Flushing into History!
Flush toilets. We take them for granted in every walk of life. In our homes, we typically have two of them. They can be found in restaurants, stores, gas stations, rest stops, you name it. It hasn’t always been this way with the flush toilet, though it’s origins are quite dated.
How Old is the Flush Toilet?
The origins of the flush toilet go back thousands of years. In fact, a crude system of flush toilet that used a river and drainage system to wash away the waste has been dated back to 31 BC. The Roman Empire used similar systems from the 1st through 5th Century AD.
How Modern is the Modern Flush Toilet?
While there have been disagreements over who the modern day flush toilet inventor was, it is generally thought that Sir John Harington is the man. In 1596, Sir John published a pamphlet titled “Metamorphosis of Ajax”, which went on to describe a flush toilet he installed in his home. This toilet design had a flush valve which let water out of the tank and had a wash-down design that emptied the bowl. Unfortunately for Sir John Harington, his idea was not to catch on for almost another couple hundred years. In 1775 a man named Alexander Cumming invented the S-Trap (an S-looking pipe) and received a patent for it. This S-trap is still used today. Three years after the S-Trap invention, Joseph Bramah took the reins and created an even better “water closet”, received a patent for it and began making toilets at his workshop.
What a Crapper!
One myth worth clearing up is the one surrounding the real-life Thomas Crapper. It was widely believed that Mr. Crapper was the inventor of the WC, but this is in no way true. Yes, Thomas Crapper was a “Sanitary Engineer” (aka plumber) starting in 1861, but he was not the inventor of the flush toilet. Rumor still has it, though, that the term “going to the crapper” was coined by an American who saw Thomas’ name affiliated with the toilet.
America’s Flush Toilet
The flush toilet made its American debut in the 1890’s. They first appeared in large hotels and then slowly made their way across America as the popularity increased. Today you will find the flush toilet in mostly every establishment across the United States.
If you’re ever having toilet troubles in your La Grange home call Allan E. Power Plumbing at (708) 352-1670!