January 2, 2018 / GO Brooklyn / Prospect Heights / Health, Mind & Body

Behind the throne: Expert overflows with toilet knowledge

Potty time: Kimberly Worsham will lead “The Long and Fascinating History of Toilets,” a seminar on the history of the throne, at the Brooklyn Brainery on Jan. 4. The class is already over-stuffed, but those on its wait list who can hold their excitement can look forward to another talk coming soon, she said.
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She’s got a potty mouth!

Learn all about the toilet during teacher Kimberly Worsham’s already-stuffed class “The Long and Fascinating History of Toilets,” at the Brooklyn Brainery on Jan. 4 — if you can get off the wait list. If not, try to hold in your excitement until she has another toilet talk at the Prospect Heights community classroom — probably coming in February.

Bathroom humor may be banned from the table at dinner time, but it is welcome in Worsham’s classroom, she said.

“As a society we’re not allowed to talk about toilets very openly, I try to make it fun,” said Worsham, who lives on the distant aisle of Manhattan. “It’s not about you and your toilet, it’s about the history.”

Worsham, who fell in love with the throne as a child and ultimately made it the focus of her career in water and sanitation development, will unpack the history of the loo from the beginning of civilization, but no one really knows when that was, she said.

“People think the Romans invented the sanitation but they did not — it started far before them. It started probably about 5,000 years ago or more,” said Worsham. “People don’t actually know where the first toilet was.”

And one of the biggest potty fallacies is that 19th century Englishman Thomas Crapper invented the so-called crapper. He did influence it, as a successful marketer, but that is about it, she said.

“He did a few little tweaks but nothing very substantial,” said Worsham.

Another cringe-worthy toilet tidbit is the origin of toilet paper, which dates back to the Romans, she said.

“They’d use them like public baths — just sit on toilets and socialize while sharing these things, sticks with sponges on them, and wipe their butts with it and clean them with water and share with friends,” said Worsham. “Good old Romans.”

Fast-forward thousands of years to this very borough and you’ve got one of the best and cleanest infrastructure systems in the world, said Worsham.

“One of the first comprehensive sewer systems was in Brooklyn,” she said.

Worsham will also share some important tips before you take a squat, like what should and shouldn’t go into a toilet, and the importance of avoiding bacteria-filled baby poo.

“Don’t flush wet wipes. Please for the love of god, don’t flush wet wipes!” said Worsham. “If you have a child, please wash your hands and know their poo is the most lethal poo in the world.”

“The Long and Fascinating History of Toilets” at Brooklyn Brainery [190 Underhill Ave. between Sterling and St. Johns places in Prospect Heights, (347) 292–7246,]. Jan. 4, wait list only. 6:30 pm. $10.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:51 pm, July 9, 2018
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