Finding Unique Antique Chamber Pots

If you are a collector of antique chamber pots, finding a unique or rare chamber pot on eBay can be a thrill. It is important to understand the differences between antique chamber pots and other pieces that were typically part of toilet sets sold in the 1800s and 1900s. The antique chamber pot's value can be challenging to determine, and understanding key features that fetch a higher value can help you find answers when asking if old chamber pots are worth anything.

Are chamber pots and slop jars the same thing?

In the 1800s and even into the early 1900s, before indoor plumbing was widely available, chamber pots were a necessary part of indoor toileting during the night or during severe weather when using an outhouse or privy would be difficult. Chamber pots are typically large, wide pots that feature a sturdy handle and a lid. Once a chamber pot was used, the contents, often known as night soil would be removed to an outdoor outhouse or cesspool and discarded.

Slop jars are a different item altogether than a chamber pot. Toilet sets were commonly sold in the 1800s and 1900s for use in all indoor personal care tasks such as sponge bathing, tooth brushing, and toileting. The slop jar was a tall jar with a lid and no handle where used water from bathing or face washing or brushing teeth would be discarded until the dirty water in the slop jar could be emptied outside in a garden or on the ground.

Toilet sets and their contents

Toilet sets featured several different pieces; finding an antique chamber pot that is part of a larger, intact toilet set is a rare find and can raise the overall value of the chamber pot and set. Toilet sets typically included:

  • Chamber pot.
  • Slop jar.
  • Large pitcher and basin for sponge baths.
  • Smaller pitchers to heat water for use.
  • A soap dish with a lid and a tall toothbrush holder.
Close stools and commodes with chamber pots for sale

A chamber pot could be used on its own for indoor toileting at night or during bad weather, but many people opted to make the task more comfortable and decrease the risk of messes by using a commode or close stool that held the chamber pot in place in a small cabinet that featured a seat and a lid that opened and closed over the seat. These were also known by the French term, garderobe.