You must have heard of museums dedicate to various things such as artefacts, weapons and armaments, ceramics and sculpture and even adult products from ancient times. However, have you heard of a museum dedicated to showcasing the history of sanitation and toilets from down the ages? The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is now open for the public in New Delhi, the capital city of India. Built by Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a leading NGO in the domain of sanitation, it prides itself in being the only toilet museum in the world. It displays a diverse range of toilets and sanitation solutions from ancient civilisations to as late as the 18th century.
Objectives behind setting up the museum
According to Dr.Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of this organisation, there are several objectives behind the launch of this unique museum. Researchers on ancient sanitation habits now have a convenient platform for enhancing their research. It will also allow government policy makers to understand the toilet culture of different civilisations, and assist sanitation experts in comprehending the efforts made in the past for applying them wherever it is feasible. Even manufacturing companies in the sanitary business can gain valuable insight from the different types of toilet structures and apply the same in their product offering.
Toilet culture down the ages
The wealth of information available at the museum on the evolving toilet culture down the ages, is particularly remarkable. Sitting type toilets were built during the Harappa civilisation in India, the finest form of sanitary engineering that enabled water borne toilets in every house, which were linked to proper drains for smooth disposal. Excavations in Egypt have confirmed the existence of sitting style toilets as early as 2100 BC. When the Romans royals travelled, they carried specially constructed toilets for their use. Around 3,500 years ago, Hinduism had drafted a set of laws for toilet etiquette. A completely chronology of interesting developments with reference to toilet related technology and toilet customs and traditions, is available at this one of its kind museum.
Interesting things you can see
Feast your eyes on a comprehensive collection of ancient and medieval commodes, bidets and chamber pots. From the ancient British stoneware chamber pots, to a French commode which resembles a layer of books, this museum will take you into an entirely different world. The first electric chamber pot, which was designed to be used during winter, is on display at the museum. A toilet seat, with a built in “buttock stimulator” which assisted in relieving constipation, will surely make you wonder on the imagination level of these toilet geniuses. However, what stands out on display is supposedly the most modern toilet in the world: the waterless Incinolet Electric Toilet developed for use in submarines. After use, the excreta burns at a whopping 760 degrees Celcius and turns to a spoonful of ash without any odour. Finally, the photograph of a lavatory shaped house will surely bring a smile on your face.