As a matter of routine, people cringe when they consider poop, when they must turn their attention to human feces. Fortunately, focusing on excrement is not something we must do with a matter of routine. We tend to “do our business” without notable thought. There are occasions in which a calamity occurs and the need for feces cleanup occurs, as is the case when a sewage breakdown occurs in a home or at a business.

Understanding the generally icky nature of human feces, there are some interesting historical tidbits associated with poop. We spend a moment taking a peek at some of these. Perhaps we create for you something that you can take a gander at the next time you find yourself in the commode.

The Madness of King George

Folks in the United States probably know King George III as the British monarch from whom we broke away to gain our independence. What many people on this “side of the pond” do not realize is that King George III was one of the longest serving British monarchs, had 18 children, was quite popular throughout Britain and much of the British Empire (except the 13 American colonies), and was taken ill a good part of his latter life.

The King’s physician was convinced that the problems associated with His Majesty’s health could be divined by considering the King’s feces and urine. Admittedly, for a period of time, the King’s urine was … blue. (Medical experts today have fairly consistently concluded that the King’s urine turned blue because of certain medicines the King was given and not because of an illness.)

The 18th Century Commode and the Origins of the Word Stool

It was during the reign of King George III that the first real commode came into being. In basic terms, a commode is something of a portable toilet, not connected to any piping nor permanently attached to anything. The King’s commode was placed in his bed-chamber, the thought being the leader of the British Empire should not have to venture far should he need to relieve himself in the night.

The King’s commode itself was quite the decorative affair. It was made of sturdy wood and covered in the finest Russian leather. The commode included the royal cipher on the lid and a decorative “GR” on the front panel – which stands for George Rex (King George in Latin).

The slang term for the commode eventually became “stool,” because of its design. Ultimately, stool also became slang for feces.

Ancient Egyptians and Poop

A recounting of the history of poop would be incomplete without visiting the lives of Ancient Egyptians. When considering the use of feces for medical purposes, Ancient Egyptians fairly can be said to be ahead of the proverbial pack. 

The History Channel references poop – human and animal – as a “favorite” of Egyptian healers in antiquity. Egyptian doctors utilized gazelle, dog, and donkey feces in their efforts to heal their patients of different maladies. Centuries ago, there was a belief that these types of feces were capable of warding off “bad spirits.” Modern scientists have learned that there is what is known as microflora found in feces of these types that are antibiotic substances. As a consequence, it seems likely that these types of feces were effective in resolving tetanus and some other types of infections among Ancient Egyptians.

Poops, Shamrocks, and the Emerald Isle

Feces have played a role in medical practices in Ireland as well, beginning some centuries after its use in Ancient Egypt. Irishman Robert Boyle is credited as being the “father of chemistry.” A fact many people may now know about the man regarded as the first modern-day chemist is that he did rely on feces to treat some maladies.

Boyle used human feces as a treatment for people with cataracts. Boyle dried feces, ground the substance into a powder, and blew the substance into the eyes of people afflicted with cataracts.

Irish doctors used feces for other purposes as well in centuries gone by. For example, doctors used pulverized infant feces as a treatment for epilepsy.

Dangers of Human Feces

We all might have found this walk through history and the use of feces as a medical tool entertaining on some level, we must never lose sight of the fact that human feces can present health risks. Human feces can contain hazardous and even life-threatening pathogens capable of causing diseases that include:

  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Yersinia
  • Campylobacter
  • Candida
  • E. coli

If you are like many people and encounter a situation in which your home or business is contaminated in a more extensive way with human feces, you need to give serious consideration to retaining the services of professional feces cleanup and sewage remediation professional. Professional assistance is called for when an issue with feces contamination arises because of:

  • Sewage system breakdown or malfunction
  • Storm-related flooding
  • Hoarding
  • Rental property left in disarray by tenant
  • Fecal incontinence