Toilets in the Basement

You just might recall seeing in a relative’s older home, in the basement, a toilet, all be itself, no walls around it, no sink, just the toilet. Such basement toilets have gotten the name ‘Pittsburgh Potties.’ Some were placed in homes of families living in western Pennsylvania. It was thought that Pittsburgh known as the ‘Steel City’ that workers who worked the steel mills, might want to enter the home into the basement, use the toilet, and change clothes before going upstairs. It served as a type of mudroom, to clean up.

Other reasons for a basement toilet, usually found in pre-World War II houses, were actually they were there to prevent sewage backups in the nice part of the home. If there was a sewage backup on your street, it would come into your home through the fixture that’s lowest to the ground, a toilet. So a sewer backup would go there instead of the main house. Plus most basement floors were plain concrete floors.

Many old basements that once housed a ‘Pittsburgh potty’ have been remodeled and refinished, with the seemingly useless toilet removed or replaced with a more practical fixture. However, some Pittsburgh potties live on – destined to confound homeowners for years to come.

Photo: A ‘Pittsburgh potty’ photographed in 1922.

Related Blogs:

Personal Hygiene of the 1800s of your Ancestors

Public Bathrooms

The Family Outhouse

< Return To Blog Interesting.
Sara N Martin 23/01/22

Indeed !!
alice 23/01/22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.