Tag Archives: sanitation history

Contaminated water may have killed 3 U.S. Presidents

How the White House might have killed these three presidents in the 1840s | Source: The Raw Story, April 28 2016 |

President William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in history, speaking outside in a cold Washington, D.C. snowstorm for an hour and 45 minutes. He died not long after from what people say was pneumonia brought on by the cold he caught while giving the address.


Presidents Harrison, Taylor and Polk (Photo: Wikipedia)

Now some researchers at the National Institute of Health say that Harrison may not have died from pneumonia after all. In fact, Harrison along with Presidents James Polk and Zachary Taylor all may have died unexpectedly from typhoid in the 1840s due to contaminated water in the White House.

Both Harrison and Taylor died in office and Polk died not long after leaving office. According to the research, Harrison’s own doctor disputed the pneumonia diagnosis in his well-documented medical journals Business News Insider outlined in a video.

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Despite Sanitation Tech, Parasites Spread During Roman Empire

Despite Sanitation Tech, Parasites Spread During Roman EmpireR&D Magazine, Jan 8 2016.

As the Roman Empire spread its tendrils across the surrounding geographic landscape, it disseminated ideas regarding literature, engineering, culture, cuisine, religion, and even hygiene. In fact, the Romans are credited with introducing sanitation technology to Europe roughly 2,000 years ago.


This is a photograph of Roman latrines from Lepcis Magna in Libya. Source: Craig Taylor

But Romanization can also be defined by its spread of parasites.

New research from Univ. of Cambridge’s Piers Mitchell, a member of the Archaeology and Anthropology Dept., has revealed that despite the Roman’s penchant for cleanliness, intestinal parasites and dysentery persisted and even increased following the Iron Age.

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Sanitation promotion history: US New Deal posters

Posted created in 1940 by John Buczak for the US Federal Art Project. Collection Library of Congress

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the US Government launched a series of economic programmes collectively known as the New Deal. The largest  of these programmes, run by WPA, the Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration), employed millions of unemployed people to carry out public works projects. Most famous was the WPA Federal Art Project (FAP) that employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

The FAP created over 200,000 separate works including 2,000 posters. Shown  here are several posters promoting sanitation and hygiene from the WPA poster collection of the Library of Congress.

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Disney’s 1940s sanitation and hygiene promotion films

Still from Disney short film “Cleanliness Brings Health”

In the 1940s, the Walt Disney Studios produced a series of educational films on sanitation and hygiene promotion for developing countries. The films, in the Health for the Americas series, were aimed at Latin America. They were commissioned by the now defunct Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), which was later renamed Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA).

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New toilet museum opens in Wiesbaden, Germany

Photo: Harlekin Klooseum, Wiesbaden

“Harlekin’s Klooseum – Museum of Modern Arsch” opened it doors on 3 April 2011 in the German city of Wiesbaden. The focus of the exhibition is the cultural history of the toilet and the human body.

The Klooseum (“Looseum”) is the brainchild of collector Michael Berger (69) who explained “this is my present to humanity. I am mad, but I love loos.”

Lots of Neo-Dada toilet humour. “Esst mehr Scheiße – Millionen Fliegen können nicht irren”.

Entry: € 4,99, recommended for children of 10 years and older
Open: every Sunday from 03 April 2011 from 11:11 – 17:17 until 28 August 2011
Address: Wandersmannstrasse 2b, D-65205 Wiesbaden, Germany

See photogallery on T-online

Web site (in German): www.klooseum.de

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CDC – History and Health Benefits of Handwashing

Upcoming Exhibition at CDC’s Global Health Odyssey Museum Features Multi-Media Art of Handwashing

ATLANTA, Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A gift from Georgia-Pacific Professional will help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlight the health benefits of proper handwashing through a multi-media art exhibition called Watching Hands: Artists Respond to Keeping Well. The exhibition is scheduled to open in September 2011 at the Global Health Odyssey Museum on the campus of CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta.

The Watching Hands exhibit is supported through a contribution to the CDC Foundation and will showcase the importance of effective hand hygiene practices through various creative media including vinyl installation, graphic design, video projection, drawing, painting and sculpture. Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings—from homes and workplaces to child care facilities and hospitals.

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New Google tool sheds light on cultural history of sanitation

Sanitation has long been considered a taboo topic, but was this always the case and can we see cultural trends in interest for this topic? A new “culturomics” tool developed by Google reveals that first decades of the 20th century may have been the “golden age” of sanitation.

A team from Harvard University has teamed up with Google to crack the spines of 5,195,769 digitized books that span five centuries of the printed word with the hopes of giving the humanities a more quantitative research tool.

The Google Books Ngram Viewer, launched online December 16 and described in a paper in Science [1], allows Web users to query their respective areas of interest based on n-grams (a method of modeling sequences in natural language).

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