April Fool’s Day: Toilets Through Time

Dry Sink

It’s April Fool’s Day, so please excuse me for the indelicate topic. But we historical writers can find a “treasure chest” of information in the most unusual places.

Quick…try to name as many different ways of saying toilet as you can.

The privy. The necessary. Outhouse. The john. The crapper. The honey shack. The loo. The W.C. (water closet). Washroom. Restroom. Powder Room. The throne. The big white bowl. The Ladies’ Room. The Men’s Room. The Family Room. Bathroom. Lavatory. That still leaves out the coarser words…

Yet, we don’t use these same words when we talk about toilet-training our children. We never “crapper-train” them. Nor are we “preparing them for the throne.” It’s always toilet-train.

So where do the other words come from?

Why, back through history of course.

I’m wondering what jester got beheaded at court when he made the first analogy between the King’s throne and that other throne.

Outhouses came in various shapes and sizes…. Privy was a word they used a lot in the West. It sounds like a take on the word “private,” and makes sense. The necessary was another one. Honey shack is for a character with a sense of humor.

The Loo?

Who invented the toilet as we know it?  You’re going to think I’m making this up. His name was John Crapper. So that’s where that word came from. Also explains “The John.”

Did you learn anything new from this blog?  Me neither. But I had fun.

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