No comments | Thursday, February 14, 2013
  • In the middle Ages people used chamber pots which they emptied out of the window. In castles there were would be a garderobe- a small cupboard with a hole that allowed waste out into the moat.
  • Throwing waste out of the windows into the street, or rivers that provided drinking water, spread disease. The worst epidemic was the Black Death during the 14th century, which killed about a quarter of the people in Europe.
  • During the 16th and 17th centuries it was good manners for a gentleman to talk closest to the street when guarding a lady. This meant that he was more likely to be in the path of sewage as it was thrown into the street.
  • In London a gigantic cesspit was built under 200,000 houses and it often overflowed into them. Cesspits in London were abolished in 1847 and every home had to have a lavatory. However, sewage was still diverted into the River Thames, which resulted in the "Great Stink in the summer of 1858- the worst smell in the city's history.
  • Europe's major cities and the biggest cities in the USA started building sewers in the 19th Century. Many of these early systems are still in use today. "Sewer tours" are popular in Paris, France and in Brighton, UK. The systems are such amazing works of engineering that people travel to these cities just to visit them.
Toilet paper-
  • The first commercial toilet paper was produced by Joseph Gayetty, an American Businessman in 1857, but Chinese emperors used toilet paper in the 14th century.
  • Every person in the UK spends an average of $25.93 on toilet paper every year, compared with the average American's $19.46. The world average is $3.41 per person.
  • Before the invention of toilet paper, people improvised with many different things. The rich used wool or lace but the poor used anything they could find, including wood shavings, stone, leaves, seashells, snow or water, as well as their hands. Later people began to use telephone directories and newspapers as toilet paper.

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