1800s house interiors. Where are the bathrooms?

ccc000

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An 1850s bathroom that has survived more than 150 years in the Dunleith Historical Inn in Natchez, Miss. The bathtub, shower and toilet are all part of the same piece of wooden furniture.

Pipes pumped water from the first-floor laundry to the attic, where the water stayed stored in large cisterns. Opening the faucets or yanking the toilet handle (on left) would allow the water to flow down into the bathroom fixtures. Waste would have been carried out of the pipes into a primitive septic system.

Perhaps the biggest challenge was getting the 400-pound zinc-lined storage cistern for the shower and bathwater out of the attic. Construction crews had to build a special ramp and use a forklift to slide the tank out.
Lavatory Luxury: Images of an 1850s Bathroom

AB848B64-325B-48DA-A0EF-210585AEE7CE.jpeg


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FE22966C-9DB1-40D2-B4FC-CA0BE8BA2387.jpeg

What strikes me is how furniture-like these bathroom fixtures are. They might go unnoticed in old photographs if the viewer isn't sure what to look for.

Also, the correlation of being above laundry areas (and below larger attic spaces) can help with analyzing floor plans.
 

nothingnew

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Here is how they solved heating for literally the price of piping and valves indefinitely. How did I miss this until now is beyond me (kukdos to UAP for sharing this stuff). The whole video is a smoking gun. Now I need to get my hands on the book.




Maybe it deserves a proper thread on its own. This is not just mind blowing but fascinating as well. Such a genius and "simple" design that is still working to this day. :eek:
 

jd755

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Superb stuff. Here's a pdf for those who prefer to read http://www.degreedayswi.com/The_Basics_of_Steam_Heating-_Dan_Holohan.pdf

How stupid am I?
The entire shipyard where I worked in the late seventies to early nineties was heated by a pair of boilers and radiant panels on a giant version of this system. I worked on the system for years and completely forgot about it.
 

Magnetic

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I lived in NYC at one time in an old apartment building and when the steam came on it heated the apartment too well so we opened the windows and put a tray of water on top of the steam radiator since it really dried out the air. Yes they were even painted silver to reduce their efficiency by 20%!
 

dianag

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Yes or anywhere where there was a fireplace.
My grandparents lived on a small farm in Nebraska in a small community called Preston. When I was 6 my family stayed with them for 3 months while my father was on TDY in the French Morroco for the Air Force. They did not have indoor plumbing or running water. This was about 1954. We hauled water by the buckets full from a neighbors well for drinking water and other water was from an underground cistern pump. We used an outhouse for the potty and they had a wash house where they did laundry with a hand cranked washing machine. We took baths in a galvanized tub in the wash house with water heated by wood. My grandmother cooked on a wood stove. They had chamber pots for night time use for a bathroom. These were carried to the outhouse the next morning and washed out. They didn't get running water into the house until about 1962. They had a garden and raised chickens for their food and rarely went to a grocery store. Grandpa would go buy watermelons for a treat or make homemade ice cream.

I had a great time staying with them. He had fun telling us we could catch a rabbit by salting his tail and we ran around with salt shakers trying to catch these great big jack rabbits they were plentiful on the dirt roads that surrounded his few acres.
 

AmorDeCognos

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I once lived in an apartment building which I now realize is probably a mud flooder. And there was something a little strange about the bathroom setup. I noted it at the time, but this was many years ago, so of course I thought 'how odd' and that was that.

Our bathroom was a fully interior room, having no window to the outside. But it did have a window! It opened onto a shaft about the size of an elevator shaft. The shaft ran the full height of the building and had a similar window to each suite in our wing. Windows had the typical bathroom-style glass for privacy. There was a similar shaft for suites in the opposite wing.

The shaft didn't seem very useful. At the top, a glass roof let a little light in, but not much. By our floor the light was pretty gloomy. It didn't offer much ventilation either. You could slide the window open, but there was no airflow and the shaft was dusty inside.

The pictures below are of a similar building I found on Google Maps. Red arrows indicate the tops of the shafts. I included a picture of the front of the building so you can see the style.

old_apt_roof.jpg old_apt_front.jpg

I can't remember exactly what the walls looked like inside the shaft, but they seemed to be interior walls. Whether the glass roof was original or not, the shaft was not built to be directly exposed to the elements.

Did these shafts once contain an older civilization's mysterious bathroom technology? I have no idea. I do remember the plumbing in that bathroom looked retrofitted, exposed and ugly.

(Also consistent with the mud flooder theme: the fireplace in that suite didn't work. I don't remember it as well as the bathroom. I might be able to find it in an old picture. I recall a vertical metal plate, somewhat ornate, and wondering how it could've contained a wood fire. The fireplace seemed too shallow. Maybe there was space behind the metal plate, but I never messed with it.)
 
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Verity

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Thank you! I knew they did, but it's always great to see evidence and advertisements.
I quickly went over to Jenkin's 'Humanure' site...
and found a much less elegant earth toilet. So ugly and modern but exactly the same principle.
Humanure Handbook Home Page (Scroll down to the Lovable Loo, a 10min vid., or just see even more basic 1min vid. version below..)
An even more basic modern plastic version of the earth closet here;

I liked his one minute rant on the word 'waste', which struck me as very wise;
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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And what did they use before 1859?
In the summer of 1859 (I think) he decided his cess-pool was intolerable, and a nuisance to his neighbour; so he filled it in, and instructed all his family to use buckets.
 

Verity

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Classic, even the bible quotes:
"And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee." (Deut. 23:13)

This is telling (- there couldn't be a reform with it);
(1872)
"There can never be a National Sanitation Reform without active intervention by central government.
That active intervention can never take place under the Water Sewerage System, without a large increase of local taxation.
But let the Dry-Earth System be enforced... and with a vast improvement in health and comfort, local taxation may be entirely relieved."

And this;
The medical journal The Lancet of 1 August 1868 reported that 148 of his dry-earth closets were used at the Volunteer encampment at Wimbledon---forty or fifty of them used daily by not less than 2000 men---without the slightest annoyance to sight or smell.

The Field of 21 November 1868 said "In towns or villages not exceeding 2000 or 3000, we believe the earth-closet will be found not only more effective, but far more economical, than water drainage."

This combination of economy and health was powerful. In 1865 the Dorset County School at Dorchester, with 83 boys, changed from water-closets to earth-closets, and cut the annual maintenance costs from GBP3 to 10/- (GBP0.5)! At the same time smells and diarrhea were eliminated.


The image of the earth closet looks very like a couple of writing desks I have round the house. It's a brilliant invention.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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There would have to be maintenance services visible. My 8 pound cat shits more than she weighs. Imagine a family of 5 on some 5th floor. That’s a lot of dirt to move up and down.
In 1865 the Dorset County School at Dorchester, with 83 boys, changed from water-closets to earth-closets.
Wondering if they had a central water supply source.

And once again, what did they do prior to 1860s? These 1820-1840 spikes below appear to be improper book dating by Google Ngram. Once you look at the actual books, the are dated with 1860 and above.

earth_closet.jpg

I find their regulation levels to be rather remarkable. One would not think that bathrooms were regulated to this extent in the 19th century.
 

Verity

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And once again, what did they do prior to 1860s?
KD, I love yo'arse but I can't force you to see. I've tried!
Sanitation, soils and sewers.
Everything else is just repetition- and I mean that from a personal perspective and on a wide and zoomed out philosophical perspective too.
"There is nothing new under the sun."

They would have used a version of the night-soil fertiliser method. A bucket, a chamber pot and/or an outhouse with contents collected by the night-soil fella in the cities, or used as fertiliser in the countrysides.
Below is another article on what they did in massive apartment blocks in NYC, and as we all suspect, prior to the 1860's things had been turned upside down, tipped out and reconstructed backwards and placed on its head.

"The outhouse/resident ratio varied, but most tenements had just three to four outhouses, and as reported in Jacob Riis’s “How the Other Half Lives,” in the nineteenth century, it was not uncommon to find over 100 people living in a single tenement building. This meant that people often shared a single outhouse with anywhere from 25 to 30 of their neighbors.."
Life in New York City before indoor toilets | 6sqft

Things clearly got out of control with the sudden influx in all great cities and disease went nuts. Ideas were floated for a new paradigm on sanitation and eventually the winners were the $omewhat in$ane engineer$. The natural order of things was hamstrung to be recreated in this modern, twisted state.

Red Ice Radio has a saying that 'The Future is the Past.'
The past system of sanitation wasn't broken and it didn't need fixing. We're just stuck in a cycle right now.
The natural, normal state of things, even in biblical terms, was to understand there should be 'No Waste', and everything has a use and a reason and a season.
 

jd755

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Further to Verity's post and indeed my own.

The Privy Vault 1855 recontructing the c. 1855-1860 john kent russell pine wood "privy vault" tapered edge floor | Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

The World & Milwaukee Early Sanitation History - Outhouses, Privies, Scavengers & Sewers
Outhouses & Privy Vaults: Early Milwaukee Sanitation History

From a startpage search for "outhouses new york city" a search string chosen because I had a memory of finding such an image on a search for something or other for the Buffalo thread produced a lot of pictures, here's one.

From here Life in New York City before indoor toilets | 6sqft
Five outhouses all in a row given the date of 1902-04 (yes I know no way to verify such a thing but there it is).
row-of-outhouses-_.png

Edit to add A superb account of toilets, earth closets and indoor plumbing.

And for verity a picture of moules innards (there's two words I never thought I'd put together!) From here Moule's earth closet, composting toilet
moulesearthcloset.jpg
 
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