History of the Bidet
09 Jul, 2020
From pottery shards to Chuggi “shit sticks”, people have been finding creative ways to clean their butts since the beginning of time. As technology has evolved and changed our lives, butt wiping technology has improved as well. In the annals (real word) of anal hygiene history, there have been 3 major epochs in the technological evolution of human butt cleaning. They can be broadly categorized as follows:
The “Anything Goes” period: Characterized by people using anything they could find to wipe their butts including, rocks, sticks, plants, etc.
The “Wiping” period: Characterized by people chopping down trees en masse to make toilet paper to wipe their butts.
- The “Washing” period: Characterized by people using bidets to shoot a gentle, targeted stream of water at their b-holes to clean themselves.
We are currently in the 3rd period, a golden era if you will, where in many countries bidets have become the preferred method for butt cleaning. Like any revolutionary idea, bidets have taken a while to catch on in some parts of the world. It wasn't until after WWII that bidets really started to catch on in Europe and by the 1980s many countries had widespread usage among their population. It was in the 1980s that Japan created the first electronic modern bidet with an array of advanced features such as a heated seat, instant warm water, and night lights.
But(t) long before there were night lights and heat to keep your cheeks warm there was a man, a wooden stool, and a revoLOOtionay idea that would change the way we clean our butts forever...
Who Invented the Bidet?
It is thought that the French royal family’s furniture-maker, a man by the name of Christopher Des Rosiers, invented the bidet. Mr. Des Rosiers came up with the idea of combining a small washbasin with a wooden stool as a way to clean up after taking a #2. The first bidets basically looked like a stool with an artisanally designed bowl in the center. People would straddle the stool which gave the appearance of somebody riding a horse, hence the name "bidet" which is actually the French word for "pony".
When Was the Bidet Invented?
Although the exact date is debatable, according to the World Toilet Organization, Christopher Des Rosiers invented the bidet in the year 1710 when it is thought that he installed a bidet for the French royal family. Bidets were popular with the French aristocratic class - Napoleon even had a silver-lined bidet that he brought around the world during his travels!
The modern bidet seat that most people are familiar with was actually designed by an American inventor named Arnold Cohen known as (“Mr. Bidet”) back in the 1960s. Cohen’s design was licensed to a company in Japan and after several iterations became the now ubiquitous Toto Washlet.
So Why Aren’t Bidets more Po(o)pular in America?
The reason bidets aren't as popular in the United States of America harkens back to the days of WWII. It's thought that the English weren't interested in the bidet since it was a French invention and there was strong anti-French sentiment at the time. This anti-French sentiment also found its way to the shores of the good ol' US of A and so the bidet never caught on. There was also a stigma attached to bidets from American soldiers who had seen the bidets being used in brothels so they became associated with immorality and uncleanliness.
Another contributing factor that is thought to have contributed to the lack of bidet adoption in the US is that most bathrooms in the US are smaller than their European counterparts. This lack of space may have prevented their widespread use as there simply wasn't enough space to accommodate an extra fixture.
Bidet use in the US has been steadily increasing as people are now starting to catch on to the benefits that bidets offer. The Covid-19 pandemic has only hastened the adoption of bidets as the scarcity of toilet paper during the pandemic forced people to reassess how they cleaned their bums.
As you’ve learned, the history of the bidet is full of twists and turns and squeaky clean b-holes. In an age of heightened environmental awareness and with the recent nation-wide toilet paper shortages, people from all walks of life are discovering the benefits of washing vs wiping. Here at TUSHY we’ve made it our mission to make bidets accessible for everyone. That’s why we designed and developed the best bidet attachments on the market with the TUSHY Classic and The TUSHY Spa. Best of all, our bidet attachments are affordable so you don’t need to be a French aristocrat to own one. Check out our full line of bidet products today!