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Running Water, Sewage Before Electricity?

PotomacBob

We had cities before we had electricity. In our cities, was there running water and sewage pipes (and treatment) before we had electricity? If so, how was the water powered? What made sewage in the pipes move to wherever it was going?

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

The simple answer is gravity. Even today the sewerage and drainage pipes have to have a slight down slope for them to work properly, and the incoming water was provided from water towers by gravity to push it through the pipes after various types of mechanical pumps were used to get the water up into the towers.

Replies:   PotomacBob
REP

@PotomacBob

What made sewage in the pipes move to wherever it was going?


According to historical accounts I've read, in many of the early cities a home's sewage was disposed of in the gutters of the city's streets. If there was a slope to the streets, gravity moved the sewage downhill.

Dominions Son

@REP

According to historical accounts I've read, in many of the early cities a home's sewage was disposed of in the gutters of the city's streets.


The Roman Empire had underground sewers.

Prior to the ability to mass produce large diameter pipes it would also be highly dependent on the size of the city and the local geology. Sewers can be built by digging tunnels and using masonry. However this takes a lot of resources and requires tunnels large enough for humans to move through, and geology that gives the sewer contents somewhere to go.

Very small towns would likely use outhouses with pit toilets and avoid dumping human waste in open sewers/street gutters. However, outhouses become impractical after a certain population density is hit.

Not sure how old the idea of composting organic waste is, but if the knowledge was available, before industrial revolution, compost would have been a fairly valuable resource.

Replies:   REP  joyR  Not_a_ID
mimauk

As a point of interest, the main sewer in Rome was called the Cloaca Maxima. The roman concrete used in building it is still in good condition to this day. The Roman concrete was even used under water with building docks etc. and all because they mixed it using ground up lava/pumice in the mix. One of the reasons that Roman ruins are still around today.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaca_Maxima

Remus2

https://www.iwapublishing.com/news/brief-history-water-and-health-ancient-civilizations-modern-times

http://theplumber.com/crete/

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/10854/knossos.html#fieldnotes

https://csegrecorder.com/articles/view/ancient-chinese-drilling

Water and sewage works predated all known electrical work going back thousands of years world wide. The first verified use of electricity were the Baghdad batteries, but even then, it was far removed from water and sewage works.

REP

@Dominions Son

Very small towns would likely use outhouses


Yes that is true. I was thinking of the remaining sewage/liquid household waste. That went out the door or window and frequently into the street gutters.

joyR

@Dominions Son

Very small towns would likely use outhouses


It's time you did a little research

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@joyR

It's time you did a little research


Thanks, but I have first hand experience with outhouses.

Replies:   REP  Darian Wolfe
REP

@Dominions Son

So do I, but not back in the 1300s.

Dominions Son

So do I, but not back in the 1300s.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outhouse#History

Denmark

The remains of a thousand year old Viking outhouse were discovered in 2017. This is the oldest known outhouse in the country, even though evidence cannot establish it to be "the first." This discovery was considered to be culturally significant.[B]


As for terminology, "outhouse" seems to be unique to North America, but the basic idea of a separate outbuilding to house a sheltered pit toilet is not.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Dominions Son

As for terminology, "outhouse" seems to be unique to North America, but the basic idea of a separate outbuilding to house a sheltered pit toilet is not.

I have doubts that "outhouse" is unique to North America.

The OxD suggests that but M-WD does not.

The possible synonyms I found were privy, latrine, outbuilding, and dunny (Australian).

Ngrams suggests the most common, by far, of those has always been privy in both BrE and AmE.

Outhouse was nearly twice common in BrE until about 1960. A shift then started and it is now more than twice as common in AmE.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Not sure how old the idea of composting organic waste is, but if the knowledge was available, before industrial revolution, compost would have been a fairly valuable resource


Organic waste yes, human waste, no.

Although it undoubtedly happened in some cases. Human urine wouldn't be too much of an issue, so long as it goes in the ground or downstream within a reasonable timeframe. As its normally supposed to be sterile coming out. (Romans used it to create amonia, and used it to do their laundry)

Human fecal material(read: shit) on the other hand? Only if you have a death wish, or wish to see others die. There is a very good reason why there seems to be a nerely ingrained squeemishness about the stuff, and I'm pretty sure it predates the proper medical knowledge of why you don't use human poo as fertilizer for your cabbage patch. Killer heads of lettuce are only part of the issue(for example: e-coli is actually a symbiotic gut bacteria for humans and many other animals, but that also means its almost always in our poop).

But going back to the other question left unanswered: "Sewage treatment" is pretty much a late 19th Century/20th Century thing. Previously they either buried it, or sent it downstream. For most places, population densities(and waste outflows) didn't start massively overwhelming mother nature until the 19th century.

But before that: There is a reason alcohol features so heavily in Europe, China, Korea, and Japan, and most other places that saw relatively high population densities for their era. You did not drink the water, you drank watered down alcohol instead. The how and why of that should be pretty evident. It probably also helps explain the Brit's infamous tendency to boil everything. (Even before they knew why that was a medically sound practice)

PotomacBob

@Not_a_ID

There is a reason alcohol features so heavily in Europe, China, Korea, and Japan,


Wasn't it also true of colonial America?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Organic waste yes, human waste, no.


I wasn't including human waste in that, but actually, yes, you can and it has been.

Human waste has been used quite heavily as fertilizer, at least in south eastern Wisconsin.

https://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/what-is-milorganite

Also, see Composting toilets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting_toilet

Replies:   Not_a_ID  graybyrd
Dominions Son

@PotomacBob


Wasn't it also true of colonial America?


That was true pretty much anywhere with a substantial population density prior to the advent of modern waste water treatment.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

by far, of those has always been privy in both BrE and AmE.


Latrine is used in AmE, but here it's almost exclusively a military term used for a makeshift camp toilet, usually in the form of a trench latrine.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Latrine is used in AmE, but here it's almost exclusively a military term used for a makeshift camp toilet, usually in the form of a trench latrine.

I was careful not to claim that the links I provided proved anything beyond enough to cast doubt on outhouse being an American term.

I am well aware that ngrams is often misleading because either words have other senses or are used as different parts of speech.

I was suspicious about the use of privy was so high. That was a result, I think, of a difference sense of privy being used as an adjective or verb. The frequency of privy used as a noun (when it might be a synonym of outhouse) has only been above 6% during and after World Wars. Outhouse has always been much more frequent than privy as a noun.

Latrine is used in AmE

And you can keep your grubby American hands off the British latrine too!

The use of latrine started in BrE and has always been higher than in AmE. In fact, it looks like Americans only started using the word after their belated entries into World Wars.

Replies:   Tw0Cr0ws
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

I wasn't including human waste in that, but actually, yes, you can and it has been.

Human waste has been used quite heavily as fertilizer, at least in south eastern Wisconsin.

https://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/what-is-milorganite

Also, see Composting toilets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting_toilet


Yes, it CAN be done, but not very easily. Even the composting toilet has a number of rather lengthy steps in between it being expelled until the "end product" reaches any kind of condition that might be "reasonably safe" (rather than legally acceptable, which may or may not arguably be overkill) for use in a human food supply.

Milorganite, or other equivalents, is one I've been aware of for awhile, but the whole "kiln dried" and the extremely high temperatures used(to kill off the gut bacteria) again places it in the "not practical" for a pre-industrial scale society, where other options are more readily available and take far less effort overall.

Easier to stick it(feces) in the ground(away from where your food comes from), or send it dowstream and let it be somebody else's problem. :)

Urine is a slightly different issue, so long as no UTIs are in play. That can go just about anywhere that has an absorbant surface. So long as the same "absorbant surface" and immediate vicinty doesn't see "too much use."

Not sure on where you'd go about even seeking an answer on that on one, but anecdotally from a family dog who favored peeing in the same places(dogs have to mark their territory, some more than others). That you'd want several feet between urination sites, and at least several days between use, and preferably fresh water from somewhere(rain/sprinkler system) to "flush"/dilute the contents before it gets used again. At least if your intention is "sustainable use."

Otherwise the area water is going to start looking/smelling like urine, and urine tendency to become amonia is going to start killing the vegetation rather than fertilizing it. (That dog created dead spots in the lawn that lasted almost a year after he died, and also managed to deform the trunk of a tree he favored peeing on a specific part of)

While that nutrient rich water then becomes a potential hotbed for other microbial organisms that are likely to be unpleasant if the urine inflow exceeds evaportaion/drainage. (Truckers and other motorists are big time guilty parties of doing this at some roadside pullouts. If it was 1 motorist taking a whiz in that spot every several days, no problem. But when it becomes several motorists doing so daily/every other day, and within feet of where the other guy was, that's a problem--when that "random bush on the road side" ceases to be random. Always "great fun" to visit a road-side pullout for an enforced break and eyeball the "yellow puddles" with stuff growing in them next to their brown puddle counterparts--and truckers wonder why so many places no longer allow truck parking)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Outhouse was nearly twice common in BrE until about 1960.


In the UK, 'outhouse' was used for any permanent (eg brick) outside building, not just toilets.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

In the UK, 'outhouse' was used for any permanent (eg brick) outside building, not just toilets.

I sort of expected that, because the frequency was high relative to AmE.

I wouldn't do that in Australian English. I'd probably call other types of external structures sheds or garages, and reserve outhouse as a polite way of saying dunny.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

So in Australia, a woman who was 'like a brick outhouse' would have the characteristics of an outside toilet - cold, infested with vermin, and smelly? ;)

Changing the subject, have you ever heard of the word 'peelers' used for eyes? I used it without hesitating in my latest blog post, but I couldn't find the use documented in the dictionaries I checked. It's informal and related to (and possibly derived from) 'keep your eyes peeled.'

AJ

graybyrd

@Dominions Son

I grew up with outhouses (western states) and the concept of composting was never mentioned, considered, or implemented. I can only conclude that it was unknown, at least in our region/culture of the time (1930's-1950's). Quick lime was regarded as a pit treatment to hasten decomposition and reduce stench, although I never saw any benefit from the 'old man' dumping coffee cans full of lime down the outhouse holes. Nor did I ever see or hear of any recommendation to toss organic matter into the pit to improve decomposition (composting) and cover the exposed shit pile. It was a matter of being loath to fill a laboriously hand-dug pit more quickly than needed. Now with personal experience using (and appreciating) simple composting toilets, I'm somewhat amazed at the stupidity and ignorance of all those years of enduring open shit heaps in those outhouses. Which again indicates that "everybody does it that way" is usually proof of mass ignorance.

Here in WA, the state parks adopted the Clivus Multrum composting toilets. They are remarkably odor free and efficient; in contrast, the federal recreation sites still use concrete-vault pit toilets, which assault the senses anyone approaching within 50 feet. It's an interesting comparison.

In related stupidity, we're 'water-challenged' here on the island, but the principal city is completing a $110 Million sewer treatment plant to continue running precious fresh water from the city water system through thousands of toilets, manufacturing sewage, and at great expense "cleansing" it to be dumped into the salt chuck. It's an incredibly expensive, wasteful, and short-sighted waste of a finite, diminishing precious resource. We'll eventually be forced to adopt an alternate method of transporting shit away from the residence.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

So in Australia, a woman who was 'like a brick outhouse' would have the characteristics of an outside toilet - cold, infested with vermin, and smelly?

Mostly right, but we'd say "built like a brick shithouse", and she'd look like a rugby front rower too.

have you ever heard of the word 'peelers' used for eyes?

Nope. I've heard of 'peepers' though. I suspect 'peelers' is another expression unique to that strange part of England you grew up in.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
helmut_meukel

@Not_a_ID

Yes, it CAN be done, but not very easily.


Hmm, in my home town (about 53,000 people back when) there were three sewer systems in use when I was a boy (in the '50s and '60s):
- flush toilets and full sewer drainage;
- flush toilets and sewer tanks pumped out all 4 to 8 weeks;
- outdoor loos, both real outhouses and loos in the stairhouse on the landings between two floors, in both cases the sewer tanks were pumped out regularily.
The pumped out human waste was then spread out on the fields and meadows as fertilizer.

HM.

Replies:   Keet
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Yes, it CAN be done, but not very easily.


Depends on how you do it. The Wiki article I found and linked to above (or was it a different article?) suggested that Medieval farmers tended to just go in their fields for the fertilizer value.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@graybyrd

I grew up with outhouses (western states) and the concept of composting was never mentioned, considered, or implemented.


For the second or third time, while it can be done, my mention of composting was for organic food waste, not human waste and had nothing to do with outhouses or toilets of any kind.

Dominions Son

@graybyrd

We'll eventually be forced to adopt an alternate method of transporting shit away from the residence.


Adopting the use of "dry" composting toilets seems like a decent choice for water challenged areas.

Keet

@helmut_meukel

The pumped out human waste was then spread out on the fields and meadows as fertilizer.

No problem with that as long as its not on crops that are for consumption. I assume you don't eat grass so its good for a lawn ;)

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

I'm going to answer a few posts on Australian word usage here.

Dunny = any external building that's set up and used as a toilet for a nearby building, regardless of what it's made of.

Outhouse = wooden single seat toilet external structure. Rarely seen in large urban areas for decades, but still common in rural areas.

Brick outhouse = usually two unit toilet made of brick with two doors and set away from the main building. They look very squat and solid as they were often made extra wide.

All of the above are usually ten to twenty feet from the main building.

Built like a brick outhouse = short extra wide solid looking person.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I suspect 'peelers' is another expression unique to that strange part of England you grew up in.


Thanks! Or invisible aliens are changing our language and I'm the only person who can remember what it used to be like ;)

AJ

Replies:   joyR  REP
joyR

@awnlee jawking

Or invisible aliens are changing our language and I'm the only person who can remember what it used to be like ;)


A government assassin... err assessment team will be with you shortly...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@joyR

A government assassin... err assessment team will be with you shortly...


I'm hiding under the duvet. Everyone knows the baddies can't hurt you if you're hiding under the duvet ...

AJ

PotomacBob

@Ernest Bywater

Anything other than windmills?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
PotomacBob

@REP

If there was a slope to the streets, gravity moved the sewage downhill.


And if there was no slope to the streets?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

Anything other than windmills?


Acimedies screw or a manual pump worked as needed.

Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

And if there was no slope to the streets?


It would take a lot of water to move the sewage anywhere, and it would move out in every direction not blocked with some kind of structure or raised terrain feature.

Tw0Cr0ws

As far as using human feces for fertilizer; consider these two things:

Approximately 70% of feces is E. coli bacteria.

If a human (them) has it, a human (you) can catch it. There is no different strain of bacteria evolved to thrive in another species with a different physiology involved.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@Tw0Cr0ws

Solid waste both human and animal was used in pre modern farming for fertilizing plants. Rice producing countries, i.e. Far East, used it extensively. I imagine cooking rice eliminated a lot of what bacterial contamination existed. Modern fertilizers put an end to the need for reliance on more dangerous organic ones. Although you don't want to ever be downwind from a modern farm field just fertilized with liquid anahydrous ammonia. It'll rip your lungs out if you're close enough.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Jim S

Although you don't want to ever be downwind from a modern farm field just fertilized with liquid anahydrous ammonia. It'll rip your lungs out if you're close enough.


My dad worked at an ammonium nitrate fertilizer plant. He ran the nitric acid unit. They used a platinum catalyst that was incredibly expensive - when they had to change the catalyst, they would always get new coveralls afterwards, because there would be a few slivers of platinum come off the catalyst and embed itself in their coveralls, so they'd send those off to be burnt and recycled.

Anhydrous ammonia can kill you quite easily. That's one reason you need to give farm tractors hauling those long white tanks plenty of room. It's a severe inhalation hazard nearly on a scale with a war gas.

And of course, ammonium nitrate fertilizer is also fun stuff to play with. Dad used to bring home a couple of 40 pound bags of it every year, we'd use it on our garden. Or for stump removal - if used properly, ammonium nitrate makes a very nice bang.

On the other hand, one of the reasons the plant was located in the middle of nowhere was just in case something bad happened. Working in the field, everyone at the plant was well aware of the Grandcamp in Texas City and how devastating 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploding was. In the bag and granular warehouse there typically was about 50,000 tons on hand at any one time. They figured it would only flatten everything within about a 10 mile radius...

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

Anhydrous ammonia is used heavily in industrial refrigeration units as well. I don't know the numbers for a fact, but I'd be surprised if refrigeration isn't the number one use of it.

Edit: after a search; yep I'm surprised, it's the second most common use.

REP

@awnlee jawking

the only person who can remember what it used to be like ;)


How does it feel that not even an alien is interested in changing you. :)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

How does it feel that not even an alien is interested in changing you. :)


I wonder if the alien is female and looking for a husband ;)

AJ

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@awnlee jawking

I wonder if the alien is female and looking for a husband ;)


If you're unlucky... HE might be... *evil grin*

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@joyR

If you're unlucky... HE might be... *evil grin*


That would be a bummer ;)

AJ

Not_a_ID

@Keet

No problem with that as long as its not on crops that are for consumption. I assume you don't eat grass so its good for a lawn ;)


Or a field that is growing a crop you're going to use to feed the horse and/or other livestock on the farm. Not every crop that was grown on a farm went to feed humans.

Replies:   Keet
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Depends on how you do it. The Wiki article I found and linked to above (or was it a different article?) suggested that Medieval farmers tended to just go in their fields for the fertilizer value.


Bit of a difference between taking a whiz in the field(urine is nutrient rich, and sterile), and taking a dump.

As a "one off" dropping the duece may or may not become a significant issue, particularly when the person taking said dump is otherwise healthy.

But emptying a chamber pot into a field as fertilizer, in particular a chamber pot filled with offal from somebody who was ill, is asking for that illness to be "recycled" back into the population once the crop it fertilized makes its way onto somebody's dinner table. (This also ignores the risks to the farm worker who had to "handle the material" to introduce/mix it with the soil.)

The example in Asia with Rice fields also had the whole matter of rice getting cooked. So there is some margin to work with there, but it still stands that if you were dealing with vegetables specifically(or any other foodstuff that often goes uncooked), the risk factors of the crop making somebody sick goes up a lot if human excrement(shit, not piss) was employed as a fertilizer.

Of course, it's moot if, as mentioned, the crop in question doesn't go to a human's dinner table. If it instead feeds a cow, pig, or horse instead, it still contains some risk factors(particularly with the pig), but they're diminished all the same.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Keet

No problem with that as long as its not on crops that are for consumption. I assume you don't eat grass so its good for a lawn

Does the runoff of rain on those fields end up in the community's water supply?
If so, the practice is still unsafe.

Replies:   Keet
graybyrd
Updated:

The top six inches of topsoil is very active with microbes. Tens of thousands of Appalachian Trail hikers carry little trowels. Within weeks or months the buried "deposit" becomes more topsoil. Soil microbes feast on the fecal organisms.

I once added an extension to our rural newspaper building; old-timers swarmed the site and pointed me to a corner where we were to lay a foundation.

"There's an old outhouse stood there. Can we dig for bottles?" I agreed; they did. Some nice old whiskey and medicine bottles were dug out of the dirt in that corner. After 75 years, the old pit toilet's contents had become sweet soil.

WA State Parks compost toilet bins, contents mixed with organic matter, age for a year in an on-site bin shelter, and then can be safely scattered where needed.

Very popular boat and RV composting toilets mix feces with coconut coir or peat moss, or even sawdust, and suggest aging for a year in a corner compost pile before use around the yard or garden (squeamish users need not apply to the veg patch).

Lest hysteria run amok, it's wise and rather calming to consider that live topsoil and its biomass is our biological friend and safeguard. Given time, e. coli and other 'nasties' cannot survive lengthy soil treatment.

It's primarily when we mix the crap with water to carry it away that we create disease and pestilence.

Keet

@Not_a_ID

Or a field that is growing a crop you're going to use to feed the horse and/or other livestock on the farm. Not every crop that was grown on a farm went to feed humans.

Correct. I should have been more clear that it's ok if the crops are not for consumption by humans.

Keet
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Does the runoff of rain on those fields end up in the community's water supply?

If so, the practice is still unsafe.

Of course that's unsafe too. Seems like a logical extension of keeping human waste away from fields that have crops for human consumption.
edit: a really bad typo ;)

Darian Wolfe

@Dominions Son

My grandparents had outhouses and I used them. In fact, my Maternal grandparents were well to do they had a two-seater with fancy walls on the inside, not unpainted lumber. They finally, broke down and got a porcelain toilet put in not long before they moved to the city, but they were hitting their 80's then.

StarFleet Carl

@Not_a_ID

But emptying a chamber pot into a field as fertilizer, in particular a chamber pot filled with offal from somebody who was ill, is asking for that illness to be "recycled" back into the population once the crop it fertilized makes its way onto somebody's dinner table. (This also ignores the risks to the farm worker who had to "handle the material" to introduce/mix it with the soil.)


Keep in mind that you're talking about fresh crap simply dumped on top. You mix it in WITH the dirt, and as with any fertilizer, the bugs and other stuff in the soil will break it down.

The house I grew up in didn't have running water inside until I was in elementary school - we had a pump well housing out front, and an outhouse. As a guy, if you had to pee, you simply went behind the house and peed in the yard. And when we finally got rid of the outhouse and simply filled in what was left of the hole, that was the spot where the best plants in the garden grew.

That old house was built from salvaged boxcar lumber. I remember when we added a room and pulled the old shingles off, to expose the raw wood, some of the painted logos and words from the railcars were still visible. Don't miss it in the least.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@StarFleet Carl

Wintertime too? No "slop jar?"

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
grandad_rufus

@awnlee jawking

Changing the subject, have you ever heard of the word 'peelers' used for eyes? I used it without hesitating in my latest blog post, but I couldn't find the use documented in the dictionaries I checked. It's informal and related to (and possibly derived from) 'keep your eyes peeled.'


Peelers was the name given to the first police officers. They were named after Sir Robert Peel who introduced them, first in Ireland, and then in England. They were also known as Bobbies in England.

Regards G_R

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2

@grandad_rufus

Peelers was the name given to the first police officers. They were named after Sir Robert Peel who introduced them, first in Ireland, and then in England. They were also known as Bobbies in England.


Can't say as I've ever considered the origins of the term "police officer." Where did you get that information if I may ask?

Replies:   StarFleet Carl  joyR
StarFleet Carl

@Remus2

Where did you get that information if I may ask?


Don't know where he heard it. I heard the same thing in my Criminology classes in college, when we were studying the history of law enforcement.

Replies:   Remus2
StarFleet Carl

@PotomacBob

Wintertime too? No "slop jar?"


I think that was one of the incentives to get a well drilled and indoor plumbing. Although as an adult, I wonder why we didn't have a pressure tank, just a pump that had to kick on and run every time we flushed the toilet or took a shower. I was 9 when they took out the coal furnace and put in a oil furnace. Man, you talk about stink - the Marathon guy would come around to fill the tank (which was accessible through the coal chute, in the basement) and for two or three days, the house would smell like fuel oil.

Replies:   PotomacBob  Jim S
PotomacBob

@StarFleet Carl

If you had a coal chute, does that mean you were using stoker coal? (as opposed to lumps)

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@PotomacBob

If you had a coal chute, does that mean you were using stoker coal?


It would have been lump. I remember Dad or my older brother having to go down to shovel some into the furnace.

It wasn't quite like the one in this article (https://www.oldhouseguy.com/heating-old-octopus-furnace/), it was squatter. But we had the brick chimney right next to it like in this picture.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Jim S

@StarFleet Carl

I was 9 when they took out the coal furnace and put in a oil furnace.

How long did it take you to get rid of the coal dust? I had the same happen but the coal furnace was replaced with a natural gas one. I think we were still getting coal dust out of the house 10 years later. And out of our lungs.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Remus2

@StarFleet Carl

Don't know where he heard it. I heard the same thing in my Criminology classes in college, when we were studying the history of law enforcement.


One of these days, curiosity will kill me.
I've access to UTK library and started digging. I found the statement, but the references were weak at best. Internet, JSTOR, UTK, and other sources yields no agreement between sources.

Definition, duties, and timeline, are scattered and incoherent.
Based on that, the information appears to be more tribal knowledge than documented fact. It would make an interesting paper for a Criminology & Criminal Justice student.

joyR

@Remus2

Can't say as I've ever considered the origins of the term "police officer."


Sir Robert Peel organised the police based on military hierarchy.

Every police officer is empowered by a warrant.

In the military a warrant officer is an officer by warrant not commission.

Giving a policeman the title 'officer' infers superiority over the lower ranks, "the public" in this case.

Whilst the exact origin is hard to pin down, the reasons are easily apparent. Much like those who are deemed 'officers of the court'.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2

@joyR

Sir Robert Peel organised the police based on military hierarchy.


The term 'gendarmes' came out two hundred years earlier. It was based on military hierarchy with very similar functions. I don't consider it 'easily apparently' in light of that fact.

Replies:   joyR
joyR
Updated:

@Remus2

Would you consider it 'facilement apparent' ?

Seeing as how you are comparing different systems, from different countries, in different centuries?

ETA

You might find this useful

Replies:   Remus2
StarFleet Carl

@Jim S

I think we were still getting coal dust out of the house 10 years later


It was mostly wash the walls down into the sump pit - which then pumped it out, down a small drainage ditch, into our front ditch, which then flowed into a creek. (No, we didn't give a damn about environmental issues in 1970.)

Realistically, some of the coal dust never went away - I'm certain if you went into the basement and then into the crawl areas today, there'd still be coal dust in there.

Replies:   Jim S
Remus2

@joyR

The concept of law enforcement has been around as long as laws have. A society may call it one thing, and another something entirely different.

Military based law enforcement is much older than the terms so far mentioned. At the end of it, they are effectively the same concept.

BTW, did you happen to notice the dates in your link?

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Remus2

The concept of law enforcement has been around as long as laws have. A society may call it one thing, and another something entirely different.


Wow..!! Really..?? And you waited until now to tell us all..??

Military based law enforcement is much older than the terms so far mentioned. At the end of it, they are effectively the same concept.


And your source for that statement is..??

No, they are not "effectively the same" Using the military, who are trained to kill, to police civilians, has proven time and again to be a very bad idea.

BTW, did you happen to notice the dates in your link?


Yes. I'm glad you noticed.

Now, to repeat myself, "Sir Robert Peel organised the police based on military hierarchy."

Which is very different from 'paramilitary force' which your comment implies. In fact;

"He wanted a single, unified force under central control that could be used to maintain order without having to call for the aid of the army. Soldiers were trained to use lethal weapons. A police institution could be trained to restore order without guns and sabres."

Source.

Replies:   Remus2  Not_a_ID
Jim S

@StarFleet Carl

Realistically, some of the coal dust never went away - I'm certain if you went into the basement and then into the crawl areas today, there'd still be coal dust in there.

No doubt about it. What I meant by 10 years later is that my mother was still picking up coal dust on her dust rag when she dusted 10 years later. And that was upstairs away from the basement. The coal bin in the basement never went away.

Neither did the dust there. And I wouldn't hesitate to bet there is residual coal dust in my lungs. Note that the furnace was changed in the mid 1950s while I was still a small child, around the same age you gave.

I wonder how much home/industrial coal use in the 20th century contributed to the COPD epidemic and other lung maladies going on today.

PotomacBob

@StarFleet Carl

It would have been lump. I remember Dad or my older brother having to go down to shovel some into the furnace.


When I refer to lump coal, each lump weighed 2 to 5 pounds, and you carried one or two lumps at a time in from the coal pile outside and used them in a coal-burning fireplace or coal-burning stove (ours was a Warm Morning brand). Stoker coal (much smaller, about the size of charcoal briquets) was the only size you could shovel, and it was fed into the furnace by a conveyor belt from a coal bin. IIRC, we got rid of the stoker-coal furnace in the late 1950s.

Remus2

@joyR

Military based law enforcement is much older than the terms so far mentioned. At the end of it, they are effectively the same concept.


No, they are not "effectively the same" Using the military, who are trained to kill, to police civilians, has proven time and again to be a very bad idea.


We will not agree on the subject. If it's been "proven time and again" to be a very bad idea", then it has in fact been repeated in history 'time and again' to have occurred. Therefore it is effectively the same in history. The only thing you seem to be arguing is who commands them. Invariably, police forces end up falling back into military/paramilitary structures given sufficient time. There is a reason for that.
It doesn't take much of a search to see the line between police and military shrinking in this day and time.

We will obviously not agree here, so this will be my last comment on the subject.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@joyR

Military based law enforcement is much older than the terms so far mentioned. At the end of it, they are effectively the same concept.



And your source for that statement is..??

No, they are not "effectively the same" Using the military, who are trained to kill, to police civilians, has proven time and again to be a very bad idea.


Wait, what? Military training, for anybody besides the officers was exceptionally rare prior to sometime around the 17th century, and what training they typically received was very minimal at best. Very often, people found themselves "enlisted" in the military either due a draft(/levy of the local nobility), or as the result of being sentenced.

The idea of an educated and well trained rank-and-file enlisted rank is a comparatively new thing. Even for the United States, which didn't really start to fully implement it until after Vietnam.

Yes, the Romans are certainly an exception, as they actually fielded Soldiers rather than Warriors, but that is also part of why the Roman Legions were so hard to defeat on the battlefield, they were very much the exception, not the rule.

Also I think it is questionable as to exactly how much "training" the average Roman Legionaire received beyond possibly a couple days of basic drill instruction.

Now I will grant, that with the advent of matchlock firearms and pistols, a military force armed with firearms is not one you want enforcing civilian order as a long-term proposition.

But what exactly qualified as "the military" for many parts of the world historically certainly blurred the line between local law enforcement and military forces. I think you'd find "para-military" in modern parlance was more the norm than the exception.

IE the "standing army" was a paramilitary organization, and very likely to split into divergent groups in the event of war with somebody else. In which case one part became the core for the Military that gets stood up through "a draft"(levy). While the other part remains behind to perform local enforcement/defense duties as part of a reduced crew.

Replies:   joyR  joyR
joyR

@Not_a_ID

Wait, what? Military training,


You said military training, I simply said 'trained to kill'.

Throughout history, hordes, armies etc tend to be sent to kill the enemy.

So yes, using soldiers to 'police' civilians is a bad idea, they typically receive no training in 'policing'. There is a noticeable difference between "Ready - Aim - Fire" and "Question - Take statements - Arrest".

Replies:   Not_a_ID
joyR

@Not_a_ID

The idea of an educated and well trained rank-and-file enlisted rank is a comparatively new thing. Even for the United States, which didn't really start to fully implement it until after Vietnam.


I presume you didn't intend to insult those Gentlemen who formed the Life Guards in 1660. Note that those Gentlemen formed all ranks. Coldstream Guards, formed ten years earlier. Not to mention various equivalents in the other European countries. Let's not forget Japan etc either.

And since you reference Vietnam, which was supposedly a "police action" are you suggesting that US forces there arrested those opposing them?

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@joyR

And since you reference Vietnam, which was supposedly a "police action" are you suggesting that US forces there arrested those opposing them?


Divergent topics, pre vs post Vietnam War for the U.S. Military is more reference to the transition from a "drafted & dregs" force (that was mostly there due to lack of any other choice + being compelled) to a Volunteer, Educated, and more professional force. (Who may still be there due to lack of options, but are now there seeking them, rather because it was the only one left)

Yes, others served as Enlisted with pride, even multiple generations did so, and those types have been around all along as well. But "the dregs of society" aspect of the Military Enlisted ranks is something that was also there as well. It still is a significant "image problem" for modern day Enlisted to have to contend with even now. Because that was a long standing practice going back into very deep history.

Not_a_ID

@joyR

So yes, using soldiers to 'police' civilians is a bad idea, they typically receive no training in 'policing'. There is a noticeable difference between "Ready - Aim - Fire" and "Question - Take statements - Arrest".


"Question, take statements, arrest." Odd that, pretty sure it's also a fairly recent practice comparatively speaking. Historically their role was more theater in nature than investigatory.

They were there to present "a presence" which promised swift apprehension in the event aid is called for. They weren't there to investigate, their job was to apprehend. And if you attempted to flee, well, that's evidence enough you were up to no good.

Replies:   joyR
joyR
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


Historically their role was more theater in nature than investigatory.


So having besmirched the military, you've moved on to the police... SMH

The "Keystone Cops" was NOT a documentary.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@joyR

So having besmirched the military, you've moved on to the police... SMH

The "Keystone Cops" was NOT a documentary.


I can check with my sister's co-workers in a few days, and as an 8 year enlisted military veteran(as is that same sister). I think I have some awareness of the military history and traditions. As well as their origins as it happened to be something that interested me. So uh, next attempt?

Just because history is inconvenient doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Law Enforcement circa 1700 AD(And really, up through the 19th and even 20th Century in some places) consisted largely of being present. Basically performing the role of present day security guards, only employed by "the government" rather than being on retainer beholden to a particular person or business.

"Investigation" such as it was, was virtually non-existent, until the rise of the forensic sciences in the 19th Century.

The Keystone Cops aren't historical, but the original Sherlock Holmes stories, while fictional(and likewise filled with issues), are illustrative of this. If there weren't any witnesses, "the investigation" was basically over.

Also to be clear, when I am speaking of "theater" in this case, I am using "industry jargon" to reference "security theater" (Google it if you have never noticed it before), not the Keystone Cops.

Kris Me

@awnlee jawking

I believe the expression is 'Built like a brick shithouse'. Not very flattering when referring to a woman unless she is built like a wrestler on steroids. Mostly aimed at blokes and particularly those who look like bodybuilders.

I believe a 'Peeler' is an antiquated term for a Bobby in the UK.

In Oz, it's what we use to take the skin on our potatoes and carrots? *grin*

Peepers, however, were always eyes.

Dominions Son

@Kris Me

In Oz, it's what we use to take the skin on our potatoes and carrots? *grin*


That's interesting, in the US, we use a peeler to take the skin off our potatoes and carrots. :)

Replies:   AmigaClone  Remus2
AmigaClone

@Dominions Son

in the US, we use a peeler to take the skin off


Note that both the tool used to remove the skin potatoes and carrots (among other things) and the person who removes those skins can be called peelers...

Remus2

@Dominions Son



I believe the British use peeler in the same context. I'd be more curious to know what their slang name for it is, if not called a peeler.

awnlee jawking

@Kris Me

Peepers, however, were always eyes.


Although rarely used, peepers can also mean eyes in the UK. But, more commonly called 'Peeping Toms', they're also a reason to draw the curtains when undressing or making whoopee, unless you're exhibitionists.

AJ

Tw0Cr0ws
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Americans only started using the word after their belated entries into World Wars.


Only belated because we are peaceful people unlike those warmongering Europeans who get in over their heads and then cry to us for help.

(Now to pull on my Nomex suit ;) )

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Tw0Cr0ws

Only belated because we are peaceful people unlike those warmongering Europeans who get in over their heads and then cry to us for help.


In all probability, we're going to be crying for help again all too soon.

(Dang, did I just get sucked into politics again?)

AJ

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@awnlee jawking

In all probability, we're going to be crying for help again all too soon.

(Dang, did I just get sucked into politics again?)


Assuming Japan doesn't unleash the Robot AI Apocalypse upon us all first. Somebody/something has to take care of the aging and declining population.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl  Tw0Cr0ws
StarFleet Carl

@Not_a_ID

the aging and declining population.


I feel like I'm starting to resemble this remark.

Tw0Cr0ws

@Not_a_ID

unleash the Robot AI Apocalypse upon us all Somebody/something has to take care of the aging and declining population.


Terminators will do that.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Tw0Cr0ws

Terminators will do that.


True enough, the dead don't age, they decay. They also don't need to worry about declining health.

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