The Best 18th-Century Toilets Were Designed to Look Like Books

READING MATERIAL AND TOILETS HAVE a special relationship. Stacks of magazines are as common a fixture of many washrooms as toilet paper, toothpaste, or towels.

The porcelain-throne-as-reading-nook trope is so famous that Barnes and Noble once created a list of the five best “books to read in the bathroom,” ideal for tackling in “two- to 10-minute increments.” Books had a place in some 18th-century bathrooms, too, but they weren’t always for reading. Occasionally, they were just highbrow camouflage.

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