IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
MODERN CONVENIENCES FOR THE FARM HOME
Where there is difficulty in the matter of ultimate disposal without the use of a cesspool, and the consequent and apparently unavoidable risk thereby incurred of contaminating the well water, it would be better to use an earth closet. This is not wholly satisfactory, but is safer and far better than the provision so often found on farms and in villages. The house containing it should be well built and substantial, well lighted and ventilated, with a good roof, and preferably plastered on the inside to insure less exposure in cold weather. A carefully made and dry walk, screened by lattice for protection from the wind and for privacy, should be built to it. The excreta should be received in a galvanized-iron pail, not too large and made to fit close under the seat. This seat can be like that of an ordinary water-closet. Each time the closet is used dry earth is added. The pail should be emptied very frequently. With proper attention this closet need not be, built far from the house. It would even be possible to place it in a room built against the house, the room having one door opening from the house and another opening out of doors. This would make it possible to enter from the house in inclement weather, and also to carry out the pail without passing through the house. The room should be well ventilated by a window close to the ceiling, and only tissue paper should be used.
The earth for use in these places is to be found in nearly every field and garden and should be of rather a loamy nature if possible, and porous. A very and sandy soil is next to useless. Large heaps of earth should be collected for the year's use and dried in the summer sun. It is not necessary to use perfectly dry earth, but it is always the best.
Modern Conveniences Table of Contents