Through the Years: A Gallery of the World's Toilets

Roman Toilets

Roman public toilets in Turkey.

(Image credit: Anmor Photography, Shutterstock)

A Roman-era public restroom in Ephesus, Turkey.

Toilets in Wartime

Latrines and kitchen in World War I.

(Image credit: The National Library of Scotland)

Latrines and cooking pots mingle near the front lines during World War I. The soldiers' pit latrines are directly behind the open-air kitchen where three army cooks are preparing food.

Bathroom in 1918

An American bathroom in 1918.

(Image credit: UA Archives | Upper Arlington History)

A typical American bathroom in 1918, as seen in an advertisement for the G. C. Glass Plumbing company.

Privy, North Carolina, 1914-1915

An outhouse in North Carolina in 1914.

(Image credit: North Carolina State Archives)

The less well-off would have made do with a simple outdoor privy.


Outhouses in an alley in Sydney.

(Image credit: State Library of New South Wales collection)

Outhouses in back of a butcher's work area in Sydney, Australia in 1900. This photograph was taken in a quarantine area during an outbreak of bubonic plague.


A feces collector picks up toilet waste in Amsterdam in 1953.

(Image credit: Nationaal Archief)

A 'strontschepper,' or feces-collector, collects toilet waste in buckets in this 1953 photograph taken in Amsterdam.

Open Sewer, Uganda

A drainage channel contaminated with sewage in Uganda.

(Image credit: WaterAid / Caroline Irby)

n open drainage channel flowing through a low-income area of Kampala, Uganda. There are no adequate sanitation facilities in this area so the drain is contaminated with raw sewage.

Makeshift Latrine

A makeshift latrine in Bangladesh.

(Image credit: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader)

A makeshift latrine in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Children Play Near Open Sewage.

An open sewage drainage in Zambia.

(Image credit: WaterAid / Anna Kari)

Children play over an open sewer in the slum of N-gombe in Lusaka, Zambia.

Building a Latrine

Building a latrine in Ghana.

(Image credit: WaterAid / Jon Spaull)

Construction of a latrine slab as part of a WaterAid sanitation program helping a poor community in Tamale, Ghana.

A New Latrine

A new latrine in Bangladesh.

(Image credit: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader)

Mithu, next to the latrine his family built following a WaterAid program in Laloich village, Mohanpur district, Rajshahi , Bangladesh.

Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.