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The History of Portable Toilets

While a lot of people may think portable toilets are a modern commodity, that cannot be further from the truth. In fact, these “porta potties” have existed for millennia. With that said, we here at Afford-A-Potty would like to take you on a trip into the past to look at the history of the portable restroom.

6th Century B.C. – Chamber Pots

The first portable restrooms date back to as early as 6th century Greece. These toilets called chamber pots were commonly made out of tin, lead, pottery, earthenware, delftware, stoneware, ironstone, and ceramic. The name chamber pot was derived from the fact that they are mostly used in the bedroom or the chamber. While these objects are quite old they were still in common use up to mid-20th century. Nowadays the chamber pots are still in use in places like China, Philippines, and North Korea.

14th Century B.C. – Egyptian Porta Potty

When archaeologists discovered the tomb of Kha, the senior official of the Thebes workmen’s community, they discovered something unique. This unique item was possibly the oldest porta potty to date. This potty was made up of wooden stool that had a hole carved into the center of it. This hole led down to a pottery vessel that was used to collect urine and feces.

Modern Portable Toilets (1940’s – 1980’s)

The birthplace of the modern porta potty was in the 1940’s in Longbeach, California. The story goes that a dock manager noticed his men were wasting work time traveling from the docks to the nearest restroom. So the manager decided to put up temporary toilets on the boats his men were working on. This early toilet was made out of wood and had a small holding tank.

By the 1950’s and 60’s, the need for portable restroom facilities skyrocketed. Many different companies began making their own models and selling them to construction workers and event organizers. These early toilets were made out of wood and metal, which made them hard to move around.

When the 1970’s rolled around, companies decided that making them out of fiberglass was the way to go. This was due to the fact that fiberglass was a lighter material than wood and metal.

In the 1980’s, the material the porta potties were made out of changed again. This time the material was changed to plastic because it was lighter and easier to build then fiberglass. Until this day, these toilets are made out of a type of plastic called polyurethane.

 

Nowadays there are a ton of different types of portable toilets and manufacturers. Contact Afford-A-Potty for all of your porta potty needs.

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