Pittsburgh toilet

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A Pittsburgh toilet.

A Pittsburgh toilet, often called a "Pittsburgh potty", is a common fixture in pre-World War II houses built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States and surrounding region. It consists of an ordinary flush toilet installed in the basement, with no surrounding walls.[1] Most of these toilets are paired with a crude basement shower apparatus and large sink, which often doubles as a laundry basin. Also, because western Pennsylvania is a steep topographical zone, many basements have their own entryway, allowing homeowners to enter from their yard or garage, cleanse themselves in their basement, and then ascend their basement stairs refreshed. Its primary function was to serve as a cleanup station for steel mill workers to clean up after returning from work.


As Pittsburgh was historically an industrial town, toilets such as these were said to be used by steelworkers and miners; grimy from the day's labor, they could use an exterior door to enter the basement directly from outside and use the basement's shower and toilet before heading upstairs.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ "What the heck is a 'Pittsburgh potty' and why is it in the basement?". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2019-12-26.
  2. ^ Kirkland, Kevin (May 22, 2004). "Homes & real estate: For house hunters, old and new homes each have their advantages". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 28, 2012. transplants [to Pittsburgh] to the area might be pleasantly surprised by a few aspects of Pittsburgh housing stock. No, we're not talking about the Pittsburgh toilet, the ubiquitous basement fixture that harkens back to the heyday of the steel mills and coal mines. Not usually a big selling point, it nevertheless provides a good starting point for a basement powder room.
  3. ^ Billingsly, Sarah (September 24, 2003). "Eclectic Pittsburgh Architecture reflects Industrial Influence". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. EG-6. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  4. ^ "'You Wanted To Know': Pittsburgh Potty Origins". KDKA-TV. September 17, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.

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