Welcome to the Toilets of the World
Are you wondering how to use a bidet, or even what a bidet is? Curious about what the toilets are like in other countries? Toilets from ancient history? Do you wonder who invented the flush toilet? (It wasn't Thomas Crapper!) You've come to the right place!
Belgium Bulgaria China France Greek Islands Japan Turkey Trinidad Russia and many others Toilets from throughout history:
The Stone Age Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Bible era King Arthur's England Invention of the flush toilet To the toilets of the future
Squat Toilets and Raised Commodes
This is the biggest toilet question in the minds of most international travelers. For some potential travelers, especially Americans, it may be the biggest question of all and a large part of what keeps them from traveling out of their fear of the different and the unfamiliar:
When I visit that country, what will the toilets be like?
Will they be squat toilets, pans in the floor?
Or will they be raised commodes, like porcelain chairs?
For absolutely everything I have on the topic of toilets, arranged on a country by country basis, see my collection of international toilets. But allow me to attempt to summarize the distributions of squatters and commodes, of pans and thrones:
Trotsky's home in Mexico City is an interesting time capsule of an upper-class Mexican home from the 1930s. You can tour it and see several plumbing details including Trotsky's toilet with its very high wall-mounted tank, his tub, his water heater, his kitchen sink, and more.
Keep This Book In Your Bathroom
Rose George's The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters is a fascinating description of sanitation conditions around the world. To quote from the introduction:
[....] 2.6 billion people don't have sanitation.
I don't mean that they have no toilet in their house
and must use a public one with queues and fees.
Or that they have an outhouse, or a rickety shack that
empties into a filthy drain or pigsty.
All that counts as sanitation, though not a safe variety.
The people who have those are the fortunate ones.
Four in ten people have no access to any latrine,
toilet, bucket, or box.
Instead they defecate by train tracks and in forests.
They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the
air in narrow slum alleyways.
If they are women, they get up at 4 A.M. to be able to
do their business under cover of darkness for reasons
of modesty, risking rape and snakebites.
Four in ten people live in situations where they are
surrounded by human excrement because it is in the bushes
outside the village by in their city yards, left
by children outside the backdoor.
It is tramped back in on their feet, carried on fingers
onto clothes, food, and drinking water.|
[....] Poor sanitation, bad hygiene, and unsafe water — usually unsafe because it has fecal particles in it — cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. [....] Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade [1998-2008] exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.
Test your lavatorial knowledge with our new toilet quizzes!Quiz #1: International Toilets Quiz #2: Flying Toilets
Who is the Toilet Guru?
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