In his introduction, Simmons discusses evidence of what methods early sailors used for relief. Subsequent chapters focus on each century of pre-modern exploration and the developments of ship design at bow and stern where sailors were accommodated. Officers had the luxury of enclosed, closetlike facilities; the book's title comes from a poem in which the ship's chaplain begs to be allowed to use the officers' luxurious facilities rather than the "vulgar tubes"—the downward-projecting trunking through which effluvia was directed into the sea.
With clear illustrations and a timeline that graphs the development of sanitary facilities, Those Vulgar Tubes fills a longstanding void in the history of maritime travel.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press