A BLAST FROM THE PAST
The bidet is a fixture that’s seen some major changes over the centuries. The earliest bidets were typically constructed from a wooden base with a porcelain basin. The bidet was sometimes constructed like a chair, complete with a chair back for sitting comfortably. Other times it was hidden in a piece of furniture that looked very much like a footstool. It’s important to note that early bidet would have been placed in the bedroom rather than the bathroom. Before indoor plumbing, even the chamber pot stayed in the bedroom. Features like a hinged lid made the bidet less obvious so it could be concealed when not in use.
OLD BIDET SECRETS
- Started as a bowl of water
- Idea is hundreds of years old
As with all furniture, the more wealthy the owner was, the fancier the bidet tended to be. Napoleon of France is said to have left a silver-gilt bidet behind in his will. The French made their bidets as beautiful and ornate as anything else in the home. The basin could be artfully decorated and the base beautifully carved. Many theories give the French credit for inventing the bidet in the first place. However, some historians believe that the honor belongs to the Italians. The bidet today is more common in Italy than France, though both countries still use this fixture.
Over time, bidets grew to resemble toilets. Today’s most common design for standalone bidets looks like a smaller, shorter toilet with the drain of a sink. The user may find one or two taps, and the faucet or nozzle comes in several different designs. Some bidets are designed with a faucet like a sink so users can plug the bottom, fill the basin, and wash with their hands. A more sanitary design is the bidet that shoots a jet of water upward so the user can crouch in front of the bidet and gently rinse his or her genitals.
The most modern form of bidet is the bidet toilet seat, or attachable bidet. This solved the problem that traditional bidets have of not being able to flush. Users are able to take care of everything with one fixture and no longer need to move from the toilet to the bidet. A bidet toilet seat features a nozzle that comes out from under the seat and applies an upward spray or jet of water. These modern inventions may also feature an air dryer to eliminate the need for tissues entirely. With the attachable bidet, the user can keep his or her hands as clean as possible in the restroom.