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Plumbing History: A Brief Timeline of Toilets 

It is said that Thomas Crapper was the first known man to invent the toilet, and this misconception has been proven to be incorrect. In fact, the first person to invent the flushable toilet was Sir John Harington, who was known as the godson of Queen Elizabeth I. He created this flushable toilet in 1596, the toilet required “7.5 gallons of water to be flushed” the toilet bowl was “two foot deep and was fed by water from the upstairs cistern”. Although Harington did not receive complete credit for being the first to invent the flush toilet, in 1755 a man named Alexander Cumming received the first patent for the flushable toilet with an “S-shaped pipe to prevent sewer gas from leaking out”.

In the 19th century Thomas Crapper was known for selling the finest of “flush toilets”. Although he did not create the toilet, he did developed a refined tank-filling mechanism. People then believed Crapper to be the inventor of the “flush toilet” due to the relativity of his name to the item he sold. The improvement of toilets did not stop here as toilets are still being upgraded to this day. Today, toilets exist with heated seats, music playing toilets, different colors, automatically flushable toilets, and these will continue to be updated as our the future approaches.

Do you have a toilet that needs some TLC? Trust the master plumbers at My Professional Plumber to get things running smoothly. Request a service call today!

A Brief History of the Toilet

Reference: Barksdale, Nate. “Who Invented the Flush Toilet?”. History. 9 September 2017. 19 May 2015.


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