Monday, November 19, 2007

The Exploding Toilet (1970s)

The National Lampoon, September 1975, p. 20.


A housewife in Akron, Ohio began spraying her hair, only to discover that the button on the can was stuck and couldn't be shut off. She continued to spray her hair until it had the consistency and texture of portland cement. Then she ran into the bathroom and sprayed the rest of the contents of the can into the toilet bowl.

That evening, when her husband arrived home from work, he went into the bathroom, made himself comfortable with his evening paper, and lit up a cigarette. He dropped the lit match into the bowl. The next thing he knew, an explosion hurled him into the wall, broke his nose, knocked him unconscious, and gave his posterior second degree burns. Akron Beacon Journal

The Charleston Gazette [WV]
4 December 1975, p. 1B

The Gazetteer [Column]

James Dent

[...] Frankly, I believe the following story to be apocryphal although a fellow worker says two school teachers swore on a stack of approved textbooks that it was true.

A lady, wife of a Charleston area businessman, was in her toilet spraying her hair when the lock on the aerosol can became jammed and she was unable to shut the gadget off. Thinking quickly, she pointed the can down the commode and let it blast away until it finally gave out. Moments later, her husband entered the bathroom and took a seat. He lit a cigarette and tossed the match down the commode wherein the fumes from the hair spray still were lurking.

The resultant explosion lifted him off the bowl and hurled him against the bathroom wall, fracturing several small bones and severely burning his sitting apparatus. An ambulance was summoned and as the attendants were carrying the moaning patient to the vehicle, they asked how the accident had happened. Being informed, they laughed so hard that they dropped the stretcher and the poor victim suffered an additional broken leg. [...]

National Lampoon, May 1976, p. 32.


A dragline operator in Belle Glade, Florida, was so proud of his new 750 Honda that he invited a neighbor over to show off the machine. As the two men were standing on the patio admiring the motorcycle, the new owner went to press the electric starter button in order to prove how quietly the engine ran.

The motorcycle was in gear, and plunged through a glass door into his living room, dragging him along with it. He was taken to the hospital, where he received treatment for numerous cuts on his arms and face.

Meanwhile, his wife was sopping up gasoline that was seeping from the motorcycle, which was lying on its side in the living room. She flushed some gasoline-soaked paper towels down the toilet.

Her husband returned home, saw his new motorcycle and the shattered patio door, and took shelter in his bathroom. He lit a cigarette and sat on the john, dropping the match into the toilet bowl. The paper towels had clogged the pipes, and the match detonated the gasoline. The explosion blew the commode to pieces and propelled the man into the air, inflicting third degree burns on his exposed underside.

His wife called for an ambulance. Because of the burns, the attendants had to carry him spread-eagle, face-down on the stretcher. As he was being carried inside the hospital, one of the attendants tripped, and the stretcher crashed to the ground.

The fall left the owner of the new 750 Honda with a broken leg. Palm Beach Post Times