Who Invented the Outhouse?

Who Invented the Outhouse?

Bowel movement being a basic universal need, it’s easy to imagine how the man who invented the outhouse came up with the idea. But who was the first latrine maker?

Prehistoric Times

Defecation in ancient times is thought to have been done indiscriminately. Prehistoric men released human waste anywhere in the forest. But soon, as the idea of privacy was beginning to take shape in their minds, they began to do it in isolation in caves. This was the crudest form of an outhouse by the first latrine maker or makers. Some studies estimate this to have happened about the same time when man learned to dress up.

But the problem of available space in the latrine caves soon started troubling them. Thus, probably for convenience sake, they started digging holes for the purpose and partly refilling it with earth to make it reusable by others. Then, as refilling reached the level of the ground, they dug another site.

As they advanced in living standards, people started living in constructed shelters of wood and thick canvas, and much later, wood and stone. The idea of communities also began to propagate. About that time, caves were too isolated and dangerous to continue serving the defecation needs of the people. The person or persons who invented the outhouse came up with the idea at this time.

It Really Started in China

The earliest record of a water closet system was in China. A stone toilet bowl with a water system was found to have been used in 206 B.C. Thus, the first latrine maker and the person who invented the outhouse could well have been a Chinese who lived around this time.

Outhouses in Europe

Some experts estimate that the first outhouse in Europe was used some 500 years ago. In fact, they also assert that the man who invented the outhouse was a European. Fifteenth and sixteenth century Europeans started enjoying the convenience of outhouses then instead of doing the human urge in remote places where digging and refilling were done countless times through the year. Latrines were yet unhygienic to keep inside houses as long as the U-trap and water closet were not yet invented.

What Were Outhouses?

When people back then had the urge to relieve themselves of human waste, they went to a roofed cubicle about 50 to 100 yards away from their houses. It was about 3 by 5 feet in area and stood some 7 feet tall. It had no windows and light. On the center of the floor was a hole and inside it was a tin bowl for catching waste. Each morning, the tin bowl was replaced. The person or people who invented the outhouse had to assign someone for the daily and messy chore.

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