The word commode can refer to a either a chest of drawers, or a chest that enclosed toilets. While it originally started out as a chest of drawers or a cabinet for storing personal items, in early 18th century France, later on a commode was also used to house chamber pots. Hence the use of commode to denote toilets.
The word commode derives from the French word for "convenient" or "suitable".
Commodes were introduced in the 18th century in France and were both decorative and useful. A French commode is a low cabinet or chest of drawers, often with elaborate decoration and usually standing on cabriole legs or short feet. Earlier commodes had a bombé or convex shape with a flat back that went against the wall. Later the shape became more rectilinear, with straighter legs.
Commodes were meant to stand against the wall and had greater width than height. This piece of furniture provided convenient storage for articles while also providing a surface on top for placing additional items.
A commode often had a marble slab top and was displayed prominently. Sometimes they were paired with mirrors, and matching pairs of commodes were often used in a room. (Read entire article.)Share