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The invention that modernised the flushing toilets 150 years ago

Sara Spary

crapper blogs1 225x300 The invention that modernised the flushing toilets 150 years agoNo, it’s not toilet speak, the average person really does spend three years of their life in the loo.

It’s not something often discussed in open dialogue, but the average person will visit the loo 2,500 times in a lifetime, and between six and eight times a day.

Yesterday, 13 January, marked the 150 years of plumber Thomas Crapper’s invention, which would greatly enhance and modernise the toilets – he invented the one-piece pedestal for the flushing toilet, which revolutionised the way that they work.

Nowadays Mr Crapper might be best known for a certain four-lettered derivative of his surname, but he’s widely credited with having transformed the toilet into how we know it today.

He took out nine patents against inventions he’d made to improve bathroom facilities, and is even believed to have been the first to display toilets in a shop window on Marlborough Street, the existence of which is said to have made ladies of a particular sensitivity faint at the very sight.

crapper2 225x300 The invention that modernised the flushing toilets 150 years agoVulgar indeed, but thanks to Thomas Crapper and his inventions, toilets are not only vastly more pleasant, but they play an important role in ensuring that our homes and public places are far better sanitized, limiting the spread of diseases.

It might be hard to imagine living without a toilet, but the fact is that it’s still something billions of people have to live without. According to charity WaterAid, two fifths of the world’s population continues to live without access to an adequate toilet.

Chief Executive of WaterAid, Barbara Frost, said: “This is more than just an inconvenience for the 2.5 billion people affected; it exposes them to disease, lack of privacy, and indignity.

“Clean water and safe toilets are key to safer, healthier lives.”

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  • Junius

    This is a most interesting and informative blog, Ms Spary, which cannot be said for many. If I have one quibble, it is that the certain derivative of Mr Crapper’s name is almost certainly four-lettered, not five.

    If I have a second quibble, it is that you might have made suggestions as to how we could more usefully spend our time during our three years on the throne. Learn origami using the toilet roll for material is the only one I can come up with. No doubt other readers can offer better suggestions.


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