Happy Thomas Crapper Day!

Thomas_CrapperThomas Crapper

January 27 is Thomas Crapper day! Who is Thomas crapper? Contrary to popular belief Thomas crapper was not the inventor of the toilet, John Harrington was. Thomas crapper was the one that made the flushable toilet popular with “Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd”.

Crapper held nine patents, three of them for water closet improvements such as the floating ballcock, but none was for the flush toilet itself. Thomas Crapper’s advertisements implied the siphonic flush was his invention; one having the text “Crapper’s Valveless Water Waste Preventer (Patent #4,990) One movable part only”, but patent 4990 (for a minor improvement to the water waste preventer) was not his, but that of Albert Giblin in 1898. Crapper’s nephew, George, did improve the siphon mechanism by which the water flow is started. A patent for this development was awarded in 1897.

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A little plumbing history

Ever wonder why hot water is always on the left and cold water is on the right but yet the cold water supply line on your toilet is on the left? It all started with the introduction of indoor plumbing in the 19th century. Before hot water became available, cold water was the only option. Instead of the faucets we know today, back then faucets were operated by a hand pump. Being that most people are right handed, the placement of the faucet naturally fell on the right side of the sink. Upon the invention of the hot water faucet, the only space available to place it was on the left side of the sink. And thus ‘hot on the left’ and ‘cold on the right’ was born. But what about ‘cold on the left’ when it comes to the toilet? Much like today’s toilets, the original flushable toilets were designed with a tank to hold water and a bowl to receive and flush away your…..well, you get the idea. The main difference was that in order to flush the toilet back then you would reach up behind you while sitting on the toilet and pull a handle on a chain that was connected to the flush tank high above your head. Again, getting back to the fact that most people are right handed, the chain was placed on the right side of the toilet as you were sitting on it. And there you have it.

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