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Who Came Up with the Idea of the Portable Toilet?

Discover the Genius Behind the Portable Toilet and How It Revolutionized Outdoor Events

Portable Toilet

The Invention of Porta Potty: A Brief History

The humble porta potty may seem like a modern invention, but the concept of portable toilets can actually be traced back to ancient Rome. Of course, the communal toilets of ancient times were quite different from the modern porta potty, but they laid the foundation for this important invention.

Portable Toilets in Ancient Times

Back in ancient Rome, communal toilets were set up in public spaces for people to do their business. These toilets were open-air structures with bench seating and holes for waste to fall into a pit below. They were a communal space, used by all members of the community, and were an important part of everyday life.

While the ancient communal toilets of Rome were different from the modern porta potty, they share the same principle of providing a clean and convenient place for people to relieve themselves outside of their home or other designated area.

The Emergence of Modern Portable Toilets

Fast forward to the 1940s, and the United States government was developing the first modern portable toilet for troops during World War II. This toilet was called the "jerry chair" and was a simple metal structure with a seat and a hole. It allowed soldiers to do their business while out in the field without having to dig a hole or use a communal toilet.

After the war ended, the concept of the portable toilet evolved and companies began to manufacture them in larger numbers for a variety of uses. They were used at construction sites, outdoor events, and anywhere else where people needed a place to go. They became a valuable asset for construction workers who needed to be on site for extended periods of time.

Porta Potty Patent

In 1962, the first modern porta potty was patented by George Harding, who founded the company PolyJohn. The porta potty was an immediate success and quickly became an essential item for outdoor events, construction sites, and any other situation where access to clean and convenient restrooms was essential.

The basic design of the porta potty hasn't changed much since its invention. It is still a simple structure with a toilet, a holding tank, and a door that can be locked for privacy. However, modern porta potties now come equipped with a variety of amenities, such as hand sanitizer dispensers, sinks, and even air conditioning in some cases.

Today, the porta potty is an essential part of modern life, and it's hard to imagine a world without them. They provide a clean, convenient, and portable solution for people who need to use the restroom while away from home or other designated facilities.

In conclusion, while the concept of portable toilets has been around for centuries, it was the invention of the modern porta potty that truly revolutionized the industry. With its portability, convenience, and relative ease of use, the porta potty has become an essential part of modern life.

Who knew keys had such an interesting history? Learn more here.

Discovering the Genius Behind the Invention of Porta Potty

Imagine being in the middle of nowhere with no access to a bathroom. This scenario was common before porta potties were introduced. A portable toilet eliminates the need for permanent plumbing, making it possible to have a bathroom in areas with no running water or electricity. As simple as it may seem, porta potties play a significant role in outdoor events and construction sites. These portable units have come a long way since their invention in the 1960s and have revolutionized the way we think about sanitation and convenience.

How Porta Potties Revolutionized the Event and Construction Industries

Porta Potties for Outdoor Events

Before porta potties, most outdoor events did not have easy access to a bathroom. Attendees had to rely on businesses and public restrooms that were not equipped to handle large crowds. This inconvenience led to long lines and unsanitary conditions. However, with the invention of porta potties, outdoor events like music festivals, fairs, and sporting events became more accessible and convenient for attendees. Now, people do not have to worry about long lines or missing any part of the event because of bathroom breaks.

Porta Potties for Construction Sites

Construction sites can be in remote areas with no access to permanent plumbing. Before porta potties, workers had to rely on makeshift solutions like digging a hole in the ground or using public restrooms found miles away. These makeshift solutions were not only unsanitary but also wasted valuable time. With the invention of porta potties, construction workers now have a sanitary and convenient place to use the bathroom on the job site. This improvement in sanitation and convenience has increased worker satisfaction and productivity — two critical elements in the success of any project.

The Future of Portable Toilets

The idea of a portable bathroom was revolutionary in the 1960s, but technology has come a long way since then. Portable toilets now come equipped with features that make them more like traditional restrooms. For instance, some units come with running water, flushing toilets, and air conditioning. Additionally, some manufacturers are exploring ways to make the portable toilet environmentally friendly by using solar panels to power the unit. These advancements have made porta potties more efficient and appealing to users.


The advent of porta potties has revolutionized the way we think about sanitation and convenience. These portable units have eliminated the need for permanent plumbing, making them accessible in areas with no running water or electricity. Outdoor events and construction sites are two industries that have significantly benefited from this invention. With advancements in technology, we can expect porta potties to continue improving and being a crucial element in outdoor events and construction sites.

Porta Potty Industry Today

The porta potty industry has come a long way since the first portable toilet was invented. Today, porta potties can be seen in various public places such as construction sites, outdoor events, and emergency situations. In this section, we will explore the leading manufacturers, the environmental impact of porta potties, and the recent COVID-19 impact on porta potty usage.

Leading Manufacturers

The top manufacturers of porta potties are PolyJohn, Satellite Industries, and JAG Mobile Solutions. These companies provide a wide range of portable toilets that cater to different needs such as basic models for construction sites, luxury models for events, and innovative designs that promote environmental sustainability.

PolyJohn offers the widest range of porta potties in the industry, with over 40 models that come in different sizes and functionalities. One of their popular products is the PJN3, a standard unit made from lightweight plastic that is perfect for high traffic areas.

Satellite Industries has been in the porta potty business for over 60 years. They are known for their durable and reliable products such as the Tufway, a tough unit made from high-density polyethylene that can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy usage.

JAG Mobile Solutions is a newer player in the industry, but they have quickly gained recognition for their innovative and eco-friendly designs. One of their notable products is the EcoLoo, a self-contained unit that uses natural biological processes to break down waste and convert it into compost.

Environmental Impact

The disposal of waste from porta potties can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled properly. The waste from portable toilets contains harmful bacteria and chemicals that can contaminate soil and water sources. It is crucial to dispose of the waste in a responsible manner that meets environmental regulations.

The leading porta potty manufacturers have implemented various measures to reduce the environmental impact of their products. For instance, many companies use eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic and biodegradable chemicals in their units. Some units also come with additional features such as solar-powered lighting and water-saving mechanisms that promote sustainability.

COVID-19 Impact on Porta Potty Usage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges in public sanitation, making porta potties more essential than ever. With the need for outdoor dining, testing sites, and vaccination centers, porta potties have become a crucial part of maintaining public health and safety.

The leading porta potty manufacturers have adapted their products to meet the new demands brought about by the pandemic. Many units now come with additional features such as hand sanitizer dispensers and touchless technology to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Some companies have also developed new products such as isolation units that allow individuals to use the toilet safely without risking exposure to the virus.

In conclusion, the porta potty industry has grown significantly over the years, with leading manufacturers providing a wide range of units that cater to different needs. It is crucial to dispose of the waste in an environmentally responsible manner that meets regulations, and the leading manufacturers have implemented various measures to promote sustainability. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of porta potties in maintaining public sanitation, and the leading manufacturers have adapted their products to meet the new demands brought about by the pandemic.

Read about more interesting inventions that have changed history!

Who Invented the Porta Potty?

The porta potty, also known as the portable toilet or porta-john, has become a common sight at outdoor events, construction sites, and other temporary locations. But who came up with the idea for this iconic invention?

The Inventor of the Modern Porta Potty

The modern porta potty was invented by a man named George Harding in the 1940s. Harding was a shipbuilder who needed a temporary solution for his workers who were building ships for the U.S. Navy. He created a simple wooden structure with a seat and a small tank below to collect waste. The design was a success, and Harding founded the company called Port-O-Let to manufacture and distribute his invention.

Predecessors to the Porta Potty

While Harding is credited with inventing the modern porta potty, there were predecessors to his invention. During World War II, the military used a similar type of portable toilet called a "jungle toilet" that was made from metal and wood. Before that, in the 1920s, the first version of the porta potty was created by Charles "Bud" Walton, the founder of Walmart. His version was made of sheet metal and was used by his employees who were building the company's first stores.

Evolution of the Porta Potty

Since its invention, the porta potty has gone through several changes and improvements. In the 1950s, the first plastic porta potties were developed, making them lighter and more mobile. Nowadays, porta potties come with amenities such as hand sanitizer, lights, and ventilation. Some even have wheelchair-accessible features.

Fun Facts About Porta Potties

Porta potties have become an essential part of modern life. Here are some fun facts and trivia about these ubiquitous structures:

Top Events for Porta Potty Rentals

According to United Site Services, the top events for porta potty rentals are music festivals, marathons, and backyard parties.

The Most Expensive Porta Potty

The company LuxuryLav created a porta potty that costs $100,000 and includes features such as a flat-screen TV, marble countertops, and a sound system.

Creative Uses of Porta Potties

Porta potties have been repurposed as art installations, bookstores, and even a coffee shop.

International Variations

Porta potties are known by different names around the world. In the UK, they are called "portable loos," while in Australia, they are known as "porta-loos." In Japan, they have a unique design that includes a built-in sink and flush system.

Porta Potty Racing

In 2009, the first porta potty race took place in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Participants race modified porta potties down a track, powered by a person pushing from behind, similar to soapbox racing.

The World's Largest Porta Potty

The world's largest porta potty measures 30 feet tall and was manufactured by the company PolyJohn. It can accommodate up to 1,000 people at once and includes 78 stalls and 36 urinals.


The porta potty may be a humble invention, but it has had a significant impact on the way people use and experience public spaces. From its origins in shipyards to its presence at music festivals and sporting events, the porta potty has become a ubiquitous symbol of temporary relief and convenience.

The Bottom Line: Who Invented the Porta Potty?

The porta potty, an essential element in outdoor events and construction sites, has become an invention that revolutionized the way we access restroom facilities. It provides an easier alternative to traditional restroom facilities, thus improving hygiene and convenience.

A Revolutionary Invention

Portable toilets were invented in the 1940s, and their popularity grew in the later years. The portable toilet's versatility meant it could be used in various outdoor events, including concerts and festivals. The design was further developed in the 1960s, leading to the creation of the Porta Potty.

George Harding's Contribution

George Harding is credited with the patenting of the first Porta Potty in 1962. As a plumber and businessman, Harding saw the need for a more convenient and sanitary solution for outdoor events and construction sites. The Porta Potty design featured a self-contained tank that collects waste, reducing the need for plumbing connections.

The Porta Potty design became an instant success and is still used today, with over 2 million units being sold worldwide.

The Porta Potty's Development

Since the Porta Potty's creation, there have been several updates to its design and functionality. Improvements include better ventilation, hand sanitizer dispensers, and a spacious interior. The design's versatility makes it suitable for various outdoor events, including construction sites, concerts, and festivals.

One of the significant advances in the Porta Potty's design is the inclusion of flushable toilets. This upgrade means the Porta Potty is no longer limited to events where extended use is impossible. Flushable Porta Potties feature a tank with a gravity-powered flushing system activated by a foot pedal.

The Popularity of the Porta Potty

The invention of the Porta Potty has elevated the comfort levels of outdoor events and has helped improve health and safety standards on construction sites. The portable toilet has made a significant impact on various industries, including the entertainment and construction industries.

The use of the Porta Potty has become a standard feature in various outdoor events worldwide. From concerts to festivals, outdoor events are now providing a more comfortable and convenient restroom solution for attendees. The Porta Potty's popularity is set for growth as more events adopt the use of portable toilets.


George Harding's invention of the Porta Potty has proved to be revolutionary in the way we access convenience and sanitation in outdoor events. The portable toilet has become ubiquitous in the events industry and has ensured the provision of hygienic facilities at construction sites. The porta potty's versatility and continuous upgrades mean it will be a permanent feature in outdoor events worldwide.

Did the same guy who invented the porta potty also invent the first tractor?

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