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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Public toilet

Wealthy Ancient Greeks sometimes sent their slaves to sit on the public toilets (made from slabs of marble) to warm it up "in anticipation of their arrival".

The Romans used communal lavatories, with 30 or so citizens of both genders sitting round in a half-circle chatting with no partition between them.

Public toilet remnants from Ancient Roman times in Ostia Antica

In Rome instead of toilet paper, all public toilets had a sponge attached to the end of a stick that was soaked in a bucket of brine. The rich used wool and rosewater.

Constantinople had 1400 public toilets around the city when it was capital of the Ottoman Empire, at a time when the rest of Europe had none.

Britain’s first flushing gentlemen's public lavatory, opened at 95 Fleet Street in London on February 2, 1852.

The washbasins of a 19th-century facility, still in use. By Smuconlaw. - Wikipedia

Britain's first flushing public toilet for women opened near the Strand in London on February 11, 1852. Only 82 females used it in the first twelve months.

The first British public toilets charged one penny for their use. From this the phrase "spend a penny" came into circulation.

In 1883, A. Ashwell of Herne Hill, London, patented the Vacant/Engaged sign for public lavatories.

The magician and escapologist John Nevil Maskelyne (1839–1917) invented the coin-operated lock for public lavatories in 1892.

With well over 5,000 public toilets, Beijing claims to have more than any other capital city.

Public toilet block in the Olympic Forest Park is located north of the city center of Beijing

After the World Toilet Organisation ranked China’s public toilets the worst in the world in 2012, Beijing introduced a new rule that no more than two flies were permitted in any toilet.

There is a public toilet in Kolkata with a design based on Sydney Opera House.

Public toilets are known by many names in different varieties of English. One of the more formal circumlocutions is "public convenience". In Britain, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand, the terms in use are "public toilet" or "public lavatory. In American English, "restroom" usually denotes a toilet facility designed for use by the public. However, "bathroom" is also commonly used.  In Canadian English, public facilities are always called "washrooms".

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