The History of the Toilet
We know why you are here: you have a middle-schooler who is dying to shock his teacher with an essay on the history of the toilet. We are happy to supply it for you. To earn our place as San Diego’s favorite plumbing service, we did our homework from 1977 and before. Why 1977? That is when Perry Plumbing opened its doors. We did not need to research toilets from that point; we lived them!
Ancient Excretion and Its Disposal
Just as many math and astronomical issues were solved thousands of years ago, citizens living in the years BC had surprisingly efficient waste disposal systems. Archaeologists found remnants of flushing toilets as far back as 3,000 BC in India and Scotland. They took the form of seats that emptied into subterranean clay chambers. The Romans, at the height of their empire, had fashioned aqueducts that not only brought in fresh water but flushed away waste as well.
The Bucket List of the Dark Ages
For hundreds of years, plumbing progress actually regressed and medieval men and women were stuck with the “chamber pot,” basically a bucket, no matter how cleverly disguised as a stack of books or flower pot (no kidding). The waste was toted into nearby woods.
It was not until 1596 that a relative of Queen Elizabeth cobbled together a plan to create a flush toilet. Surprisingly like the toilet of today, it included a valve that sealed off the toilet from the mass of waste below it, as well as a tank to flush the waste away. It took another 200 years before the best improvement on this contraption: a pool of water to catch urine and feces and minimize their odors.
In the United States in the 1840s, a few toilets were installed, but only in the most affluent homes. It took until 1935 before indoor toilets replaced the outhouse and, you guessed it, chamber pots. (Cold in winter! Best to keep those night time runs inside.) Chicago was the first city to have a sewage system, and that was not even completed until 1885. People of the 19th century would be astounded by today’s double, aromatherapy enhanced showers and trenchless pipe relining!
Thomas Crapper and the Naming of Just That!
Contrary to rumor, Thomas Crapper did not invent the first toilet. Instead he was its greatest proponent, probably most responsible for getting the toilet beyond the royal halls and into the homes of the British middle class. Crapper was an inventive plumber who created the toilet’s ballcock and either other aspects of the 19th Century “water closet.” The patent for the flush toilet itself was filed by Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire, England in 1778, even though official credit is given to John Harrington in 1596.
While it appears Thomas Crapper’s name was as every day as Miller or Smith before his push for the adoption of the toilet, people did begin calling the bathroom “the crapper” and what they left there!
Toilet of the Future
With no changes in the last 150 years, the toilet is ripe for improvement. As discussed on our blog post Future Toilet, inventors are not focusing on the industrial world’s elimination needs. Instead, with 1.2 billion citizens of the world without access to sanitary toilets and water, world leaders are pushing for an inexpensive toilet for the poor. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with fixture manufacturing leader Kohler have been working with universities to create a solar powered, inexpensive and self-cleaning toilet. The first prototypes are touring India now.
Perry Plumbing: San Diego Plumber Knows Toilets from Antiquity to Today
We hope this information solved your homework crisis! If you have any questions about plumbing, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, sewer lines or fixture installation, do not hesitate to calls us at 619 472 2112. We are your family owned and operated, friendly neighborhood plumber. Your neighbors may have given us some of our 5 Star ratings on Google Plus and Yelp. We know that we build our reputation with every call, and we are constantly updating our skills with training and education. Contact us to make an appointment and make sure to check out our San Diego plumbing discounts and specials on our website or call for details.