The Poca River Postal Authority
Commemorative Issue


J. R. Sitwell
Inventor of the Personal


The Poca Post announces a new issue honoring Mr. J. R. Sitwell, the inventor of the Personal Outhouse Ventilator.

It was not until the middle of the 20th century that the form of household sanitation known as the outhouse begin to disappear from the Poca River Basin.  Anyone who has had the misfortune to have used such an amenity during the warmer months of the year will recall the overpowering aroma of these facilities.  There was usually some form of ventilation built into such structures, but it was always woefully inadequate.

In the dog days of 1874 Mr. J. R. Sitwell or Buffalo-on-the-Poca put his creative mind to this problem and devised a personal ventilation system for the outhouse.  He fashioned a tube that would be inserted into a round hole in the door of the facility and the user would be able to draw fresh air through his ventilator.  In order to keep insects and rain from entering the structure when the  ventilator was not in use, he had a rotating cover installed behind the hole in the door.  Given the rustic nature of construction, these covers rarely fell back into place.  The result was an opening that more often than not resembled the quarter moon.  Hence a tradition was established to cut a quarter moon on the door of an outhouse even though the owner did not possess a Sitwell Ventilator.

The Poca Post is pleased to honor Mr. Sitwell, and his ventilator, with a commemorative issue. The stamp was issued on April 22, 2002 in a plate of 20 stamps with a value of 5 poca units.


Return to main stamp page: click here
Return to Ben Mahmoud's home page: click here