Column | Jun 16, 2013
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Story | Jul 12, 2013 | 1:05 AMA small table next to the bed is necessary today to hold a lamp, cellphone, clock and perhaps a book, eyeglasses and tissues. But in past centuries the table might have held a candlestick with a handle to carry to the bedroom for light. It also had to store items that acted as the toilets of the day. The potty, a large round but squat bowl, served as the toilet seat. A large, tall bowl with a cover was used to hold waste until morning. Covered sections of the table held and hid everything, so the bedside "table" really was a commode. But only the wealthy and royalty had such luxurious equipment. Most people had an outhouse near the back of the yard. The flush toilet is older than most people think. Leonardo da Vinci designed a flush toilet, but it was never made and people thought the idea was as ridiculous as another one of his ideas, the airplane. The first flushing toilet was made by Sir John Harrington for the Queen of England in 1596. It was improved in 1775 by Alexander Cummings, and soon the "water closet" made of porcelain was installed in homes in a special room. Although they're no longer needed, antique commodes still sell well and are used as bedside tables with storage for books. They can be found in many styles. The drawer-table combination is useful and copies ignore original use.
Story | Jun 13, 2013 | 4:32 PM
This revised posting is featured in my Sunday print column “The murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner,” said Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Maureen O'Brien, speaking earlier this week to reporters about the...
Story | Jun 12, 2013 | 5:14 PM
Story | Jun 11, 2013 | 7:11 PM