The call of nature

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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A semi-serious answer to the original question: Here, directly from the pages of the 1908 Sears Catalogue no gentleman would have dreamed of reading
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is a possible solution. Sandwiched in as it is with The Magic Flesh Builder and Cupper (a bust developer); The Genuine Faultless Rubber Massage and Complexion Bulb (another bust developer) and the Hair Growing Fountain Comb, and not placed with the other medical supplies (where a similar product is offered) the editorial implication (for something they couldn't have hinted at in print) is that this is a "convenience option" and not a medical aid.
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Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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The Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap is only $5.00 a bar this year, Shelley. Maybe now you can use it? Treat yourself to a luxurious spa bath. You deserve it.
 

Steve Arnold

Member
Dec 31, 2000
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The niece of Mahala Douglas, Ellen Douglas Williamson, in her book "When We Went First Class," (1977, Iowa State University Press) describes her aunt's experience on the Titanic and addresses how this delicate subject was handled in the lifeboats:

"The lack of a chamber pot added terrifically to their discomfort; every woman in her boat could have used one. As it was, the only thing they had was some sort of a rolled-up cotton knitted underskirt that they used, rinsed out in the icy water after each use, and passed on to the next sufferer."
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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South Florida
Now, that's being resourceful, but my goodness! What a way to transmit infections. And imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to sit upon an ice cold wet rag. We scream if the commode seat is a bit chilly, but that - and wet besides - well, ladies, I salute you!

Kyrila
 
Jan 13, 2001
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Kyrila, found another source for Vinolia soap.
The Christmas catalog for the Vermont Country
Store. 3 bars for $14.95. Call 1-802-362-8440 or
visit www.vermontcountrystore.com " The days of the truly 'titanic' White Star Lines may be gone forever, but you can still bathe with the only soap to furnish the luxury liner's first class cabins."
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
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Another wierd question for everyone - toilet paper - I assume they used it, as leaves were scarce on board, but were there different grades, as there are today, so that first class lucked out with the equivalent of Charmin while third used something like what I encountered in the Soviet Union?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Well, maybe, but I have to wonder about that. Carrying different qualities might have been S.O.P. for all I know, but from a logistical standpoint, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just simpler to carry the same thing for everyone, and considering it's "end" use, I don't think a great deal of fuss would have been made about it. (Though a firestorm might have ensued had it not been available!)
 
Apr 11, 2001
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We've had scintillating postings on this topic before- and here is a link to amaze and amuse. I am confident the White Star quality paper was certainly WHITE, and not terribly soft by today's standards- we actually auctioned off a square of H& W bathroom tissue recently- not Charmin!
http://www.nobodys-perfect.com/vtpm
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Some pointers on the link above- scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on enter to be admitted to this prestigious virtual gallery. I had not visited for awhile and was thrilled to find new information and exhibits on the topic.And yes- there actually IS a Toilet Web Ring-who knew?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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UK
I note that the makers of 'Northern Tissue' did not feel confident before the 1930s to claim that their product was 'splinter free', so maybe all Classes on the Titanic would have been mightily impressed by the paper that Lee made contact with in the Soviet Union. Shelley, there is I believe even a message board for toilet paper enthusiasts. I always direct my critics there when they say I'm a sad case for spending all my time discussing Titanic!
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Whatever happened to corn cobs? My ex-husband - a mining engineer - used to travel frequently to Russia on business in the 80's, staying in hotel rooms without modern "facilities", trailers, and private homes. Before each trip, we would carefully pack an extra suitcase, filled with things like toilet paper, peanut butter, crackers, batteries, solar calculators, tons of K-Mart toys for the kids, like Barbie dolls and Transformers, and make-up for the wives. Each time he returned home, the story was always the same. After a short vodka welcome, the toilet paper was the first thing to be "accepted" by his hosts...even though it was for his own personal use.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Well, I always heard that corn cobs were popular in the West by God Virginia outhouses, which is why I mentioned them. I DO know that the carefully packed Charmin was "accepted" (stolen) before the kiddies had even discovered the toys. The Moscow Hilton - according to the ex - used something similar to brown paper sacks...to the tune of $225.00 a night. Paper or plastic?
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
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I must admit they bettered the "communal sponge-on-a-stick" the ancient Romans used - at least the corncobs were tossed away after use.