The history of indoor toilets (including those that flush) goes back further into history than you might expect. I share the timeline of such facilities, followed by surviving examples of Victorian indoor toilets, schematics of proper plumbing techniques of the day, and floor plans including indoor tubs and toilets. Victorians–at least late Victorians–had life pretty comfortable.
Chamber pots were a necessary accompaniment to the outhouse (a.k.a “the necessary”). Illness, foul weather, the elderly, emergencies–all credible reasons to need a ready source of relief. It’s one of the least glamorous aspects of everyday life in Victorian America. Who knew such fancy chamber pots could be purchased through Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog?
The necessary (a.k.a. outhouse) had many Victorian Era-appropriate euphemisms: Quincy, small room, washroom…and was replaced with modern indoor plumbing both very early (1820’s at the White House) and very late (1950’s) in rural America. What did homeowners do when the necessary filled up? (ewww!) When was toilet paper invented? Why did outhouses have more than one seat?