Ladies’ restrooms

Restaurant-ing through history

ladiesroomsignPublic restrooms have been in the news lately because of conflict over transgender rights, but I have been wondering about them for quite a while as part of my project to understand how restaurants developed.

We assume that restaurants will have restrooms for their customers today, but when did they become commonplace? And when did restaurants make an effort to specifically accommodate women with separate toilets? I am still not 100% sure about the answers.

Researching the history of sanitary facilities in restaurants has proved to be very difficult, starting with what terms to search for. Even today both “bathroom” and “restroom” are somehow inadequate. Yet restroom is better to capture the historical fact that those restaurants that had facilities for women usually were outfitted with more than toilets and sinks. They also had space – and many still do – where women could take care of little chores such…

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Making Hot Dogs, Port Chester, NY 1930

This footage was shot by my father in the early 1930’s when he began working for the family business. He told me that he would drive up and down the eastern seaboard visiting butchers and sausage makers both large and small.  This was made during one of those trips.  He also filmed a sausage maker at home in Worcester, MA – which I plan to add soon!

Posted in Welcome to My World