We all have used or at least, seen an outhouse. The purpose of an outhouse is to provide a shed over the toilet in an outside setting. In this article, we will learn what exactly an outhouse is, what outhouse moon and star mean, and understand the outhouse design. There are various kinds of outhouses that are available across the globe, but the three main ones will be discussed today.
1. Outhouse Meaning
An outhouse is a small housing that is usually located away from the main building. It has a washroom or toilet inside of it. It is used in the form of a bucket latrine, meaning as a pit system, or any other form that’s dry and doesn’t require flushing of the toilet itself.
- They were the most popular in the twentieth century in Australia, which was a developing country at the time. It is still found in some developing countries as well, especially in the rural areas.
- In the United States, an outhouse is also referred to as not just a toilet that’s outside, but to a structure that is outside a building like a shed or a barn. (See Why is a Toilet Called a John?)
2. Outhouse Origin
Although outhouses have become a nearly rare sight at this point, they are still present and popular. In countries like Australia, Denmark, and United States, these were called dunny cans or simply dunny. In parts of the cities where the sewage system could not reach the houses, wooden boxes were made that had pit buckets to save the waste. It was later used in the decomposition of soil. The old buckets were replaced by the new and clean ones. It soon turned into a business as the waste was useful for insecticides that were required by farmers. (See Trick or Treat Origin)
3. Outhouse Design
There are different ways that an outhouse can be built but the baseline of each outhouse design is fairly similar and simple. Anyone can build an outhouse, but not everyone can build a good outhouse, was a line that was said by Bob Cary regarding his creation. The outhouse design is usually as follows:
- The basic structure of the outhouse is fairly simple, as mentioned earlier.
- It can be done by using lumber or plywood.
- You usually build it in a square or rectangle form, although sometimes, it is built in a hexagonal shape as well.
- An outhouse is usually made light in weight to accommodate the fact that it is needed to be moved around to clean the pit. It is to be moved & cleaned regularly, sometimes even yearly.
- Some prerequisites are set by the World Health Organization that an outhouse has to be a certain distance away from the main house. (See How Quickly Do Moths Eat Clothes?)
4A. Pit Latrine Outhouse
The concept of Pit Latrine is very similar to that of the Indian toilet system, and it doesn’t require cleaning either. Inside a pit latrine, you can see a hole in the ground, where you need to sit and release your feces. The pits are deep enough to store the waste material. Once the pit is filled, it is recommended to dig a new one and move the outhouse to that new location.
4B. Bucket Toilet Outhouse
The second kind of outhouse is a bucket toilet. It is the most useful in rural areas. It consists of a seating arrangement and below it, there is an open bucket where the waste material is stored. Once the feces fill the bucket, it is the job of the owner to clean it up by dumping the waste in a garden where there are composite pits. These function as a cheap alternative to high-tech composting system. These feces can also be given to a contractor who can decompose higher disposal for waste management. (See Do You Poop When You Die?)
4C. Drums and Barrel Outhouse
The two kinds mentioned above were either found in rural areas or in olden times. Nowadays, the drums and barrels outhouse design is the most popular. Many people who are into hiking, mountain climbing, and other expeditions will be well aware of this kind of outhouse. Since regular pit latrines and bucket toilets can be a problem in mountains, especially to export or clean out the feces, an alternative was built in the form of drums and barrels. If people went hiking or climbing, they were required to bring with them a drum or a small barrel that can be used for excretion purposes. (See Why do some people spend a lot of time in the bathroom?)
5. Hygiene Surrounding Outhouses
We can simply figure out that the problem pertains to hygiene or its lack thereof. Insects are known to be attracted to a substance that has a decaying smell, especially when it is natural. Not only feces but also stinking water that is present in an outhouse attracts deadly insects. These insects smell it and come flying to the source. With insects come diseases. Dengue is the most common disease spread through mosquitoes. (See What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans?)
6. Outhouse Moon and Star Meaning
A sun, moon, or star symbol can often be spotted on the door of an outhouse. You might wonder if it’s something superstitious. The answer is yes and no. These symbols were just a replacement for the male & female symbols for restrooms we use today. Star or sun was used for male outhouses whereas moon was meant for female restrooms. It was believed, however, that if a female goes into the crescent moon outhouse, she’ll have the ability to see the future. (See How is Silk made from Silkworm?)