Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

Other Useful (?) Toilet Links

Toilet Links

Toilet Museums, On-line Exhibits, and How-To Pages

  • Loo Tours offers "Lavitorial entertainments in London", 1.5-2 hour toilet-themed walking tours.
  • Perhaps your question is "I want to know how to use a squat toilet, and I would prefer the explaination to be in the form of cartoon figures." See this page, which I would guess is from a hostel in India.
  • What if you want to ask "Where is the toilet?" in some other language? Ask the Travlang.com site. I have received complaints that they don't list enough languages (!!) or that the precise semantics for the Farsi is a bit off (!!!), but complain to them and not to me.
  • Jochen Zeh was working on an art project that would "draw a line made of sparkling white toilets into a green, hilly field of upcoming wheat" in Tuscany. All he needed was: "Somebody who will lend me 200 toilets for one or two weeks. A photographer specialized in landscape and architectural photos. A magazine who will publish the photos." Unsurprisingly, this project seems to have failed. It was once discussed here and here but the entire jochenzeh.com domain has disappeared along with this nutty idea.

Toilet Science

  • "Toilet hygiene in the classical era" is an overview of historical post-defecation cleaning concentrating on the Greco-Roman world. It was in the British Medical Journal in December, 2012: BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8287
  • Steve Mirsky of Scientific American discussed the BMJ article.
  • Four physicists at Brigham Young University studied the physics properties of urine splash-back in a urinal-like environment. Fluid dynamics revealed how to minimize urine splash-back. Summary: closer is better, as fluid streams follow the Plateau-Rayleigh instability and break up into a stream of drops, each with individual splash-back. Angle also helps.
  • Law of Urination: all mammals empty their bladders over the same duration, approximately 21 seconds, despite bladder volumes ranging from 100 milliliters to 100 liters.
  • "Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field", a paper in Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:80, by scientists from the Czech University of Life Sciences and the University of Dulsburg-Essen. Their abstract contains:
    Several mammalian species spontaneously align their body axis with respect to the Earth's magnetic field (MF) lines in diverse behavioral contexts. [...] We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period. [...] Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable MF. The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the MF.
  • Russian patent #2,399,858 describes a system for firing human waste projectiles from the main gun of a tank.

Toilet News and Stories

  • The Powerful History of Potty Training in The Atlantic discusses sociopolitical aspects of toilet training. Authoritarian collectivism of East Germany, uninhibited lassez-faire in leftist West German Kommunes, the belief by 1940s American anthropologists that Japanese early toilet training directly led to "the overwhelming brutality and sadism of the Japanese at war", Freudian inspired theories that authoritarian German toilet training led to robotic obedience to authority and anti-Semitism in the 1930s and 1940s, and more.
  • BBC reported that Hong Kong police had raided triad gang-run brothels operating out of converted public toilets in an unused shopping mall. "Many of the women held are thought to be from mainland China. [....] In a statement, Hong Kong police said they arrested 51 women and 35 men aged between 17 and 72. Drugs, knives and other illegal objects were seized during the raid. Local media reports said that the brothels had been running for several months and that male and female toilets had been converted into 11 sq m (120 sq ft) cubicles used for sexual activity."
  • What Makes a Good Toilet in The Atlantic discusses pit toilets and their effect on local health and culture, especially in Africa and other places where the U.S. Peace Corps works.
  • Time magazine had a story in March 2009 about a toilet-themed restaurant in Taiwan. "Modern Toilet" it's called, and it's now a chain with seven outlets in Taiwan, one each in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and plans for others elsewhere in China and in Macau and Kuala Lumpur.
  • A new toilet-themed restaurant opened in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China in Seeptember, 2013, joining Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou which all had their own by then. Many pictures are available.
  • In the build-up to the Olympic games in Beijing, according to the BBC in March, 2008: "China is rushing to install sit-down loos for its 500,000 foreign Olympics visitors, after complaints that venues had only Asian-style squat toilets. A lack of Western-style facilities was a common complaint after some 30 test events at Games venues, officials said. 'A lot of parties have raised the question of toilets... We have told the venues to improve on this,' said Yao Hui, deputy head of venue management." Yikes, a lack of raised porcelain commodes! Much worse than China's awful human rights record, no?
  • The Internet holds umpteen copies of a story about a US Navy air mission against Vietnam. They were running short of ordnance but at the same time commemorating the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped (well, if you're dropping it by the millions of pounds, you're going to run out before long). A toilet had been damaged on board the USS Midway, and was going to be thrown overboard. The ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins, and nose fuse for it, and it was mounted on an A-1 Skyraider of VA-25. It was then dropped in the Delta area of South Vietnam. Ask Google to search for the standard title of the account:
    "what the hell was on 572's right wing"

Buying and Repairing Toilet Hardware and Related Items

  • Answering the question, "But what if my existing toilet provides inadequate radiological contrast when the patient eliminates waste in a normal position?" and introducing the obscure term defecography: Build your own radiological commode! There used to be one of those for sale at http://www.neocast.net/2147415262.html, but that domain has disappeared.
  • On the other hand, if your question is more like "But what if I am so grotesquely obese that I need a specially designed toilet to support my quivering bulk?", then check out the Big John Toilet Seat and Support Company. Their toilets are tested to a weight capacity of a a 1,200-pound load! And by "1,200-pound load" they mean over a half-ton of flesh upon its extra-wide seat, and not, ah, you know what I mean. They seem to have taken the market niche formerly held by the Great John Toilet Company, which marketed a unit tested to a full ton, 2,000 pounds!
  • PlumberStock is an on-line plumbing supply company selling to the public at wholesale prices.
  • ToiletExpert.net — Everything you could imagine about fine Dutch toilets and their accessories.
  • Rainwater Tanks Australia — Grumpyb Water Tanks, one of the leading online water tank suppliers in Australia offers high quality water tank accessories, rain water tanks, water pumps, poly tanks, raised garden beds, slimline water tanks in different shape and sizes. As they are water tank volume sellers, offer the best prices and free delivery services in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and NSW.
  • Exeloo manufactures automated self-cleaning public toilets with automatic toilet paper dispensers.
  • Envirolet manufactures a composting toilet that looks disturbingly like a wood stove, and they encourage owners to send in photos of theirs.
  • John M. Tootabeanie operates letterfromjohn.com, and prints restroom graffiti on t-shirts. Buy shirts! Contribute designs! Buy shirts!
  • Toiletology 101 is a web site dedicated to toilet repair.
  • This Old Toilet hosts the toilet tank lid replacement service, selling used and salvaged toilet tank lids from 1929 through today in a variety of colors. Really.
  • TSU-Tech specializes in Japanese advanced technology toilet seats, computer-controlled misting units etc.
  • Aquatron sells a composting toilet system: "two medium-sized Aquatron models were at the end of 1999 installed in a cabin on a mountain top in the Swedish mountains. The cabin belongs to the Swedish Tourist Association, the national organization for Tourism in Sweden. It was reported that several skiing tourists during the Easter Holidays were astonished when finding modern WC facilities at this altitude. Especially these cabins have been renown for primitive latrines."
  • The Bumper Dumper is a low-tech portable toilet mounted on a trailer hitch.
  • The Stadium Pal is an external catheter and leg-mounted collection bag for use while watching sporting events.
  • Plumbing Directory, "your ultimate plumbing directory of local plumbing contractors" — http://www.aplumbers.com
  • Plumber Los Angeles provides residential, commercial and 24/7 emergency plumbing services in the Greater Los Angeles area — http://www.plumbers-los-angeles.com
  • Phoenix Plumber provides emergency commercial & residential plumbing services in Phoenix, Arizona — http://www.plumber-phoenix.com

Toilet Maps and Locators, and iTunes and iPhone apps

Unless you make unusually detailed preparations for trips, or you travel only where you can maintain constant wireless Internet connectivity, some of these seem to be of limited use. But....

  • The Bathroom Diaries has the most detailed traveler-submitted directory of public-accessible toilets I've found. It lists toilets in over 120 countries, including over 9000 in the U.S.
  • The Australian National Public Toilet Map describes itself as "A project of the National Continence Management Strategy". That's an unusual and admirable government strategy!
  • Where to 'Go' in the Great Outdoors is a pamphlet for trekkers in Scotland. This includes the extremely rare British Isles Squatter! A free copy of the pamphlet is available (if you're in the U.K., anyway).

Other collections of pictures, and stories, and other odds and ends