The Journal of Philadelphia Waterfront Heritage & Archaeology

Current Issue: Volume 1 2016

Necessary Accoutrements

By Meta F. Janowitz

Chamber pots were used indoors when people couldn't or wouldn't make it outdoors to the privy, especially at night or in bad weather. Chamber pots—nicknamed thunder mugs, pisspots, looking glasses, or guzunders (because they went under the bed)—could be plain or fancy, but many were made of simple red earthenware, such as the one shown in Figure 1. They survive today as plastic potties used to toilet train toddlers.