An introduction to the history of the first flush toilet

A flush toilet bowl during the flushing action Typical sound of a flush toilet A typical flush toilet is a fixed, vitreous ceramic bowl also known as a pan which is connected to a drain.

An introduction to the history of the first flush toilet

There was nothing pleasant about the American water closet in the mid-nineteenth century.

John Harrington

Stamford, a chemist working in mid-nineteenth century America summed it up: Backyard Privy, Public Domain; Right. House in foreground, Charleston SC, Public Domain Although it was somewhat common for well-to-do English householders to have an indoor toilet installed in their home as early as the late eighteenth century, this was not the case in America.

Municipal water and sewer lines did not come into existence until the late nineteenth century when public water works provided the connections.

Even then, only the wealthy had access to running water as municipalities generally charged for the construction of water lines. Only about five percent of the American population had running water at the close of the Civil War.

By the late nineteenth century that figure increased to 24 percent. In rural areas, access to running water came about fifteen years later.

The First Flush Toilet The first flush toilet was invented by Tomas Crapper in It was first presented in a large Health Exhibition in London. The items that were used in the original "flush-test" were four tests that consisted of 3 wads of paper, a sponge, 4 greased paper sh. This was the first introduction to toilets for many of these doughboys, and the soldiers brought the word “Crapper” back to the states as a synonym for toilet. While the words ‘crap’ and ‘crapper’ certainly pre-date Thomas Crapper’s birth, they were not common in America until after the war. A flush toilet is different from a urinal, which is designed to handle only urine; and from a bidet, which can be used for cleansing of the anus, perineum, and genitals after using the toilet.

The germ theory of diseasethe idea that diseases were spread by minute pathogens would not be fully accepted until the late nineteenth century.

Harrington provided a detailed description of his device along with illustrations in his satirical work, A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called The Metamorphosis of Ajax In his proposed plan he presented his new privy as a devise that would protect the people from sickness induced by the smells of decaying organic matter.

Harrington would eventually install some of his privies in the royal palaces. He recommended that the device be flushed at a minimum twice a day—midday and at night.

The screw that held the gate in place was positioned at the base of the vessel. The act of flushing was accomplished by manually removing the screw and sliding the gate to the open position.

A Brief History of The Flush Toilet | The British Association of Urological Surgeons Limited

The technology to effectively remove the waste after it was flushed, however was largely absent. The smell from both liquid and solid human waste was an ever-present problem.

Plumbing then consisted of a system of wooden tunnels below houses that dumped into an open or closed cistern--both of which ultimately had to be manually emptied.

For inhabitants who resided in the buildings this was indeed a fetid affair, as overtime leakage throughout the system was certain. There were two earlier patents, one in and another inbut these were for commodes, portable box like structures that held a chamber pot encased under the wooden seat.

Mid-nineteenth century manufactured water-closets on either side of the ocean could be divided into two types: Flushing for the latter device type was a function of supply pipe valves or high cisterns being used at the time.

Advocates of the miasma theory preferred these as they held back sewer air by means of water retained in the trap, although not perfectly. Householders certainly would have found perfection in either type water closet to be in the form of a toilet that efficiently flushed waste and held back sewer smells.

Morrison is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University where she is writing a dissertation on the history of African American public health during the early twentieth century.Toilet Paper History – Complete Historical Timeline. The first toilet paper reported was used by the Chinese emperor.

As a luxury item, only royalty had access to toilet paper.

An introduction to the history of the first flush toilet

The paper was made in 2 ft x 3-ft sheets. The US Government requires toilet designs flush using much less water. This new design parameter creates. A Brief History of The Flush Toilet. From Neolithic to modern times. It is unclear who first invented the flush toilet. Although archaeological excavations in northwest India have revealed year-old drainage systems which might have been toilets, it is not clear whether this is genuinely the case.

A Brief History of the Toilet [Slide Show] Forget about skyscrapers, protected harbors or capital markets. The lowly toilet is key to what makes modern cities possible. The flush toilet did not gain popularity in the United States until after World War I, when American troops came home from England full of talk about a "mighty slick invention called the crapper." The American slang term for the toilet, "the john," is said to be derived from the flushing water closets at Harvard university installed in , and emblazoned with the manufacturer's name, Rev.

Edward Johns. To flush the toilet, the user pushes a lever, which lifts the flush valve from the outlet. The valve then floats clear of the outlet, allowing the tank to empty quickly into the bowl.

As the water level drops, the floating flush valve descends back to the bottom of the tank and covers the outlet pipe again. In , a flush toilet was invented and built for Queen Elizabeth I by her Godson, Sir John Harrington.

The first patent for the flushing toilet was issued to Alexander Cummings in During the s, people would come to realize that poor sanitary conditions caused diseases.

The Advent of the Flush Toilet - The Ultimate History Project