History of the Outhouse

Presentation title: The History and Evolution of the Outhouse

How much do you know about outhouses?

  1. Why do outhouses often have a moon on the door?
  2. Should the door on the outhouse swing in or out?
  3. Why did sophisticated farm wives say they were going to visit Mrs. Perkins when they needed to go to the outhouse?
  4. What is a “proper” two-hole outhouse?

The answer to these questions (and many more) are covered in this presentation.

This presentation can be an entertaining, humorous after-dinner speech or it can be an engaging presentation with a message. The presentation consists of a series of questions which are answered with slides of outhouses from across the country and around the world. Depending on the size of the audience, electronic responders may be used to fully engage the audience in the presentation.

This speech was presented at the Chautauqua Institution (New York) in 2011. It was so popular that a repeat presentation was made in 2015. See what The Chautauquan Daily had to say about this presentation in 2011 and in 2015 – page 3 in both issues.

Because of the popularity of this presentation, I have developed two companion presentation “Outhouses, Privies, and Toilets of the World” and “The History of Toilet Paper and SUCH!”.

In addition to being entertaining the main points of the presentation are:

  1. While it is nice to walk down memory lane, we no longer live in an outhouse era (and really wouldn’t want to return to that era.). Our organization or profession must look to the future, not the past.
  2. Your “outhouse literacy” has been enhanced with this presentation. Most American’s lack “agricultural literacy” and we need to do everything we can to educate them about the importance of agriculture; just as you have been educated about outhouses.
  3. We had fun learning about outhouses. There is no law that says education or life has to be gloomy and solemn. We need to add some fun and humor to everything we do.