May 3, 2015
"Never the twain shall meet"
- Rudyard Kipling
CHAMBER POTS & WELL PUMPS
It wasn't too many years ago that the comforts of home, as we know them, weren't so comfortable (or in the home). A water line wasn't run to the refrigerator door next to the ice dispenser. You had to go outside and work the pump to draw water from the ground below and haul it inside. And if you wanted to cook or wash you had to heat the water on the stove. A quick shower was actually sitting in a tub of water that, depending on the number of people in the house and the pecking order, had all the allure of 'hand me down underwear'.
Even further from the house (one would hope) was the outhouse. If a dash through the coldest of nights wasn't appealing, you would also own a chamber pot, the precursor to the indoor commode.
I remember the well pump at my great grandfather and grandmothers home (and fortunately no memory of a chamber pot). The well pump still exists at the house where they lived in Illinois. This particular well pump (pictured) was the original hardware at the James homestead (of the infamous Jesse James) in Kearney, Missouri. Jesse was born in the house and having lived there on different occasions no doubt worked the handle a time or two. The outhouse in the picture is most likely not the original.
The occasion for this trip was lunch out with friends followed by something historic and educational in the area and for me an opportunity to get out and take pictures.