Wednesday, October 9, 2019


The word toilet derives from the French word toile, meaning a “cloth” (toilette is a “small cloth”), that was draped over a lady or gentleman’s shoulders for hairdressing.
Around 4500 years ago, communities in Scotland, the Indus Valley (present day Pakistan), and Mesopotamia used pipes to carry waste from inside of buildings to outdoors.
Toilets in Egypt used a keyhole shape to increase comfort, whilst the Romans built sewer systems to carry waste into streams and rivers. Flushing first appeared in Knossos, on the island of Crete about 4000 years ago. Rainwater captured in rooftop pans was used to wash away waste via pipes.

Multi-seat public toilets represent something new on the ancient urban landscape and distinguish Roman toilets from their predecessors.”
Roman Toilets, with multi-seat toilets were fixtures in city life by the 2nd century BCE and were usually long benches with holes in them, built near public areas or buildings, and over main sewer lines. Roman toilets were probably standardized to make them transportable and recognizable across Roman geography.

Over the course of decades of excavations at the City of David, which abuts Jerusalem’s Old City, as many as four partial toilets or toilet seats have been discovered. The most cited seat was found in what is called the House of Ahi’el, on the northeastern slope of the City of David.
It is a typical four-roomed Israelite dwelling from the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, whose name derives from a Hebrew inscription on shard found in the there. The house was large, reflecting the prosperity of the era ahead of the Babylonian destruction in 587-6 BCE, and had an external stone staircase, which led to a second floor.

In a small room, about four and a half feet square, on the ground floor, a limestone toilet seat was discovered embedded in the plaster floor above a plaster-lined cesspit, which reaches eight feet below the floor. The toilet seat was fashioned from a large block of locally available limestone.

A toilet is a plumbing fixture used for defecation and urination. Modern toilets consist of a bowl fitted with a hinged seat that's connected to a waste pipe where waste is flushed. Toilets are also called privy, latrine, water closet, or lavatory. Contrary to urban legend, Sir Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet.

Here's a brief timeline of toilets:
King Minos of Crete had the first flushing water closet recorded in history and that was over 2,800 years ago.

A toilet was discovered in the tomb of a Chinese king of the Western Han Dynasty that dates back to somewhere between 206 BC to 24 AD.

The ancient Romans had a system of sewers. They built simple outhouses or latrines directly over the running waters of the sewers that poured into the Tiber River.

Chamber pots were used during the middle ages. A chamber pot is a special metal or ceramic bowl that you used and then tossed the contents out (often out the window).

In 1596, 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 1775.

During the 1800s, people would come to realize that poor sanitary conditions caused diseases. Thus having toilets and sewer systems that could control human waste became a priority to lawmakers, medical experts, inventors as well as the general public.

In 1829, the Tremont Hotel of Boston became the first hotel to have indoor plumbing with eight water closets built by Isaiah Rogers.

Until 1840, indoor plumbing could be found only in the homes of the rich and the better hotels.
The Englishman with the unfortunate surname, Thomas Crapper, often gets credit for inventing the flushing toilet, and he undoubtedly was a major player in its development. His valve and siphon design was patented in 1891, and his company manufactured water closets that found wide acceptance all over the UK in the decades preceding World War I. His toilets imprinted with "T. Crapper Brass & Co. Ltd." inspired a generation of young American soldiers stationed in the UK during World War I, and they returned to America with a new slang term for the relatively new household fixture but was Crapper the father of the so called crapper?

Let's put it this way: Crapper didn't one day sit down in an outdoor privy and decide that what the world really needed was an indoor toilet. His product was simply another refinement of a design problem that the Victorians, in particular, had been puzzling over: how to build a flushing water closet that would efficiently and sanitarily remove waste without allowing dangerous sewer gases to enter. 

When Crapper refined his design, flushing water closets weren't exactly a new idea. For example, Queen Elizabeth I's godson Sir John Harrington had designed one for her use in 1596, although it never caught on with the rest of English society, royal or otherwise, and was considered to be more of a novelty than a practical invention, especially in the absence of an extensive sewer system.
Written by Sir Richard.

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