Paying homage to Mr Thomas J Crapper


Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
Monica, the Titanic was well equipped with flush toilets not disimilar to the arrangements we would expect to find on a modern passenger ship or in a hotel on land. We know there were chamber pots because they've been found in the debris field of the wreck. But what Dave decribes above as 'another use' was I suspect their principle or perhaps their only use - for the benefit of passengers confined to their cabins by sea sickness. Ask yourself this - when staying in a hotel would you choose to use a chamber pot rather than the flush toilet just down the corridor? No? Neither, I suspect, would they.

Bob
 
Jun 11, 2000
2,524
26
313
Bob,
use a flush toilet instead of a chamber pot? well yes, we would, every time. I wouldn't be too sure about in 1912, though. My grandmother was a housemaid in a rather grand London mansion at about that time, and I remember her telling me she had to empty the chamber pots, guests included. And they had two or three bathrooms - I know because, puzzled, I asked her. The upper classes seemed to think it was acceptable, though on board ship, it might have been rather different. Public. It was Steve above who seemed so certain they did do this on ships. What I wonder is how many of them were stealing down the corridors in the small hours, visiting a lover (and tripping over all those chamber pots...)
Monica
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
Monica, personally after a hard night's drinking I'd be tempted to use the porthole, but this would be a problem if (a) it didn't open and (b) the iceberg was VERY close! As regards the people stealing down the corridors with immoral intent, we have senior members on this forum who were not only around at the time but are known to have experience in this area. Their response is eagerly awaited.

Bob
 
Aug 29, 2000
4,562
28
323
I have never heard the part about chamberpots being left outside cabin doors. Where is the account of this? Shoes were left outside doors in First Class to be shined. Due to the roll of a ship, I think this chamber pot idea must be wrong-in fact I would bet on it. I too think they were there in case of any type of emergency in the night, not as a substitute for toilets. The stewards I imagine would empty them in the 2 handled "slop jar" in the mornings and that would be conveyed to the toilet. I would imagine third class took care of this arrangement themselves.
 
Jun 11, 2000
2,524
26
313
Bob,
I don't think I could have managed the porthole option, not in their clothes. I've never been on a message board before, and I must say it's great fun. I think Shelley think's we're getting a bit silly, though - and she's probably right. But, Shelley, see Steve above for chamberpots-outside-door idea. Can't wait for the reminiscences of the senior forum members re stealing down the corridors - obviously worthy of a thread in itself. Got to go - term papers to mark, children to feed, housework to be done ... and bathroom to clean....
Monica
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
13
183
Speaking of brushing your teeth, wasn't it Kipling in one of his stories that told of an English regiment capturing all the French king's equipment on a field of battle, including a silver chamber pot they used as a drinking cup?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
A French king wouldn't have been at all surprised at that, Lee. In the eighteenth century Parisian dentists used urine to clean teeth!
 
J

Jeffrey Word

Guest
Hey everyone. I just got a set of Titanic plans and was looking at cabins, and can't figure out where the toilets are! lol. There's a couple of small shapes that LOOK like they could be a toilet, but it's hard to tell if it's that, or a sink. What did the first class toilets consist of? Meaning, what did they look like and how did they work? Did First Class have toilets in every cabin? I've read through some of the posts here but haven't run across anything with a definate answer. Did two first class cabins share a bathroom? I noticed several cabins adjoin others. I would hope as much money as it cost for a first class ticket that there'd be a damn toilet! NO chamber pot! lol. It's just hard to imagine John Jacob Astor standing there with a chamber pot in his hand.

I'm pretty aware that toilets were very limited in 3rd class, if they were even there at all. Privately, I mean. Does anybody have a blown up plan of the first class bathroom setup? I know photographs will be hard if not impossible to find because as Mike said on the other bathroom board, the toilets were definately not a photographer's highlight back then. They had better things to brag about than their toilets.

Anyway, if somebody has some kind of plan that they could blow up and post so I can actually see the bathroom, I'd really appreciate it. Man I'm curious about some of the strangest things.
happy.gif


Jeff.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
There were no toilets actually in the staterooms - the objects you see there on the cabin plans are washbasins. There were suites of rooms which included a private toilet as well as a private bathroom, but most 1st Class passengers had access only to the communal bathrooms and toilet blocks which were located along the centreline of each deck. There were separate toilet blocks for men and women, of course. Each contained several cubicles with a flushing WC (exactly the same as those in the suites), plus washbasins and, for the gents, a row of urinals. Much like what you would find in any public toilet today. 2nd and 3rd Class had similar toilet blocks, communal only (no private facilities).

If you want to see the detailed layout of the toilet facilities on deck plans, you won't find better than Bruce Beveridge's plans, which (at time of writing) can be viewed here:

http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/titanic/explorer/explorer.html
.
 
Jul 20, 2000
1,479
5
313
Jeffrey there were no "toilets" in the staterooms. - Would you want one in your bedroom at home?

You say you have a set of deck plans. Whose?
They should show you the toilets [WC] and the bathrooms for those rooms on B and C deck which had such facilities. A-36 and A=37 as well as the 4 parlour suites and 12 rooms on C-deck came with their own private facilities. For the other rooms on B-deck and the rest of the rooms on C-deck which had facilities available the rooms could be booked "with" or "without". Unless they were booked together as with B-58/60; B-69/71; C-80/82; C-23/25/27 then no two rooms would not share a private bath and toilet.
 
J

Jeffrey Word

Guest
Hey Lester. Thank you for the information! I have a set of Bruce Beveradge's plans that were featured on the Discovery Channel site. Cameron used these plans as well for his latest expedition.

As for the toilets in the staterooms, I mispoke. I'm not a sailor, so when I think stateroom I'm thinking the whole area rented by the passenger for the voyage. What's the proper name? Cabins? To describe the room(s) occupied by passengers?

Thanks again for your info. I looked back at the plans and you're right. And the toilets are shown. They're just described as 'water closet'. That's a term I was unfamiliar with until today.
happy.gif
 
Jul 20, 2000
1,479
5
313
The best possible plans.

Cabins is okay, but I prefer the Shipbuilder terminology - staterooms.

If you look in detail at the plans, 12 have the WC in the bathroom, 12 have them leading off of the bathroom and the other 22 were accessed directly from the small intercommunication passageway, that linked two bedrooms.
 

david wilson

Member
Mar 17, 2003
210
4
183
The Royal Australian Navy refer to the wc as "the head".In H&W this building was refered to as "the minutes",shortened from "the seven minutes" which was the allotted time one was allowed for "venting the bowels".
Older hands assure me that instead of the "stool & cistern" as we have today,a length of 12"pipe was split down the length of its self.this was set at an angle to allow water to continuosly run from one end to the other.A plank was placed along its length for placing one's thighs.
Apprentices were known to light a crunched up newspaper & float it down the stream,a singeing good time for all,what.
regards.
dw.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,666
881
563
Easley South Carolina
Captain Smith had his own private bath. There was an officers lavatory in the same boat deck deckhouse that the officers quarters were in. On The Olympic the lav was located across the passageway from the pantry. (See http://www.copperas.com/titanic/Boatdeck.gif and make sure you expand it to full size so you can read it.) The Titanic's deckhouse was a bit different in that it had some small passengers cabins but it still had a public lavatory.

I don't think they had chamber pots in their cabins.
 
May 13, 2006
18
0
71
>>I don't think they had chamber pots in their cabins.<<

Talking about chamber pots - My grandfather (1900-1980) had one under the bed all his life. Even though we had an inside loo (the posh word for Lav). I can still remember Pub's having spittons in the bar. Old customs die hard as they say.

Imagine if they did have chamber pots on a ship - all the rolling around in bad weather - the poor Stewards!
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Mar 16, 2000
5,055
339
433
Chamber pots have been found in the debris field, so somebody was using them. On a ship the size of Titanic they were quite safe to use, most of the time. The exceptions don't bear thinking about.
 
Oct 29, 2005
18
0
131
I am currently working for the Titanic exhibition in Cincinnati and one of the many items they have there is a toilet. The card that comes along with it says they flushed automatically. I have been asked several questions as to how this was done and I don't know. If anyone can throw some light on it, I'd appreciate it.

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted as a separate thread under a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same subject. MAB]
 

Lucy Burkhill

Member
Mar 31, 2006
166
1
123
Hi Nicholas,

I'm afraid I can't claim to be an expert on Titanic's toilets, but the one you describe sounds similar to the ones that were fitted in 3rd class on Lusitania and Mauretania. I have a reprint of The Shipbuilder(1907), which describes the water closets in 3rd class as having a flush action when the door (presumably of the toilet cubicle) is opened to enter, and a second flush when the door is re-opened on leaving. The closets were attached to a 5 inch pipe, which was flushed by automatic tanks at certain intervals. The closets for the crew were also of a similar arrangement. This automatic flushing action was considered to have been the most suitable in 3rd class, as most of the 3rd class passengers would never have used a flushing toilet before.

Hope this helps a bit!

Regards,

Lucy
 
Oct 29, 2005
18
0
131
Thanks Lucy!

That does seem to match this toilet. It was from third class (I suppose I should have mentioned that!) and your description of the operation would fit well with the design (from what I can see of it).

Obviously all that remains today is the toilet bowel and little else. It was difficult to discern how they would have gone about flushing it. One person did suggest a system like yours, but now I know!

Thanks for all the help!
 

Similar threads

Similar threads