Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Plumbing Museum

I have just spent two days without a WiFi signal and now I am way behind on my postings.  GRR!  
I know this is a posting you, my dear readers, have been waiting for with eager anticipation...

It is a place I  purposely sought out in Watertown, Ma, just outside Boston.  I can't remember where I first heard about it but it was on my list of 'Must See Museums'...

Tah Dah!!  I give you--The Plumbing Museum

It is located in what was, during the 1800s, an ice house.
In the 1950s Charles Manoog began collecting antique commodes, claw-foot tubs, ornate sinks and other plumbing items.  In 1979, his son Russell established the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum.  
Since that time the Plumbing Museum has attracted plumbers, engineers, inventors--and a few inquisitive retired travelers like myself.

Sasha was my very enthusiastic guide; she also manages the museum.

Ah yes, the wringer.  And isn't that double sink attractive?

This piece had me stumped. I could not make out what that second compartment with the motor at the bottom was for...

It was an automatic dishwasher dated from 1928 called the Kohler Electric Sink.

This was called "The Drape", it was made from hand blown glass.  It was exquisite.

The Hat Tub
I could not figure this one out.    I think you perch on the side but that looks rather risky.

The Hip Bath was used for therapeutic purposes.  But how does one sit in it?

Finally, The Antique Clawfoot Bathtub...

...with wood trim,  dating from 1891.  This one I knew how to use.

There were plumbing parts...

 ...and  plumbing tools

The Earth Closet
The Invention of the Earth Closet in the 1860s is widely attributed to Reverend Henry Moule, whose creativity stemmed from efforts to provide a sanitary option to keep his parishioners healthy.

This was an effort to get rid of the chamber pot and the outhouse.  It was a composting toilet and the compost was added to the garden.  I suspect that wasn't too healthy after all.

Marcel Duchamp Replica
Artist's mural and replica urinal display paying tribute to the "Toilet Art" of Marcel Duchamp.
(The original Urinal art piece really (!) was auctioned for $1.2 Million.)

Prison Toilet from 1996 to the Present
That is all one unit.  Water from the sink is used to flush the toilet.

A very early hand painted sink.

The seat lifted up and the chamber pot went into the compartment below the seat.  I remember one of these in my great Aunt Evelyn's house.

Finally there was this gem.   

It came with a remote control that lifted the lid, and also the seat if necessary, heated the seat, played opera music, flushed, provided a bidet...

...and turned on lights that changed from red to purple to blue to white.    The only thing missing was the applause.

(The items in italics are from the Plumbing Museum website.)


  1. :-D :-D This is one I've not heard about.We'll have to visit it! We've been to some pretty unusual museums but the Plumbing Museum may top them all!

  2. Yes, I thought it was worth the search. Still on my list is the "Spam Museum" in Mn and the "Bad Art Museum" outside of Boston. I'm saving them for another trip.

    1. We've been to the Spam Museum but not the Bad Art Museum. How about the Velveteria in Los Angles? We went there but it was so long ago I can't even find the photos that I took.

    2. The Velveteria is now added to my bucket list. It sounds too good to miss.

  3. OH MY....simply wonderful stuff. Thank you. I see I will have to Google "small Museums" so I too can find these gems. Thank you.

  4. Glad you "eliminated" this one from your list of must-sees. : )