How did people wipe on chamber pots?

Not nowadays, but for centuries poop was a major ingredient in the tanning process. It’s described here.

Well no shit. :smiley:

There’s my something learned for today.

In the women’s room at the university in Phnom Penh, you’ll find a set of squat toilets. You’ll also find a large plastic barrel of water with a smaller bottle to use as a scoop just outside the stalls.

Back to the OP: Yes, chamber pots were for urination only as evidenced by the phrase: (We were so poor) We didn’t have a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of.

I’m sure that in an emergency you could take a dump in the chamber pot, just like you could take a dump in the ocean if needed. It probably wasn’t at all common…

If anyone cares, my little autobiography here has a section in which she details just how to make and take care of sanitary napkins. I’ll write it up if it’s wanted.

Not only that but they ironed them? :eek:

Well, we pretty much know for the 19th century, but any time before that is kind of a gray area. There are records in household inventories of lengths of cloth that might have been used as menstrual cloths, but there’s also evidence that rolls of cloth might have been used like tampons, and they also might have just bled out into their undershirts. Until time-travel, or until someone uncovers some medieval woman’s diary that talks in detail about menstruation, nobody’s going to know for sure.

Heh. Fabric that’s been handwashed and dried on the line comes out a might more crinkly than things that have been dried in a dryer. Cotton in particular is inclined to be crinkly and stiff and not something I’d want in my nethers. Ironing softens it up a lot.

Not surprising, my mom used to iron everything, from underwear to sheets.

Re: menstrual rags. I once spent the night, in a Saigon hotel room, w/ one of the commercial ladies of Tu Do Street. When I awoke in the morning she was gone, along w/ one of my socks. While searching the room, I discovered some blood stains on the sheets and realized where my missing sock had gone.

Cecil has an earlier source, which he cites in response to the question What can I do to get someone to fall out of love? :

(Whoops - double post removed)

Ironing, at a high enough temperature, can sterilize cloth. Given that menstrual blood that’s sitting around on cloth could potentially harbor all sorts of germy things this might have been a good idea. Also, ironing can help shape/fold cloth to particular shape which might have been of help in keeping the darn things anchored.

No starch. :smiley:

Yeah. I hate ironing, but you better believe I would have been ironing my period thingies. I imagine they weren’t very effective all bunched up.

According to the book, pads at the time were cotton birdseye diapers (which you can still buy) folded in a particular way and attached to the infamous elastic belt. While you were on your period, you would keep the soiled napkins in a closed metal bucket containing Lysol and water (in your room, privately), and when you were done you’d wash the whole batch with the method for whites, which included two boiling rinses. Then you’d hang them up with everything else on the line–but hidden well to the back–iron them, and wrap them up until next month. So I’m thinking those cloths were pretty dang sanitized by the end of that treatment.

I suppose methods had been the same for centuries, barring the Lysol and the belt being made of elastic. It certainly sounds practical. And thank heavens for modern products. And no wonder tight clothes didn’t come into fashion until adhesive pads and tampons came along too.


Maybe it makes you Henry Darger. That reminds me uncannily of his Vivian Girls paintings.

Not even that far back. My mother who was a teen during the 1930s, would use soft cloths. They were folded, then safety pinned inside the panties. Even when sanitary napkins first came out, it was still common for rural women to use the cloths.

Spit, has your Great-Great-Great+ Grandmother’s journal been published? it sounds like she was willing to write about things that most women were reluctant to talk about, except among women to whom they were particularly close. A journal which details things people don’t normally talk about, is a true gold mine for Historians. If it was only 30 years or so from Pride and Prejudice, I’ll hazard a guess and say she traveled the Oregon/California Trail in 1852? The Trail was the single largest mass migration in human history, and 1852 was by far its biggest year. Most trail journals were written by young women around 15 or so, who did not yet have the responsibilities their mothers did, and were more inclined to writing things down than their brothers were. I’ve read several of these journals, and their authors give amazing insight into the minds of people who were willing to endure great hardship and risk death to seek a better life. We get to see not only their courage, but often times, a standard of human rights and equality that far exceeded the Eastern society from which they’d come. Life was too rigorous to justify marginalizing capable people, just because of gender or skin color. That’s not to say they didn’t have racism or sexism, but those things were weakened by the need for people to get the job done. Young women on the trail would sometimes start wearing bloomers, instead of skirts: While this might have gotten them arrested for indecency in Eastern cities, on the Trail, people quickly recognized that bloomers were far more practical than skirts for horse-riding or walking 1,500 miles over rough terrain. These women, like your Great+Grandmother, left us a treasure of information, and any journal which can reach the public can give voice to these brave adventurers.

zombie or no

dogs were one of the first domesticated animals.