained a problem.

Public Toilets and People

In each society from time to time the government felt the need to provide public toilet facilities to those who could not afford to have individual toilets. The public toilets have a long history in number of countries and most of which were constructed and managed by municipalities. But there was all around disgust with their poor maintenance, vandalism and lack of basic facilities. The Mughal King Jehangir built a public toilet at Alwar, 120 kms away from Delhi for use of 100 families at a time in 1556 AD. Not much documentary evidence exists on the quality of its maintenance but one can well visualise that with rudimentary technology and with government to manage the O&M functions, it like others must be in very unsatisfactory condition. As hygienic conditions in public toilets were bad, people preferred to do open defecation. This was true in most of the countries. It was in 1872 that the municipalities in France asked the private companies to manage public toilets for a lease period of 20 years. The private companies were also offering even amounts to government as they felt confident to recover the same through user charges. Ground floor owners were also being requested to construct latrines for use of the passersby. Previously known as Palais Royal Hotel in Paris, the owners started charging monthly fee from diners. Incidentally condoms were also sold as part of the facilities.

In India, when I founded Sulabh International in 1970 in a small village in Patna, people laughed at me when I proposed to introduce the pay-and-use toilets. But my approach has succeeded and today 10 million people use Sulabh facilities every day. Most of the public toilets are being given to us to construct and maintain on a 30 years base period at no charge to the State. At the beginning of the century most of the public toilets have gone underground in Europe, but in India these are still overground. Much more attention is being given to construct these toilets on pay and use basis in slum areas where men pay half a rupee per use, the females and children avail of these facilities free. The facilities available include toilet, bathing or washing of clothes and to change clothes. We are also setting up primary health care centre at these places. However, a lot of effort is required to get people's participation in efficient operation and maintenance of public toilets. This remains a big challenge to be met by NGOs. Based on my experience of the last 25 years, I am also convinced that only cooperation between Government and NGOs can make the sanitation programme a success. Neither the NGOs nor the government can create an impact if they work in isolation.

America's Best Public Restrooms

What's the best public restroom in America? For a fourth year the public is being asked to choose from a list of finalists judged on cleanliness and style.

This year's finalists span the country and serve up everything from fireplaces and chandeliers to Barbie and GI Joe. (The Gender Neutral bathrooms in the new Kansas City International Airport. 12/11/19.)

Here are the finalists and their bragging rights.

The Muse Hotel, New York: Individually decorated restrooms based on themes, such as "Passion" and "Envy."

Bryant Park, New York: A restroom described as "beautiful," with a full-time attendant, fresh-cut flowers and scented oils to sweeten the air.

Rivue Restaurant & Lounge, Louisville: A "luxurious and modern" restroom with cloth towels and translucent ruby wash basins.

Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City: The facilities here are done up in Italian Carerra marble, bronze and crystal chandeliers, inland wood and hand-painted walls.

The Fountain on Locust, St. Louis: Hand-painted murals, ornate fixtures and designer mirrors, make this restroom special.

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, Wichita: At the 74-year-old home of the Wichita Wizards baseball team, women's restrooms have hand-painted murals and "Lil Rookie" diaper changing stations.

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica: Designed to celebrate the pier's 100th anniversary, the restroom features "an undulating roof evoking thoughts of a vintage wooden roller coaster or ocean waves."

China Grill, Las Vegas: At the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, this comfort throne features dazzling fountains and individual TVs.

Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, Indiana: Built in 1928, the theatre boasts vintage restrooms and lounges in Egyptian design with fireplaces, gold columns and wainscoting.

Joe's Farm Grill, Gilbert Arizona: This upscale retro burger joint has restrooms with encased GI Joe and Barbie dolls and TVs playing old episodes of "Stingray" and the "Thunderbirds."

The finalists are chosen by Cintas Corp., which provides uniforms and restaurant supplies. You can vote for your favorite at

Use the First Stall

After analyzing 51 public restrooms, experts found that the stall closest to the restroom door consistently had the lowest bacteria levels (and the most toilet paper!). The first stall probably sees less traffic because it's near the door and people want privacy. And when you're finished, stand before you flush. When toilets are flushed, a fine mist of water containing contagious bacteria sprays up. You can catch intestinal bugs and hepatitis from it.

Law and Citizens

In order to improve sanitary conditions, Governments in various countries also resorted to legal measures. Dirt by definition was considered as disorder, because it disrupts order of maintaining the environment.

In 1519 the provincial government of Normandy in France made provision of toilets compulsory in each house. The French government also passed a parliamentary decree to make cesspools in each house compulsory. Again a similar attempt was made in 1539. In Bordeaux in France, the government made construction of cesspools compulsory. It was tried again in 1668 when the Lieutenant of Police made construction of toilets compulsory. In England the first sanitation law was passed in 1848. In India the first sanitation bill was introduced in 1878. It tried to make construction of toilets compulsory even in huts of Calcutta - the capital of India at that time. The Bill even proposed construction of public toilets at the cost of neighbouring houses. The government of India enacted another Sanitation Act in 1993. Under this Act construction of dry latrine and its manual cleaning was made an offence. But despite these enactments open defecation is rampant, proving that unless adequate social awareness is created in a developing country where instruments of state are weak and family income is low, it is a hard task to make significant progress in this area.

Toilet Technologies

Eighteenth century was a century of toilets. Despite invention of water closet by John Harrington in 1596 which was costing only 6 shillings and 8 pence this was not adopted on a large scale for almost 182 years. The delays in actual use of invention is common in human history which Toffler calls as "Cultural Gap". It was true for railway train, ball point pen and innumerable other inventions. During this period people used earth closet. In these toilets (11) instead of water earth was used. So the problem of cleaning remained. The world also saw development of Pan closets - which like cigarette ash tray threw the material at the bottom. This too required manual cleaning. At the same time chamber pots, close stools, open defecation remained. In comparison to this, Harrington's toilet under the name Angrez was being used in France, though not introduced on a large scale in England. In 1738 JF Brondel introduced the valve type flush toilet. Alexander Cummings further improved the technology and gave use a better device in 1775. In Cumming's design water was perennially there in the toilet so it suppressed odours. Still the working of the valve and fool-proof inlet of water needed further improvements. In 1777; Joseph Preiser provided the required improvement. Then Joseph Bramah in 1778, substituted the slide valve with crank valve, It seemed then that the technology of pour flush was now perfected. No the world was yet to witness further technological developments. In 1870, SS Helior invented the flush type toilet, called optims - an improvement over Blummer's design.

From 1880 onwards, however, the emphasis has been more on aesthetics to make cisterns and bowls decorative. The bowls were so colourful that some suggested to use these as soup bowls. It was in 1880 that the toilet curtains made their appearance. The trend was called the age of "Belleepoque" in France and Edwardian (opulence) in England. During 1890 we had the first cantilever type of toilet. Since then the world has not witnessed any significant technical change except some change in shape of toilets and reduction in quantity of water per use.

It was around 1900 that the institution of bathroom came in vogue in Europe. In India the institution of Gushalkhana (bathroom) was established by the Mughal Kings in 1556. Oppressed by the heat and dust the Kings constructed luxurious bathing and massage facilities. But this was only for the rich. The ordinary citizens however lived in insanitary conditions.

Unlike in the past when latrines were tucked away in attics to keep it away from nose and eye of the family and the society. In contrast the twentieth century has given a pride of place to toilet in the home-rather these are more opulent, more spacious than anytime in the past. While the provision of toilet in the house solved household problem of cleanliness but the challenge remained as to how to dispose of human waste at city level. This was also solved when the sewerage system was introduced. Haussmann in 1858, describes beautifully the sewerage system. He said that "the underground galleries which are the organs of the big city will work in the same way as organs of the body, without being revealed.

The pure and fresh water, the heat and light will circulate like the various fluids whose movement and maintenance are necessary to ensure life. The secretions will not mysteriously like place there and maintain public health without disturbing the order of the city and spoiling its outer beauty". (12) Around the same time the sewerage system was introduced at Calcutta - capital of colonial India. However its extension in the country was and remains slow as it is capital intensive and beyond the resource capacity of the economy even today.

In 1970, realising that sewerage facilities will remain out of the reach of the society at large, Sulabh International introduced a pioneer technology twin pourflush latrines and human excreta based Biogas plants. We have constructed in the last 25 years over 650,000 toilet cum bath complexes and 62 human excreta based biogas plants and are maintaining them. I believe this gives an appropriate solution to dispose of and recycle human waste into fertiliser, electricity and working gas.

1.) Hiroshi Umino "Another Room - Hidden History of Toilets". (Title translated from Japanese)
2) Another room ibid
3) Roger Henri Guerrand, History of Toilets (Title translated in English) Bluno
4) Bettelhum, Scars of sex.' Quoted by Hiroshi Umino in op. Cit.
5) Roger Henri Guerrand ibid
6) Roger Henri Guerrand lbid
7) Translated in English from the original French
8) Roger Henri Guerrand lbid
9) Translated in English from the original French
10) Diwane - Charkiyan, 1970
11) Mary Douglas, Dirt and Taboo.12) John Seamore, Forgotten Domestic Techniques - Portrait of our Ancient life, 1987.


Low-Flow Toilets that Work

With the changes in the water usage laws of 1992, many encountered plumbing problems. The first round of low-flow toilets were not quite ready for prime-time. Customer complaints were many and plumbers were in the bad position of installing products that nobody wanted to use. Recently, in the wonderful world of plumbing, things have changed with new and updated products. Some of the new plumbing products work better than the old water wasters.

Despite complaints of poor working toilets, these toilets, in this report have been proven by plumbers to work in spite of the current standards which allow for a maximum water usage of 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF).

The new lower flow toilets have been mandated to save precious and limited resources. For those of us that had grown used to 7.0 GPF toilets, it comes as a shock. The first recent evolution in toilets came with the 5.5 GPF, then the 3.5 GPF, and now 1.6 GPF.

Switching to water-efficient plumbing fixtures could save the average household as much as $50 to $100 a year on water and wastewater bills. Because of the new low-flow toilets, Americans save $11.3 million everyday on their water bill.

Some parts of the country that have poor water quality (sand, rocks, etc.) work better with gravity toilets. (non-assisted toilets flush using gravity) Some of the gravity toilets work very well with one flush.

Handicap style toilets with the higher bowl height (17" instead of 15") seem to perform better than the standard height toilets.

Some of the low flow toilets have little water in the bowl. Low water depth prevents the waste from dropping below the water line. A toilet that has good water depth, will prevent "outhouse smell."

Save time, and money. Find out which toilets work in today's world. Go to or contact Terry Love, Redmond WA at

Toilet Manufacturers


Toilets, Toasters and Telephones: The How and Why of Everyday Objects, Susan Goldman Rubin. Illustrated with photographs and with illustrations by Elsa Warnick.. This entertaining history of household objects provides the inventors, the ideas or needs behind the innovations and the dates they were invented. Separate chapter address bathrooms (toilets, sinks, bathtubs), cooking (stoves, toasters, refrigerators), cleaning up (laundry machines, irons, vacuum cleaners), telephones, pens and pencils, typewriters, and more. Rubin (Emily in Love, 1997, etc.) explains how the idea for the book came about; when she was remodeling her kitchen and chose her new stove, its red knobs so " dazzled" her that she began thinking about good design. Others have thought about good design, too; in 1938, Rubin points out household objects began to be recognized by the Museum of modern Art in New York City as "applied arts." The large black-and-white picture, especially of the early prototypes, offer clear reference points for the progression of machinery through the ages. Computers, cellular phones, Caller ID-readers will never take them for granted again after reading about their remarkable predecessors. Harcourt Brace 1998 ISBN: 0-15-202321-7 Buy this book!

Hidden Assets : Stories Benhind the Thorne, Dori Huston. Dori Hutson is an artist whose work has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine. In Hidden Assets she combines her artistic ability with a wry sense of humor to "a-commode-ate" her readers. She sketched or photographed privies while travelling in England, France, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S. Then she turned these into illustrations and added a hilarious historical commentary. You hold the result in your hands.

Raised on a farm in eastern Colorado, Dori has a close and long-standing relationship with outhouses. Her career spans over 60 years and includes both commercial and fine art. She has created architectural renderings, advertisements, and greeting cards. Her miniature line drawings of well-known Colorado mountains and homes are a favorite of many. This multi-talented woman also designed a complete alphabet using Battenburg Lace, raised four children, and founded her own card business. Contemplation Publication, 1996. 303.721.0403 or ISBN 0-9648222-4-5 Buy this book!

Journey to the Museum of Toilets. A VHS telling how the evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to-date has taken place. We can drive you visually on, for about half-an-hour. We are offering this for US $ 6 only, which includes postage. Please contact: Mr. Kewal Anand,Lokayata, India 91.11.6511387 or

China Debuts 1,000-Stall Public Restroom

They're flush with pride in a southwestern Chinese city where a recently-opened porcelain palace features an Egyptian facade, soothing music and more than 1,000 toilets spread out over 32,290 square feet.

The city of Chongqing, China recently opened a four-story public bathroom, which officials hope will set a new world record for size.

Officials in Chongqing are preparing to submit an application to Guinness World Records to have the free four-story public bathroom listed as the world's largest, the state-run China Central Television reported.

"We are spreading toilet culture. People can listen to gentle music and watch TV," said Lu Xiaoqing, an official with the Yangrenjie, or "Foreigners Street," tourist area where the bathroom is located. "After they use the bathroom they will be very, very happy."

Footage aired on CCTV showed people milling about the sprawling facility and washing their hands at trough sinks. For open-aired relief, there is a cluster of stalls without a roof.

Some urinals are uniquely shaped, including ones inside open crocodile mouths and several that are topped by the bust of a woman resembling the Virgin Mary.


"Other bathrooms are all the same. This one is very special, I've never seen anything like it," one visitor to the tourist area told CCTV.

There are also plans to build a supermarket nearby, which will sell toilet-related items, CCTV reported.

These lip-shaped urinals can be found at Rande Gerber's Cherry Nightclub inside the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

Signs the Builder is Scrimping on Your New Home

Ask just anyone involved with building a new house. The reason a builder sticks you with a round toilet (that isn't really the best for men like themselves) is either it is going in a space that can't doesn't have a few more inches to spare for an elongated toilet, or because it is cheaper. They save $50 bucks (sometimes more) on the overall cost of materials. A toilet is something that's exposed, not hidden. It makes one wonder where else they cut corners that you can't see - under the paint, behind the walls, under the flooring, etc. So, beware. If you see a round toilet in a new house, chances are there are many other shortcomings in the house that won't become visible for years to come. The builder's minor gain - your loss.

Resources's Urinal Study Every man has a particular stance he takes at a urinal. I feel it should be possible to interpret a good deal about a man based upon this stance. This webpage is my attempt to evaluate that theory.

Calvin There’s nothing quintessentially more American than t-shirts, bumper stickers, and bad taste. Well that, and copyright infringement. The current exploitation of Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes” is enough to kill the creator and make him roll over in his grave. Americans love thier cars, and Americans love to put ugly art on their cars, but nothing says “I’m an idiot with a pointless opinion” like a window sticker of Calvin peeing on something. Bill Watterson quit producing the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” at the height of it’s popularity. He was somewhat of a recluse when it came publicity and mass marketing. As a result, every Calvin and Hobbes t-shirt that you’ve ever seen has been a bootleg.

Glanz Land Welcome to Glanzland™, the virtual playground and home of Larry Glanz - writer, romantic, connoisseur of proper bathroom etiquette and observer of every breach of bathroom etiquette imaginable! At Glanzland™, you will find some drawings to keep you amused, some cutting edge bathroom songs to keep you tapping and humming, and the pathway to some great products that will make you the toast of your own town, or at least the host of your own bathroom. (Great New Products).

Hay Wire Toilet Art Unique, innovative and new art images for the toilet seat cover and toilet tank by comtemporary, american artists.

International Center for Bathroom Etiquette. We at the ICBE work hard every day to bring you the lastest in cutting edge research and technology regarding bathroom etiquette, and strive to make an impact into the everyday lives of people around the world. Our mission is simple and our goals are clear: to educate everyone on proper conduct in the bathroom, and in so doing make the bathroom experience more enjoyable for everyone.

International Paruresis Society This site is provided as a resource for people who find it difficult or impossible to urinate in the presence of others, either in their own home or in public facilities. Also, for people who have difficulty under the stress of time pressure, when being observed, when others are close by and might hear them, or when traveling on moving vehicles. You are not alone In fact, recent studies show that about seven percent (7%) of the public, or 17 million people, may suffer from this social anxiety disorder. Often referred to as Pee-Shy, Shy-Bladder, Bashful Bladder, etc., avoidant paruresis is nothing to be ashamed of, and you have made an important step simply by coming to this website.

Space Station's Toilet Needs a Plumber

The international space station's lone toilet is broken, leaving the crew with almost nowhere to go. So NASA may order an in-orbit plumbing service call when space shuttle Discovery visits next week.

While one of the crew was using the Russian-made toilet last week, the toilet motor fan stopped working, according to NASA. Since then, the liquid waste gathering part of the toilet has been working on-and-off. Fortunately, the solid waste collecting part is functioning normally. Russian officials don't know the cause of the problem and the crew has been unable to fix it.

The crew has used the toilet on the Soyuz return capsule, but it has a limited capacity. They are now are using a back-up bag-like collection system that can be connected to the broken toilet, according to NASA public affairs officials.

"Like any home anywhere the importance of having a working bathroom is obvious," NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said.

The 7-year-old toilet has broken once before but not for as long a time, said Johnson Space Center spokeswoman Nicole Cloutier in Houston.

Discovery is already set for launch Saturday with a planned docking with the space station on Monday. Cloutier said NASA officials are considering having some parts flown to Cape Canaveral and placed in the shuttle during its countdown, an unusual and delicate situation. Because the shuttle's payload weight is limited and balance carefully calculated, it will be tricky to try to figure out where the parts can go, said Kennedy Space Center spokesman Bill Johnson

Discovery's main payload, a 32,000-pound Japanese laboratory addition, is so big that the shuttle's boom sensor system had to be removed to make room for the lab.

Kohler Art Center Men’s Room World's Best Bathrooms :What's Cool: One bathroom is tiled with the imagined silhouettes of Arts Center members who have submitted their names and one-sentence bios. Toilet seats as color palettes? Bathroom stalls as canvases? This scene isn't so far-fetched. At the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (think Kohler bathroom fixtures), six of the facility's bathrooms are actual works of art!

Gender Neutral Urinals in South Korea

(Scroll to 30:38 in this Video)

The Kros Mobile Urinal The Kros Mobile Urinal is a plastic semi permanent urinal that effortlessly puts you in control of man's unsanitary pissing behaviour at public events, parties, festivals, fairs, and entertainment centres. Its neutral granite looks blend in perfectly in any entourage, causing hardly any annoyance.

P-Mate Corporation The unique and original P-Mate which enables woman to pee while standing upright.

Once you have used it, you can't do without it. The P-Mate gives you more freedom, safety and hygiene. It is developed in connection with the experiences of thousands of women who have tested the P-Mate at grand events, both nationally and internationally.

Toilet Net Toiletnet features the largest collection of volunteer submitted toilet and urinal pictures in the world! We want YOUR toilet pictures! We're doing our part to help you find a little relief! What better way is there to "waste" time on the Internet than looking at pictures of toilets? Have you used a toilet or urinal we don't have a picture of? Take a picture and send it to us! Be part of the toilet movement! We're looking to be your number one stop for toilet pictures.

Urinal.nets photo collections.

Urine Studies The Urine Studies program offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of urination and its role in human and animal interactions. The main purpose of the Program is to explore the biological, chemical, psychological, sociological, and metaphysical implications and ramifications of urination.

See-Through Loo Here's a picture of a public toilet in Switzerland that's made out of one-way glass. No one can see you in there, but when you are inside, it looks like you're sitting in a clear glass box.

The Kohler Numi

It's a porcelain throne fit for a queen. (Editor's questions: (1) Does it have the elongated seat for a king or is the Numi just for a Queen? (2) It does have a bidet nozzle. Because of the position of the lid, it would seem to be difficult to cleanse the genital area since a standard bidet has no lid. Is this true?)

Numi, Kohler's "smart toilet" set to debut at the end of the month, brings a new level of luxury to the lavatory. The opulent appliance features hands-free motion sensors that open and close the lid, embedded deodorizers, a heated seat and foot warming system and even built-in speakers with pre-programmed radio stations. And the whole thing is controlled by a detachable remote.

Numi will be enjoyed by "those consumers who want the best -- they want the latest in design and technology [and] want a fashion statement in their home," David Kohler, the company's president and chief operating officer, told USA Today, adding that "the luxury [toilet] market is coming back" in America and remains "very strong in other parts of the world." According to Kohler, it took five years to develop the product.

"The Numi toilet combines unmatched design, technology and engineering to bring you the finest in personal comfort and cleansing," its website reads. "From its striking form and features to its unrivaled water efficiency, the Numi toilet marks a new standard of excellence in the bathroom."

A new standard of cost, as well -- interested parties must fork over $6,300 to call Numi their own. Expensive, yes, but far from the priciest pot in the world: The Independent reports that Hang Fung Gold Technology created a 24-carat gold toilet in Japan worth roughly $37 million.

Gizmodo's Sam Biddle videotaped his experience testing out the lavish loo and subsequently declared, "it changed my life." Watch the event unfold here.


*     *     *

In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself while standing up, after 10 P.M. I sure hope they provide as many public toilets and urinals.


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