The Evolution of Toilets

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Evolution of Toilets

Believe it or not, there was a time when there was a different way to dispose of human waste – and a lot of them are crazy, ridiculous, and gross. These days, people see toilet flushes as something common and normal to have. Technology has even made people’s toilet experiences more convenient with the invention of bidet and other automatic water systems.   In modern times, if your bathroom is having problems in the sink or your toilet, you can easily seek the help of an experienced plumber who can fix your problem instantly. But have you ever wondered how life was when plumbers, toilets, or even a proper sewage system didn’t exist? If you think your toilet flush not working is troublesome, just think of how people used to live a few decades ago.

So, here’s how one of humanity’s greatest achievements evolved throughout the years:

Who really invented the flush toilet?

Even to this day, it is still unclear who to properly give credit when it comes to inventing the first flush toilet. In northwestern India, 4000 year-old archaeological drainage systems were found, although it still unsettled whether or not these could be labeled as toilets. But as far as creating the first toilet, the credit could either go to the Scots – which were found in 3000 BC in Neolithic settlements – or to the Greeks who constructed large clay pans that are all interconnected to a water flushing system found in the Palace of Knossos.

Early Roman Times

In modern times, there could be many reasons as to what girls may do inside the toilet. Some girls take selfies because bathroom lighting is just amazing, and that’s completely acceptable. It was kind of similar back then, with the exception of the selfie part, people actually treated going to the bathroom together as a special social event.

In 315 AD, there were about 144 public toilets, and people would all go there together to converse, exchange political ideas, and just catch up with each other. They would also collectively wipe themselves with a wooden stick as their ‘sponge.’ By the end, this would all flow down to a water channel, which is located exactly in front of the toilets.

Medieval Ages

In medieval England, there is a method they call ‘potties’, which is simply dumping your waste outside your window, and praying it won’t land on your neighbor’s head. The richer would use a slightly elevated room, which is protruded with an opening for waste, and suspended over a trench called a “garderobe”, where people place robes in the area to avoid attracting fleas.

It was illegal to dump your waste outside your window in Medieval England, but peasants still did nonetheless, since it is probably easier for them. For this reason, a huge garderobe made for the public was constructed in London. The garderobe directly empties the waste to the River Thames where they get their water from.

A few years later, garderobes were replaced with ‘commodes’, boxes with a seat covered by a lid made of either porcelain or copper to catch the waste. The Crimson Queen, Elizabeth I was believed to have her commode under the disguise of different herbs to cover the foul smell. It was actually Sir John Harrington, the Queen’s godson, who first invented a water system with a small downpipe that flushes the waste in 1592, but his invention has been overlooked for 200 years.

Victorian Times

There was an increase in the population of Britain in the 19th Century, which also ultimately resulted in an increase of overflowing waste. Yes, there was a time where there were too many people dumping their waste outside that it overflowed on the streets and rivers and would sometimes contaminate the drinking water system. Finally, the government ordered building sewage systems in London. Thomas Crapper was ordered by then Prince Edward to construct more toilets in palaces. He did not really invent the modern toilet, but a lot are patented by his toilet-related works.

Modern Times

The modern bathroom technology made its arrival in the early 20th century. The toilet comes with flushing water valves, with the tank directly on top of the toilets. Edward Johns and Henry Doulton, as well as George Jennings and Thomas Twyford, are the common names with which we could associate the creation of the modern toilet. Automatic flushing systems are also now being widely used in many countries.

Humanity has continued to improve its ways throughout history, thanks to technological advancements. Something as common as going to the bathroom is no exception.


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