Click Photo for Larger Version
View of the main entrance (just right of center in the light) to a wool processing/cleaning shop (a fullonica). Note the pool in the lower left, and the modern staircase that led up an upper floor of the shop.
A fullonica was designed for the washing of dirty laundry and degreasing fabric that had just been threaded, was built in the last stage of the life of Pompeii, transforming the structure from an original house to commercial business. Based upon inscriptions it is believed that Stephanus was the owner of the fullery. He died during the eruption in 79 AD while trying to escape. The workers for Stephanus, almost all slaves, had to tread on fabrics and clothes for hours, placed under a liquid containing human and animal urine, collected in pots placed along the streets, which intended to treat the fabrics (see following images). The smell must have been "putrid" — but the shop was on a main street and houses (upper class) surrounded it!