Committee to End Pay Toilets in America
The Committee to End Pay Toilets in America, or CEPTIA, was a 1970s grass-roots political organization which was one of the main forces behind the elimination of pay toilets in many American cities and states.
|“||When a man's or woman's natural body functions are restricted because he or she doesn't have a piece of change, there is no true freedom.||”|
|— Ira Gessel|
Starting a national crusade to cast away coin-operated commodes, Gessel told newsmen, "You can have a fifty-dollar bill, but if you don't have a dime, that metal box is between you and relief." Membership in the organization cost only $0.25, and members received the Committee's newsletter, the Free Toilet Paper. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, USA, the group had as many as 1,500 members, in seven chapters.
In 1973, Chicago became the first American city to act when the city council voted 37–8 in support of a ban on pay toilets in that city. According to at least one source, this was "... a direct response, evidently," to CEPTIA.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there were, in 1974, at least 50,000 pay toilets in America, mostly made by the Nik-O-Lok Company. Despite this flourishing commerce, CEPTIA was successful over the next few years in obtaining bans in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, California, Florida, and Ohio. Lobbying was so successful that by June 1976, twelve states had enacted bans and the group announced that it was disbanding, declaring its mission mostly achieved.
- Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Irving. The People's Almanac. Doubleday and Company, Inc. p. 1256. ISBN 0-385-04186-1.
- Franckling, Kenneth (August 21, 1974). "Ban on pay toilets disputed". The Dispatch.
- Geringer, Dan (May 2, 1972). "A New Kind of Protest". The Palm Beach Post. pp. B1,B3.
- Felton, Bruce; Fowler, Mark (1994). The Best, Worst, & Most Unusual. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-88365-861-1.
- Wiggins, Ron (August 2, 1973). "Comfort-For-Pay Being Flushed Out". Evening Independent.
- "Group Seeks To End Pay Toilets: And It Has Had Some Success Already". Sarasota Journal. July 25, 1973.
- "Clinched fist rising from commodes ends". Hamilton. August 19, 1976: B–6.
- Dunphy, Robert J. (June 20, 1976). "Notes: Pay Toilets". The New York Times.