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Chamber Pot | A.K.A | Toilet | Commode

Updated on February 27, 2013

Long before indoor plumbing and toilet fixtures were invented a long trip outdoors to the outside toilet or a chamber pot was the only option for relief.

During nights, especially in the cold wet and snowy conditions, lighting a kerosene lantern and trailing out to the outhouse for a cold seat was an adventure.

My husband’s grandmother homesteaded in Alaska, and was a pretty good artist using oil paintings.

One of her classic paintings showed her bathroom humor.

At first glance you would see a log cabin in the glistening Alaska wilderness deep snow. Looking more closely you would see the path to the outhouse shoveled out only part of the way, with the scoop shovel stuck in a snow bank and then deep foot prints running in to the outhouse.

Today we stumble out of bed and into our warm cozy bathrooms returning to bed only to hear of the howling winds outside.

Granite, ceramic and porcelain pots with lids were kept tucked neatly under the bed to save the trip out in the middle of the night.

These pots were called chamber Pots or Chamberpot and are best reflected as used in the Victorian period. Chamber Pots actually date back to ancient periods B.C.

The name is believed to have come from the French.

As with all classes of society, Chamber Pots followed the money, from a plain drab pot to fancy hand painted and inlay, the chamber pot took on the family image of wealth.

The Chamber Pots in these pictures were from a well to do family living in the Victorian period.

The old term we often herd growing up in the mid 1900s, “He is so poor that he can’t even afford a pot to pee in”, probably reflected the economical social class around the old Chamber Pot.

A saying that was passed down from those earlier generations.

Today economical social class is measured by how many bathrooms, how fancy the inlay tile work is and how much was spent on the plumbing fixtures.

Economical social class probably dictated on who actually emptied the Chamber Pots in the morning as well.

From having to empty and clean your own or having a servant empty and clean it for you, someone had to empty and clean quickly to prevent the offensive odors from infiltrating the home.

Today Chamber Pots are actually collector items and can be found in antique stores. Some are very detectable that it was actually a Chamber Pot. Others may have used a regular covered crock or a cooking pot, solely dedicated to this purpose.

Kind of makes one wonder about purchasing an old pot with a lid to use to cook in.

One thing for sure Chamber Pots were more male friendly!

Pictures courtesy of Cottage Craft Works .com old style back to basics online general store.


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