Restrooms: Then and Now

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Restrooms: Then and Now

It’s amazing to think that in today’s world, you can get a flush restroom experience almost anywhere.  It’s quite the transformation from where we stood in the past, even in the recent past. With that in mind, I thought I would share a brief overview of how toilets have evolved worldwide – from the ancient world to today.


History of Toilets


Indus Valley

Multiple flushing lavatories were identified in the ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in Indus Valley. These toilets were connected to complex sewage systems, dating from the mid-3rd millennium BC.


Ancient Egypt

Wealthy houses and temples in Ancient Egypt were found to have cesspool lavatories located indoors. According to research, the cesspool was either filled with sand or emptied for use as fertilizer in nearby fields.



Stone basins in niches on the walls were used as lavatories at a temple in Abusir. The wastes were emptied using pipes of beaten copper.


Tomb of Kha

A portable lavatory made of wooden stool with a hole in the middle and a pottery vessel beneath was found in the tomb of Kha.


Ancient Greece

In 350 BC, a multi-seat domestic or public lavatory was discovered. A sewer duct with a temporary or continuous flow was incorporated underneath.


Middle Ages

A chamber pot usually made of special metal or ceramic was used in Medieval Europe.


Flushing Lavatory

In 1556, a flushing lavatory with a reservoir was specially built for Queen Elizabeth by Sir John Harrington. Almost two centuries later, a patent for a flushing lavatory was granted to Alexander Cumming.


The 1800s – 1900s

Beginning in 1800, there were a lot of significant improvements in the design of lavatories which influenced what we have today. Flushable valves and water tanks on the top of the bowl were invented. In 1910, the elevated water tank design was changed into the modern toilet with a closed tank and bowl. In the 1940s, modern portable toilets were first used in Long Beach, California.




Modifications to restroom facilities are on the rise, as industrialization continues to progress and sanitary regulations become more stringent.  This has in part led to the rise of modular restroom buildings as alternatives to traditional restrooms and portable toilets.  With so many options on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose between them.  To help determine the fit that is best for you, it’s best to consider the following factors:


1)         Work Environment

For instance, if you are in a construction site located in remote areas, a portable toilet would be a feasible option. In fact, according to OSHA Sanitation Standard for Construction (29 CFR 1926.51), employers must provide their personnel with accessible and appropriately clean sanitary facilities. However, it should be kept in mind that these OSHA requirements are just the minimum standards with which employers must comply. If in any case that the employers find portable toilets not enough to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees, then they may choose to provide them with modular restrooms instead.


2)         Cost

If investment cost is not a problem and you need a permanent solution, a traditionally constructed restroom might fit your needs. Otherwise, if you need a more affordable permanent solution while being able to remain flexible, a modular restroom is recommended.


3)         Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, a modular restroom or portable toilets are usual options. Portable toilets are usually used at an isolated location for a very short time. Modular or prefabricated restrooms, on the other hand, provide mobility and can also offer customizable structures which make them advantageous over portable toilets.


In summary, choosing the best restroom for you still depends on your requirements. If a modular restroom is what you need, then please consider contacting Green Flush. They will guide you through all your options to help you arrive at the most informed decision for your restroom situation, whether you choose them or not.