History of the Porta Potty

When you’re at an outdoor concert or are having your home bathroom remodeled, those rental porta potties can be your best friend. Many places where building a bathroom with standard plumbing is impossible or impractical are made accessible and comfortable by bringing in porta potties. Also known as porta johns, tidy johns and port-o-lets, you can find them everywhere from the presidential inauguration to the Grand Canyon. In fact, the largest ever gathering of these facilities was at Barak Obama’s inauguration in 2009, with a whopping 5,000 porta potties on hand. So, how did it all begin?


The shipyards of Long Beach realized that employees were losing valuable work time because they had to trek all the way back to the docks to use restroom facilities. They decided to construct temporary bathrooms on the ships the employees were building, making the work go faster and employees a little happier. They built a wooden cabana, fitted it with a small holding tank, and the first portable toilet made its début.

1950s to 1960s

Construction workers and event organizers quickly realized the benefits of portable toilets. Several companies took this idea and developed their own version of the portable bathroom. Biff and Job Johnny became two prominent porta potty manufacturers. The earliest porta potties were made of metal and wood. They were heavy, cumbersome, and smelly, but still far superior to having no restroom facilities at all.

1970s and Beyond

Fiberglass porta potties began replacing wood and metal ones. Fiberglass was lighter and easier to keep clean than wood and metal versions. By the 1980s, plastic had replaced fiberglass as the building material of choice. Plastic is the lightest, easiest to construct and easiest to clean of all the other materials. Polyurethane is the most common plastic used to make today’s porta potties. Companies have also developed chemicals to aid in biodegrading solid waste and making the toilets smell better. Companies that supply job sites and events with porta potties usually deliver the portable toilets to the site, maintain them while on site and remove them when no longer needed.

Modern Day

In the 1980s, gotügo entered the portable restroom business, offering customers fast and efficient service and providing immaculate porta potty rental units for events, construction sites and even weddings. Fairly and competitively priced, gotügo has become a leader in offering clean, sanitary porta potties in and around the areas of Maryland, northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Around the country, porta potties save an astounding 125 million gallons of fresh water every day, water that can be used for drinking, cooking, bathing and other activities. This makes portable bathrooms an environmentally friendly way to manage events and job sites. Gotügo offers a variety of different porta potties and restroom solutions designed to meet all your restroom needs – Get a Free Quote Now

The portable restroom industry isn’t always on the forefront of our minds, but this unique and necessary business allows us to enjoy events, places and experiences that would be uncomfortable, if not impossible, without them. So, the next time you’re enjoying an outdoor concert, or a once-in-a-lifetime event like the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, remember how shipbuilders in Long Beach contributed to a more comfortable and convenient way to make it happen.

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Posted by gotügo   |   Filed under: Porta Potty Rentals
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