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Who Invented the Toilet and When? History of the Toilet!

toilet for disableed

Few could argue that toilets have revolutionized hygiene and sanitation across the globe. But who invented this life-saving device, and when? The first flushable toilet was invented by Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming in 1775. His design featured a U-shaped trap that allowed water to flow into the bowl, flushing away waste.

Today, toilets are a commonplace item in households around the world. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, the toilet as we know it is a relatively recent invention in the long history of the world. And there have been many improvements over the years!

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Toilets Through the Ages

The 1800s

In fact, Cumming’s design was later improved upon by English inventor Joseph Bramah, who patented the first ‘water closet’ in 1778. Bramah’s design featured a flush valve and a floating ballcock to control the flow of water into the bowl.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the modern toilet as we know it began to take shape. In 1885, the humorously named Thomas Crapper (really!) patented the ‘trap and ball valve’ system, which is still used in many toilets today.

Since then, toilets have undergone numerous iterations and improvements. But at their core, they still use the same basic principle invented by Alexander Cumming over 200 years ago.

The 1900s

The 1900s saw, perhaps, the most significant changes to toilet design in history. These changes were mostly modernizations of pre-existing technology. Moreover, the toilet enjoyed significant improvements in comfort and convenience.

One of the most important toilet inventions of the 20th century was the U-trap. This device prevents foul odors from escaping into the room by using a water seal. The S-trap was actually invented by Alexander Cumming, but it was Thomas Crapper who improved this trap design, eventually becoming the U-trap.

The 2000s and Beyond

elongated toilet with wall handle bar
Image By: Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd., Unsplash

So, what does the future hold for toilets? Well, if current trends are anything to go by, we can expect ever-more efficient and water-saving designs. In Japan, “waterless” urinals are becoming increasingly popular in public places such as stadiums, while in the UK, “low flush” toilets are now the norm in new buildings.

In terms of design and aesthetics, we can expect to see an increasing trend towards minimalist, sleek lines and a more “high-tech” feel. Many manufacturers are now offering toilets with built-in speakers and LED lighting, while some even come with heated seats!

So there you have it: a brief history of the toilet. From its humble beginnings as a crude pit or hole in the ground to the sophisticated and high-tech designs of today, the toilet has come a long way. Who knows what else the future holds for this most essential of inventions?

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Toilet Trivia!

Impress your friends with your knowledge of sanitation history with these fun facts about the toilet.

Who invented the toilet?

The toilet was invented by Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming in 1775.

How did the toilet come to be?

Cumming was granted a patent for his design of a flushable, water-based Toilet on May 27, 1775. His design used an S-shaped trap that allowed water to flow into the bowl, flushing waste away.

Composting Toilet in home
Image By: Composting Toilet, Shutterstock

When was the first toilet installed?

The first “in-home” toilet was installed in England in the late 1500s. It was specially installed for the Queen. However, it proved to be unpopular, and the traditional “pot” system was restored.

What if I have plumbing issues with my toilet?

Fortunately, there are numerous services available today that can help you get out of a jam. Services like Angi Plumbing can be found online and you can send a professional to your home to help you with any number of plumbing issues, big or small.

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We hope this article enlightened you on some toilet history facts. Granted, this may not be a topic a lot of people are drawn to. However, the modern toilet revolutionized hygiene and convenience when nature calls. So, anytime you need to use the toilet, you can appreciate it even more!

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Featured Image Credit: Marcel Derweduwen, Shutterstock


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