History of the Toilet

The history of the toilet is surprisingly interesting. Generally when you think of the toilet, you don't consider that it could have a rich history. If you're interested in learning about the history of the toilet, here is a brief rundown.

As with the history of many things other than the toilet, the truth behind its origin is often disputed and not quite clear. The toilet has been around for thousands of years, in various manifestations.

Originally, the toilet was something reserved only for the wealthy. Commoners simply went in pots or bowls in the ground. Traces of the original toilet are seen in different cultures around the world, without one really taking claim to inventing the toilet. However, the first record of a person owning a flushing toilet was King Minos of Crete in roughly 800 B.C.

Toilets maintained their rugged stature until the late 1500s. During this time period the Romans developed plumbing and sewers.

Thomas Crapper has commonly been thought to have invented the toilet (hence the nickname the "crapper") but the toilet actually came about a couple of hundred years before Thomas Crapper was even born.

The first toilet was really invented in 1596 by a man named Sir John Harrington. The Queen of England's godson, Harrington was a British nobleman and engineer. Sir Harrington's major contribution to the toilet was a valve which could release water from the toilet when pulled.

In 1775 the first patent for the flushing toilet was issued. This went to Alexander Cummings.

Crapper did play a role in the development of the modern toilet. He was a successful plumber and owned his own business. One of his employees, Albert Gilblin, held the patent for the world's first truly effective toilet. Crapper bought the rights to this from Gilblin and marketed it himself.

Indoor plumbing became something that could be found outside of the homes of the wealthy in 1840 when the Tremont Hotel in Boston built eight bathrooms.

The toilet has changed only in minor ways since the early 1900s, moving to the closed tank and bowl that we know today. Only the design changes now, with designers making toilets more like works of art.

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