These Mysterious Home Features Used To Serve A Purpose Centuries Ago

A Lone Toilet In The Basement

Some World War II-era homes include a random toilet in the basement. They’re often called “Pittsburgh potties” for their prevalence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but are found all over the U.S. One theory is that workers would use them in order to not bring grime into the home.

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But according to architect William Martin, these toilets weren’t meant to be used at all.Martin says that the toilets were used to detect sewage backups. If a sewage pipe were clogged, a family’s bathtub or living-space toilet would overflow. To prevent this, a basement toilet was added so that the overflow wouldn’t soil the family’s home.

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