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The History of the Toilet

Greenwood PlumberToilet Technology

The toilet or commode is a sanitation device used mainly for the disposal of human waist. Though it is not clear who first invented the toilet, the earliest known contenders for the title are the Greeks and the Scots.

The Neolithic settlement Skara Brae, of the Scottish mainland which dates back to 3,000 B.C., has stone huts equipped with drains leading from recesses in the walls, feature historians believe were for the resident's bathroom needs.

The Island of Crete

On the island of Crete in the Palace of Knossos which dates back to around 1,700 B.C., are undeniable remains of latrines with appropriately sized earthenware pots built into the walls with a water supply that ran through terra-cotta (baked earth) pipes.

Ancient Rome was famously known for their commitment to hygiene having public bathhouses and public toilets. Still, with the worlds largest public restrooms, many Romans just simply threw their feces and urine into the streets. When in doubt throw it out.

Medieval England wins the gold medal for the most disgusting display for its invention of the castle garderobe (medieval toilet) which is a protruding room with a small opening from which royalty would do their bathroom business.

The Garderobe

The garderobe was commonly suspended over a moat which collected every manner of human discards. This well-known hurdle was particularly uninviting for any invading army's.

Surfs and peasants would relieve themselves in communal privies (public outhouses) located at the end of each street. In other cases such as those living along the London Bridge, their relief went right into the River Thames.

Greenwood Toilet-HistoryEventually, public toilets and Garderobes would be replaced with something a little more identifiable with current defecators; a bowl with a lid.

France's Louis XI kept his toilet hid behind curtains (as should we all) and scented his bathroom with herbs. Elizabeth I of England added some character covering her commode in velvet and lace.

The Sanitation Action

By 1596, England had leaped into modern sanitation action when Sir John Harrington, the godson of Elizabeth I, published the Metamorphosis of Ajax, where he describes a new kind of water closet; using a raised cistern with a small pipe for water to run down when released by a valve.

In the 1880s, Prince Edward of England who would later become King Edward VII hired a prominent plumber of London named Thomas Crapper to construct lavatories in several royal palaces.

Though Crapper patented many bathroom-related inventions, he may not have actually invented the modern toilet.

Since then, has really taken off since the 20th century with flushable valves and water tanks that rest on top of the bowl rather than several feet above.

If you live in the Greenwood area, and are having toilet troubles, Call Johnson Heating & Cooling at (317) 881-7738 and find out how you can get your toilet back!