Fairbanks, Alaska
2885 Arvilla Dr
Fairbanks, AK 99709
(907) 452-1480

The History of the Porta-Potty August 29, 2019

Fairbanks, Fairbanks North Star
The History of the Porta-Potty, Fairbanks, Alaska

It has become so commonplace to see portable toilets that people usually take them for granted. Unless they’re all occupied or absent from an outdoor event, we use them without really appreciating the convenience of them. However, they have a surprisingly long history, explored below.

What Are They?

A portable toilet is a convenient way of offering bathroom facilities at outdoor festivals, job work sites, and at public parks. Typically, a porta-potty rental contains a toilet; some models include a small sink and paper towel dispenser.

Why Were They Invented? 

The earliest use of portable toilets was in the 1940s on the docks where workers were building new ships for use in World War II. Each time a worker had to use the bathroom, the walk to the nearest restroom and the return walk wasted valuable time. To resolve this problem, the managers of the shipyards had temporary bathrooms constructed and set on board the ships. These early models were built out of wood and equipped with small holding tanks.

Portable ToiletsBy the 1950s, the idea had caught on rather quickly and portable toilets began showing up on construction sites and at public events. These structures were made out of wood and metal, which made them difficult to move but having them available on-site made up for the difficulty of transporting them. 

In the 70s, wood and metal gave way to fiberglass, which made these units lighter and more mobile. In the 80s, even the fiberglass was proven too heavy and was replaced with plastic.

How Else Have They Evolved?

Today, plastic toilets are much more advanced. In addition to being lightweight, they’re equipped with flushing systems and are stocked with deodorizing chemicals. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also ensures that handicap-accessible units are now available wherever porta-potties are rented or sold.


Whether you’re organizing an event, managing a job site, or need an extra toilet while your home bathroom is going through remodel, turn to Horizon Services. Serving Fairbanks, AK, and the surrounding areas, these professionals offer portable toilet rentals, as well as portable sinks and septic services. To learn more about the work they do, browse their website. To make arrangements, call (907) 452-1480.

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