Who’s pulling your chain?Bill Gates or Thomas Crapper
Do you realise that it is 416 years ago this year that Sir John Harrington, eccentric godson of Queen Elizabeth 1st invented his flushing toilet?
The Queen was very impressed and had one installed in Richmond house.
It was incredibly expensive and so deemed that it would never catch on!
So expensive was the cost of installation that later Royals went back to the lazy ways of using chamber pots.
Poor old Harrington was 200years ahead of his time. Just think if his idea had been embraced and marketed back in 1596. Those people who died from cholera in 1848 some 70,000 of them would have been saved and also those who were struck down in the 1870’s with the later outbreaks of typhoid and smallpox. One in three thousand of the British population, Prince Albert among them would have lived. Makes you realise just how important the flushing loo and sanitation is to our good health and well being today.
We have one man really to thank for this. In a bizarre way Thomas Crapper seized a good marketing opportunity and ran with it!
He set up his plumbing business in 1869, just at the right time to take advantage of the boom in public health interest and the building of the sewage works. By designing the valveless waste water preventer, he ensured his name in the history books and in doing so marketed his invention to Royalty and was gratified to install his toilets into Sandringham.
Within a few years Crapper toilets were being fitted into Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.
So who’s pulling the chain now?
Unbelievably the Crapper toilets, basin, taps and wastes can still be bought today. Such was their impact on Edwardian and Victorian society they became an institution which we recognize today and which, with a slight twist to bring them up into the 20th century find themselves almost fashionable again. Those of you who have eaten at one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and have had to use the privy will know exactly what I mean!
A low level cistern with beer engine handle, greets the eye!
No chain there to pull, but the forbearer of the flushing handle. Magic!!!
Strangely enough we in the 21st century have only just woken up to the fact that the loo we are all so familiar with does not work and is completely impractical to 40% of the world’s population.
Our pet porcelain pot flushes on average 1800 flushes a year. Imagine all that water going down the pan!
Our magical source of continuous water just isn’t available for 40% of the globe and so Bill and Miranda Gates have set up a charitable organisation to design and re invent the future loo.
At the “re invent toilet fair” held in august 2012 designers and scientists showed off their ingenious toilet inventions to the world.
Their brief was to create a loo, that doesn’t rely on piped water, sewer or electrical connections. They also had to make something useful out of the waste product!
I have the feeling that chain pulling has just gone out of fashion!!
Among loos that can change poo into charcoal, others used urine for flushing, the winner was a solar powered throne that generated hydrogen gas and electricity from the waste product.
After centuries of loos flushing for the few, we are now making the first tentative steps towards a poverty pot that does the lot!
We are treading in the steps of Harrington and Crapper!
No chains to pull, but with positive tweaking and testing in the years to come we will eventually have a sanitary system that will guarantee 1.5 million children each year will no longer die from diseases produced by poor sanitation and severe lack of toilet facilities.
Well done Harrington for trying and well done Crapper for marketing to the masses, without your foresight our future would have been unbelievably bleak, who knows how many of us would have succumbed to disease and died before we reached adulthood? Am I pulling your chain? No, but it does make you think doesn’t it?
Fact. The oldest working flushing toilet can be found in a small castle in Knosses Greece. Still functioning today an incredible 4000 years after it was built.
This entry was posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 12:27 pm and is filed under Luxury Bathrooms, News, Press & Media, Toilets.