The call of nature

Jan 28, 2003
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Being a British ship, I'm sure the Titanic must have provided toilet paper like the Izal or Bronco I remember dimly from the 1950s. It was beige, shiny and hard. You had to scrunch it up to make it usable. It also had the stern instruction "Now wash your hands" on every sheet. Miserable stuff. You can still get it, because I saw it in my supermarket - just 3 rolls on the top shelf, presumable for nostalgic masochists. But it's very good for making children's papier mache puppets - you get a very smooth paintable finish.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Punch and Judy enthusiasts, please read this! (I wonder about Pinocchio's nose, too). I am cracking myself up, reading this thread...and loving it! "Sponge-on-a-stick"....Edward Gibbon must be rolling in the grave! I think I actually own something like this, that I bought at Wal-Mart. I use it weekly to...er...um...huh...uh.... swipe out the "bowl". I'm sure its synthetic composition is far more comfortable than the ancient version. All that coral crust!!
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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"Oh ick" comes immediately to mind - I really think there are some things you really SHOULD NOT ask Pinocchio to do in this capacity -
 

Bob Godfrey

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I seem to recall that Izal and Bronco were hard and shiny on only one side. The other side was extremely hard and very shiny. :)
 
Jan 28, 2003
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When the softer stuff came in, many women at my father's pharmacy wouldn't buy it. Their husbands said it was for pampered women and wimps. Real men used Bronco. Odd, Bob, you don't seem to have felt that way ....
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Jan 28, 2003
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Since Izal is still available, it is obvious that any serious Titanic researcher would want to try it out for empathetic purposes, and I'm quite willing to send anyone a few sheets. In the same spirit of academic inquiry I decided today to try it out on my sons as a sort of litmus test of modern young manhood. So I rooted in the long-disused puppet-making box, found half a roll, and put it in the bathroom. The bellows of outrage from the marooned and deprived were clearly heard by the neighbours. When interrogated, I explained the experiment and was told it was grossly unfair. James, aged 17, would rather face Hitler than the Izal any day. I might send George B a few sheets as I'm not quite convinced it was necessary to evacuate ahead of moderate hurricane Isabel when you live in the White House. You and I don't seem to be at work, Bob. I'm ill, what's your excuse?
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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Loth as I am to join this execrable discussion....

I can testify that Izal/Bronco-type toilet tissue is indeed available in the USA.

Having stored in New York under the aegis of a notoriously parsimonious victualling superintendent, I was disconcerted further down the coast to discover the toilet rolls were of decidedly 'institutional' quality. I don't recall the brand but it was certainly commensurate with Izal/Bronco.

I was able to get in something more appropriate in Trinidad for our officer complement and relegated the New York stuff to our West Indian crew who were (unwittingly!) more stoical in such matters.

I did however report that, as we had on board one case of ischio-rectal abscess and two cases of haemorrhoids, it would be in the company's interests if in future the toilet tissue supplied was equal in quality to that available in the New York office.

Noel
 
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David Haisman

Guest
Whilst on the American coast running bananas from Armuelles and Golfito in Costa Rica to Wilmington in Los Angeles, we often took on stores in L.A.
The toilet paper as described above wasn't too popular with the ship's company as I recall after their visits to the ''Throne Room''.
Those with rectal problems could usually be found hanging upside down under a cold shower after a session grasping the ''straining bars''

David
 

Cliff W West

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Jan 28, 2008
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Considering the nature of "Victorian" ladies being in the lifeboats with out some way to relieve themselves it must have been quite traumatic.
Fortunately times have changed and my wife and daughter just go over the side on our 18 footer that has no plumbing.
 
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Anna Mcpherson

Guest
Hallo Cliff. Would not Titanic's life boats have small potties available? In the mid 1800's small potties were invented (for older persons that could not hold there peepee).

How about this thought: A man needs to relieve himself by gas,and he is at the first class dinning saloon with a lot of ladies present at his table. What would a gentleman in 1912 would do in this situation? (I know what a man would do in this era)
And also,third class men,would they relieve themselves by gas more often than a first or second class passenger?
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Eh? I just suppose most people, of whatever class, would just decide "not to notice". What do you do, Anna? Shriek aloud? Or is this a rather silly question?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Any gentleman feeling the need to let fly would simply call for the relief chair (see pic). This apparatus would be brought to the table by the relief steward and his assistant. With the gentleman secure in the collection cage, the steward would operate the pump while his assistant carried the exhaust hose to the nearest window or porthole. These procedures were undertaken so quickly and so discretely that they generally escaped the notice of any ladies present.

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So that's what was going on, Bob? I only got the briefest glimpse, of course, before accepting to tango dangerously with Jim K.
 

Mark Baber

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Or is this a rather silly question?

Quite. On the other hand, we've had sillier (although not by much) ones; look here for example.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Or is this a rather silly question?

Actually, it made me think of the entire "obeast" discussion.

Assuming that it is serious...

Anti-gas products were advertised, quietly, as early as the 1880s. As physical culture, and healthy diet, became faddish after 1900, ads began appearing blaming wretched diet for...uhhh...flatulence. These ads trod the fine line between tasteful and unbelievably bizarre.

By 1912, ads were becoming commonplace which showed a shift from flatulence= bad diet and poor exercise habits to flatulence= you are a slob and your friends are avoiding you, IF you are female. Male-oriented ads still stressed diet and exercise.

The 1920s saw this style of advert elevated to a neurotic artform (Heartbreaking portraits of hollow eyed old spinsters whose perpetually rumbling "Lower Bowel" drove away all suitors) before "good taste" emerged and saw any mention of gas driven underground for a good 40 years.

So, a gassy Titanic passenger could have availed himself of anything from fibre tablets to medicinal colonics, to judge from the 1912 ads.

I think the very common 1904 book "Sexology" has a "frank and honest" discussion of venting untimely gas, in a section regarding marital etiquette. Yes. Really. So, if you are serious about this, look there.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>So that's what was going on, Bob? I only got the briefest glimpse, of course, before accepting to tango dangerously with Jim K.

I have a vague, beery, memory of the device, and our dance. I have a SLIGHTLY more focused memory of you and Tim dancing to Mambo Italiano, while waving napkins a la early Sophia Loren. I thought the device was a rather elaborate hookah.... man, do I feel ignorant. I've blocked the memory of Bob and I performing "Chim-Chim-Cheree" although SOMEONE preserved it on his digital card....