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Thread: Elsan (toilet) stands for what?

  1. #1
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    Elsan (toilet) stands for what?

    Obviously "san" is sanitary or sanitation, but what about the "el" part? Certainly not electric...

  2. #2
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    David Legg
    Editor: The Catalina News, The Catalina Society

  3. #3
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    We can now enjoy the warm snuggly feeling of being book researchers. Free copies all round........
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    Just as well he wasn't called Pete Ibstock

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    Thanks, all. I went to that site originally but missed the history part.

  6. #6
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    a bit of thread drift, but British Rail train crews had similar apparatus ( a bucket under a lift up seat ). Most crews used the fireman's shovel hence the expression "like s*** off a shovel", they also used it to fry up breakfast...

  7. #7
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    A bit of thread drift, but British Rail train crews had similar apparatus ( a bucket under a lift up seat ). Most crews used the fireman's shovel hence the expression "like s*** off a shovel"; they also used it to fry up breakfast...
    Hopefully not using the same one......!!!

  8. #8
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    hi,
    yes the very same one, after being in the fire box of course...
    regards,
    jack...

  9. #9
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    I'm not at all convinced by this story.
    To have a fireman with a shovel implies a steam locomotive - in all my decades as a keen railway enthusiast I've never read of there ever being an Elsan fitted anywhere. I also suggest that using a shovel for the purpose stated would only have happened in dire emergency! I'll cross-post to the railway National Preservation Forum and check.

    Cooking breakfast on the shovel (only whilst stationary, it must be emphasised) is/was indeed common practice.

    Andy

  10. #10
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    The closest anyone has come up with on the Railway Forum is that some diesels were fitted with a toilet (but was it an Elsan?), and that some continental steam locos were equipped with a funnel and tube (I guess a bit like some aircraft), but clearly not suitable for substances which would otherwise require a shovel...............

  11. #11
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    On Royal Navy warships of the WW2 era there was a kind-of 'micro urinal funnel' at the rear of the bridge so that essential crew didn't have to leave their post for long to 'spend a penny'...

    ...it was (and is) known as "the pig's ear".....hence, I am told, the expression "in a pig's ear"!
    WA$.

  12. #12
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    Going back to the 'Elsan' for a minute (pun intended!) in British bombers; is there any truth in the story that they were sometimes thrown out of the aircraft over the target in Germany.
    WA$.

  13. #13
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    hi,
    it was on steam trains, long distance very few stops, the firemans seat( right hand side of the cab looking forward) the seat lifted to expose the bucket, on short to middle journeys the shovel was the only way. On diesels they had a proper toilet but the **** came out underneath the loco, not into a tank...also in the coaches that's why you were politely asked not to flush in the station.

  14. #14
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    I'd like to see some hard documentary or photographic evidence of the 'bucket under the seat', please!

  15. #15
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    Ha hahahaha !!!
    Good thread guys !!! I've definitely heard about the using the shovel experiences during the UK "Steam Engines" days. And the Port-a-loo ( Poss an elsan ) under the drivers seat would also be needed if any one had an attack of the you know whats !!! You couldn't really put that on the shovel or W**-*** either as both would blow around in the drafty cab and would make the sandwiches taste awful. And passing a number 1 to outside via the cab doors would have the same effect. Hardy souls indeed those crews.

    The shovel going back into the fire box would be well cleaned of any dregs /infections, so still be OK to cook B/fast on. Don't we get some interesting threads in here.

    Bill T.

  16. #16
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    back in the day I had more pressing subjects for my box brownie than toilet's, but if you ever visit York's NRM lift the fireman's seat...

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    LOL !!! I'll have to pass on that one.

    Bill T.

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    Elsan tales

    Had two on a shack(mk2)and each had a privacy curtain to pull round yourself!The chemical if I remember rightly was called Racasan and was blue.Now in turbulence (most of the time in a shack)you would end up with a "ring of fire"as Racasan did sting!!On a long flight they would get full and permission to dump was sought from the captain and down one of the flare shutes it all went!!!
    Last edited by wl745; 11th September 2017 at 04:57. Reason: missing letter

  19. #19
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    Ahh toilet humour. Some years ago I had part ownership of a glider with a reverend gentleman,one Albert. Albert used our machine for competition flying and so fitted a pee tube made from a washing up liquid bottle and some plastic tube which exit-ed via the wheel housing, trailing into the airflow. This worked fine until some wag taped the end forwards...

    John

  20. #20
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    My Father trained on Ansons. If the pilot wanted to use the pee tube he would give control to one of the pupils. Someone found out that if you gently moved the column backwards and forwards at one point the air blew back up the tube with obvious results.

    Re the comment about about not flushing the toilet in a station, I was at a station in India a couple of years ago and had to explain to the person with me that the little piles and splodges on the track were exactly what they looked, and smelled, like.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Windsor
    hi,
    it was on steam trains, long distance very few stops, the firemans seat( right hand side of the cab looking forward) the seat lifted to expose the bucket, on short to middle journeys the shovel was the only way. On diesels they had a proper toilet but the **** came out underneath the loco, not into a tank...also in the coaches that's why you were politely asked not to flush in the station.
    Have never seen any such facility on any steam loco that I have worked on.
    As regards diesel locos; they had a very small urinal type facility in the machinery room, not something that you could sit on!
    Martin

  22. #22
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    I worked on steam pass/freight, and local loco's repair and i'm sure some had the flip-seat... I then progressed onto building Brush 47's, and these with class 40's I repaired for 20yrs with classes 31,33,37,45,50, and finished in 1988 on 56's... I've got vague memories of a toilet bowl with seat with also a flush bar along the bottom worked by foot pressure on either the 37,47 or 56 classes our main repair type, although the jobs we did were elsewhere fortunately!!! the small urinal was approx. 8"x4" and both went outside the loco...

    sorry for the thread drift...

    this post may contain grammatical errors...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Windsor
    I then progressed onto building Brush 47's, and these with class 40's I repaired for 20yrs with classes 31,33,37,45,50, and finished in 1988 on 56's... I've got vague memories of a toilet bowl with seat with also a flush bar along the bottom worked by foot pressure on either the 37,47 or 56 classes our main repair type, although the jobs we did were elsewhere fortunately!!! the small urinal was approx. 8"x4" and both went outside the loco...
    Being a current part owner of a 37, 47 and a couple of steam locos ...
    Last edited by D1566; 13th September 2017 at 08:12.
    Martin

  24. #24
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    Can anyone trump that? Pun intended!

  25. #25
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    hi,
    in those circumstances then I bow to your knowledge , but I will try to prove my memory is not at fault...

    regards,
    jack...

  26. #26
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    I've totally failed to find any reference to any form of toilet on steam locos.
    Andy

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