Life is a circle in many different characteristics – this means that where there is a beginning, there will always be an end and vice verse. This also applies to us humans: We cannot survive without an intake of food and fluids – the gasoline for our beautiful engine called ‘body’. But what is the exhaust gases for the cars is body waste for us — a short ode to modern luxury.
Ever since we needed to find a way to deal with our waste and during evolution, there obviously came a moment when humankind decided that “one’s business” cannot be done at every place for whatever reason. And while most of us can enjoy the luxury of our own flush toilet at home these days, it was a very public matter in the past.
The rise of early city buildings caused the rulers to look for a solution to the problem of the feces. In most cases, people simply threw them into rivers, seas, or in ditches. We know today that the Romans had latrines. There, many people had to sit next to each other and share the place. Additionally, one used the human waste to color fabric, for tanning and to dye leather – something most of us might consider disgusting these days. The ammonia which is inside the urine made these places economically very important for trade.
Back in time
The Roman emperor Vespasian who ruled AD 69–79 decided that it was a good idea to introduce a tax on the usage of public toilets. Therefore, we say “money does not stink” until today. Also, one can imagine that the inhabitants were not very much pleased with the decision of their ruler.
In 1596 Sir John Harington invented the flush toilet, but one quickly forgot about it shortly after. As a consequence, one installed the first flush toilets only three centuries later. And as with many things that make people’s lives easier a lot, it was still a luxury to have their own toilet that also is a flush toilet until the middle of the 20th century. One had to use the one in the backyard or in the staircase, which everybody else also used.
Today, many of us can hardly imagine sharing this spots. We even regard the idea of using public as repelling. The toilet became a place of silence and serenity. One can spend one’s time with digressive thinking, reading newspapers or books, browsing online, phoning, or even playing games.
In the west, we can barely imagine how it must have been in the past when there was no privacy and the improper handling of the issue because of poor sanitation, which allows the water to be polluted caused diarrhea and other sicknesses like cholera. Unfortunately, there are still many people in this world suffering and dying by this until today.