5.Personal Hygiene In The 18th Century Was Abysmal
Imagine living in a society where people routinely fart in public, blow their noses into their hands, spit indoors, and relieve themselves in front of company. Sound like something from an OCD nightmare? It's exactly what you'd experience if you took your first time-traveling vacation in 18th-century England.
For most people, hygiene was nothing more than a fancy word they couldn't spell. The average man on the street had breath that could strip paint, and social niceties were unheard of. It was far from uncommon to eat a meal with your hands, wipe those hands down your shirt, and then fart loudly before spitting a wodge of mucus onto the floor. But what if you limited your journey to the homes of the upper classes? Sorry, but they were no better. While conversing after dinner, men would often pull out a chamber pot and relieve themselves in front of guests.Even if you spent your entire vacation avoiding other humans at all costs, you'd still encounter their disgusting by-products. Human waste was so prevalent that any food, water, or milk you could get hold of was probably contaminated in the grossest way possible.
4.Ancient Mesopotamia Was Crawling With Pests
Like Pompeii and medieval London, ancient Mesopotamia had little in the way of waste disposal and sanitation. The inevitable result was pests on an enormous scale. Unlike in London or Pompeii, we know that feral animals were actually encouraged by the Mesopotamians. It turned out they had a part to play in society: garbage disposal.
To deal with piles of refuse, cities across Mesopotamia allowed feral dogs and scavenging pigs to run the streets. We don't just mean in the outlying and poor districts. Teeth and bones collected by archaeological expeditions show these animals got absolutely everywhere. Under the Hittites, feral pigs were even encouraged inside the palace of the king.More disgustingly, the widespread nature of garbage also meant every centimeter of your typical Babylonian city was crawling with big fat rats, fleas, and other disease-carrying pests. As a result, infection by plague and a horrible, messy death was an ever-present worry, and this worry was compounded by the presence of nasty, food-borne parasites like trichinellosis.
3.Georgians Stuffed Their Mouths With Dead People's Teeth
In 1815, two of the greatest armies on Earth met for the apocalyptic Battle of Waterloo, a bruising engagement that killed roughly 50,000 men. Aside from stopping Napoleon in his tracks and shaping European history, the battle had a strangely gross effect on one school of medicine: dentistry.
Prior to Waterloo, rotten teeth were one of the most feared ailments in British society. With no such thing as fillings or regular check-ups, bad teeth ruined many people's lives. But when the battle was over, Europe suddenly found itself in possession of thousands of young corpses—each with a mouth stuffed full of healthy teeth. What followed was one of the grossest booms in product history. Pieced together from dead men's jaws, dentures suddenly became widely available on the market. The Georgians went nuts for them. For decades, people willingly wore the smiles of men killed on the battlefield in place of their own. It wasn't until Claudius Ash began manufacturing porcelain teeth in the 1830s that this gruesome trend finally fell out of fashion.
2.Toilet Paper Used To Be Horrifying
As people who probably grew up with indoor flushing toilets and paper marketed as "quilted" or "extra comfort," it can be hard to appreciate how difficult our ancestors had it. Go back less than 100 years and using the bathroom used to be downright unpleasant. One of the most general methods for wiping yourself was to use an old newspaper or catalog. The old Farmer's Almanac even came with a hole so it could be hung up in outhouses. Not that we can blame our grandparents for avoiding toilet paper. Until the 1930s, it was totally possible to buy paper that was full of splinters.
In 1935, Northern Tissue (now Quilted Northern) made a killing advertising its toilet paper with the tagline "Splinter-Free!" The sheer success of the product shows us that even by the time FDR was in the White House, plenty of people were legitimately worried that wiping with the wrong paper would leave them sporting splinters in a very tender place. It's only in the last 80-odd years that companies have finally overcome this painful obstacle.
1935年，Northern Tissue（现在的Quilted Tissue）做了一个暴利厕纸广告，广告标语写着"Splinter-Free!"。该产品的成功表明，即使富兰克林·德兰诺·罗斯福在任期间，白宫里仍有许多人担心用错厕纸会使他们的菊花不舒服。在过去的80多年里，该公司才解决了这个问题。
1.Roman Toilets Were Terrifying
If you're one of the many people who has a thing about peeing in front of others, be glad you didn't live in ancient Rome. Back then, the words "public restroom" were taken very literally. Up to 50 people would sit in a circle doing their business in plain view of one another and, when they were finished, wipe themselves on a communal sponge as dirty and disease-ridden as, well, a shared butt-wiper. Sound like the worst toilet experience you can imagine? We're only just getting started.
Although Roman sewers were advanced for the time, they were woefully inadequate by our standards. With no U-bend to speak of, toilets opened directly into dark drainage channels through which insects and what Discover Magazine calls "biting creatures" frequently emerged. Thanks to the buildup of methane, it was also totally possible for jets of naked flame to suddenly explode out the holes. This made the simple act of going to the toilet like playing the worst version of Russian roulette imaginable. Unsurprisingly, all this nastiness made the average Roman very wary of the toilet. Archaeological excavations have uncovered magic spells scrawled on bathroom walls to ward off demons and images of the goddess Fortuna designed to bring good luck. When your trip to the restroom could result in your ass getting bitten or badly burned, you probably need all the luck you could get.