The modern toilet is one of the most useful innovations known to man. The history of the toilet is one that dates back to 3,000 B.C. Scotland. During this time period, people lived in stone settlements with drains built into the walls, which historians believe were used for toiletry purposes. In 1,700 B.C. Crete, earthenware pots were used as toilets. These latrines were connected to a plumbing system with water being carried through terra cotta pipes. Toilet technology this impressive wasn't seen again until the 16th century.
Toilets in Ancient Rome
The bathhouses of ancient Rome were spectacular for their time period. Here, 1,600 people could use the facilities at one time. When it came to answering the “call of nature,” Romans were a bit more barbaric. Despite the city's 144 public bathrooms equipped with rudimentary toilet benches, the majority of citizens simply tossed their bodily waste into the street.
The First Flushable Toilet
The world's first flushable toilet was invented in 1596 by John Harrington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I. Harrington only made two prototypes — one for the queen and one for himself. Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth believed the sound of the flushing would alert the palace of her toileting habits and was too embarrassed to ever use the invention. Harrington was mocked by his peers for his innovation, and the world didn't see another toilet with flushing capabilities until about 200 years later.
Toilets in the 18th and 19th Century
Many people attribute the modern porcelain toilet to John Crapper, a man whose surname has become synonymous with the lavatory. Although Crapper was a plumbing supply store owner who purchased a patent for a porcelain toilet system, he was not the inventor of this innovation. Watchmaker Alexander Cummings is actually the one to thank for inventing the modern flush toilet in 1775. During the Victorian Era (1837-1901) the working class sat on holes cut into wooden benches and positioned over an ash-filled pit to relieve themselves, with one or two of these benches available per street. The Victorian upper class enjoyed cisterns with siphonic flush pans in their home lavatories.
The Future of the Modern Toilet
What does the future hold when it comes to the humble toilet? Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto hosted a recent exhibition at the London Design Festival showcasing self-cleaning toilets with germ-killing technology that are also designed to conserve water. In California, a movement to recycle once-wasted flushed water into drinking water hopes to provide a solution to the drought problem. While the future of toilets remains to be seen, one thing is certain — the toilets of the future will be more luxurious, yet more efficient, than ever before.
If you're ever having toilet troubles in your Salt Lake City home call Valle Plumbing & Drain Cleaning at 801-341-4222!