Welcome to Earth, the story so far…
Laborers building ships in Long Beach, CA are going to the dock each time they use a toilet.
A ship builder recognizes the great cost for workers to go so far to use the toilet and asks the company which is emptying the holding tanks of the permanent dock toilets if they will make a toilet which could be temporarily put on the ship.
A wooden cabana is developed with a small holding tank. This becomes the first portable toilet. It is heavy to transport, absorb odors and is difficult to keep sanitary.
This unique concept spreads to the construction industry and to organizers of large crowd events.
Portable toilets made of fiberglass are introduced. They are lighter than wood and easier to transport. Still, problems persist. The fiberglass toilets require more maintenance due to the brittle nature of the material. In addition, fiberglass absorbs odors in the cabana and holding tank, thus proving to be a poor choice of material.
JW Enterprises develops the first polyethylene plastic portable restroom and a patent is issued to Harvey Heather for his ‘Strong Box’ - a solid, molded, stand alone chemical toilet. Polyethylene makes portable toilets lightweight and more durable. Polyethylene is easier to clean, since it is a non-porous and non-absorbing material. It is the most popular material for portable toilets today.
The second US patent for a polyethylene plastic portable restroom is issued to George Harding, co-founder of PolyJohn Enterprises Corporation.
The success of the clean and portable toilet is almost unparalleled. The advantage of being self-contained, having no moving parts, requiring no power source and the use of attractive non-porous plastic with smooth surfaces, has made the portable toilet superior to many permanent facilities.