"Viennese Pavilion Urinal", 1908

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 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
In the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum), visitors have the opportunity to view (but not use!) a public urinal – absolutely unique worldwide in this size. It was built in 1908 and was once located on Sachsenplatz square in Vienna-Brigittenau.

Public urinals had been set up on highly frequented squares and in parks since the 1860s. Here, men could relieve themselves if need be. Towards the end of the 19th century, the urinals were fitted with a new "oil system", a patented invention by Wilhelm Beetz. Beetz was the first to use oil as disinfectant. His innovative "oil urinal" proved most successful. The facilities were relatively odourless and did not require any water. The supporting walls were made from painted iron. This was another hygienic advantage compared to the earlier wood or stone versions.

The Municipality of Vienna awarded the contract for the construction of the urinals to the company Beetz, whose patent was soon successfully used around the world. A company brochure shows the models offered at the time with the caption "A relief facility from iron for men". Apart from the round and rectangular versions, the octagonal pavilion urinal with five centrally arranged urinal stands was the most common in Vienna. In contemporary literature, this type was referred to as the "Viennese Pavilion Urinal".

Already at the turn of the century, some emancipated women criticised that only men were offered this free service. They demanded free public toilets for women too. This demand, however, was not met. However, an increasing amount of combined "relief facilities" for both women and men were set up. Apart from the urinal, they also contained cabins with toilets and were looked after by a female toilet attendant. Now a service charge had to be paid. In 1910, there were a total of 137 public urinals in Vienna as well as 73 toilet facilities which could be used by both genders.


Inv.Nr. 60977

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