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10058.  Fri Nov 05, 2004 8:47 am Reply with quote

Another nice general ignorance item.

Who invented the flushing toilet? Forfeit answer - Thomas Crapper.

There is, believe it or not, an International Thomas Crapper Society. Dr. Andy Gibbons is its historian and Ken Grabowski is a researcher and author who is writing a book on Crapper’s life. The information here is taken from a website, which got its information from them.

Myth: Thomas Crapper as a person never existed.

Fact: Thomas Crapper probably was born in September 1836, since he was baptized the 28th of that month. Crapper did have a successful career in the plumbing industry in England from 1861 to 1904. Although January 17 is Thomas Crapper Day, Gibbons established the date of his death as January 27, 1910.

Myth: Thomas Crapper invented the toilet.

Fact:He held nine patents, four for improvements to drains, three for water closets, one for manhole covers and the last for pipe joints. Every patent application for plumbing related products filed by Crapper made it through the process, and actual patents were granted. However, the most famous product attributed to Thomas Crapper wasn't invented by him at all. The "Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer" (No. 814) was a symphonic discharge system that allowed a toilet to flush effectively when the cistern was only half full. British Patent 4990 for 1898 was issued to a Mr. Albert Giblin for this product.

One theory for the association of Crapper with this product is that Giblin worked for Crapper as an employee and authorized his use of the product. The second, and more likely scenario, says Grabowski, is that Crapper bought the patent rights from Giblin and marketed the device himself.

Myth: Thomas Crapper never was a plumber.

Fact. Oh yes he was. He operated two of the three Crapper plumbing shops in his lifetime, but left the business three years before the final and most famous facility on Kings Road in London.

Myth: The word "crap" is derived from Thomas Crapper's name.

Fact. The origin of crap is still being debated. Possible sources include the Dutch Krappe; Low German krape meaning a vile and inedible fish; Middle English crappy, and Thomas Crapper. Where crap is derived from Crapper, it is by a process known as, pardon the pun, a back formation.

The World War I doughboys passing through England brought together Crapper's name and the toilet. They saw the words T. Crapper-Chelsea printed on the tanks and coined the slang "crapper" meaning toilet.

from : Plumbing and Mechanical magazine, June 1993

11692.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:31 pm Reply with quote

Wasn't Crapper made famous through a book written by a very funny man. His name? No idea...But this very same man wrote another humourous account of another man, this person he invented, and claimed that this man had invented something as equally important as the flush.

Dammit I cannot remember.

I do seem to recall reading that it was actually the Chinese who invented a flushing toilet of some sort.

11693.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:33 pm Reply with quote

Ah here is something....

July 26, 2000
BEIJING (Reuters) - China has flushed Britain's claims to have invented the water closet down the pan with the discovery of a 2,000-year-old toilet complete with running water, a stone seat and a comfortable armrest.

Archaeologists found the antique latrine in the tomb of a king of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD), who believed his soul would need to enjoy human life after death, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

"This top-grade stool is the earliest of its kind ever discovered in the world, meaning that the Chinese used the world's earliest water closet which is quite like what we are using today," Xinhua quoted the archaeologists' report as saying.

"It was a great invention and a symbol of social civilization of that time," Xinhua said.

The invention of the flush toilet is widely attributed to London plumber Thomas Crapper, who patented a U-bend siphoning system for flushing the pan in the late 19th century, and who also installed toilets for Queen Victoria.

Among other inventions claimed by China are toilet paper, fireworks, gunpowder, the compass, paper money, kites, printing and the clock.

The toilet tomb was discovered in Shangqiu county in the central province of Henan, Xinhua said.

Archaeologists also found a queen consort's stone tomb, more than 690 feet long and consisting of more than 30 rooms including a bathroom, toilet, kitchen and an ice-store.


11696.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:42 pm Reply with quote

The BBC'S story is slightly better:

Archaeologists have discovered what they say is one of the world's oldest known water closets in the 2,000-year-old tomb of a king in central China.
The stone toilet was provided with a seat and arm-rest and could be flushed with piped water.

The Chinese archaeologists said it was one of a number of amenities provided for the king in his after-life.

"This top-grade stool is the earliest of its kind ever discovered in the world, meaning that the Chinese used the world's earliest water closet," they told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

"It was a great invention and a symbol of social civilisation of that time."

Another Chinese invention - toilet paper - came a few decades later.

The first rough version of paper, produced from rags and tree bark, was not invented until about 100 AD.

Thomas Crapper

The ancient latrine, which dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD), was discovered in a tomb in Shangqiu county, Henan province.

Archaeologists also found a queen consort's stone tomb, more than 210 metres (690 feet) long, with more than 30 rooms including a bathroom, toilet, kitchen and ice-store.

Claims to having pioneered the flush can prove a controversial subject.

London plumber Thomas Crapper, who patented a U-bend siphoning system for flushing the pan in the late 19th century, is widely credited with the development of the first system.

So successful was it that he installed a number of toilets for Queen Victoria.

However others say it had already been invented by Queen Elizabeth I's godson 300 years earlier.

Meanwhile a series of stone closets at the Palace of Knossoss in Crete are regarded by many archaeologists as being the oldest example of flushing technology - dating back to between 3,000 and 1,500 BC.

11698.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:00 pm Reply with quote

Wallace Reyburn is the man!!!

He wrote a book titled: Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper

Thomas Crapper is an elusive figure: Most people familiar with his name know him as a celebrated figure in Victorian England, an ingenious plumber who invented the modern flush toilet; others believe him to be nothing more than a hoax, the whimsical creation of a satirical writer. The truth lies somewhere inbetween.

Much of the confusion stems from a 1969 book by Wallace Reyburn, Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper. Reyburn's "biography" of Crapper has often been dismissed as a complete fabrication, as some of his other works are obvious satirical fiction. Although Flushed with Pride is, like Bust-Up, a tongue-in-cheek work full of puns, jokes, and exaggerations, Reyburn did not invent the person of Thomas Crapper. In Flushed with Pride, Reyburn's satire rests on the framework of a real man's life. Thomas Crapper was not, as Reyburn wrote, the inventor of the flush toilet, a master plumber by appointment to the royals who was knighted by Queen Victoria, or an important figure whose achievements were written up in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and one searches in vain for evidence that contemporary authorities took any notice of Thomas Crapper, for mention of him in biographical dictionaries, or for his obituary notice in the London Times. But although Thomas Crapper may not have been a man of importance to his contemporaries, he was indeed a real person, a sanitary engineer in 19th century London who ran his own plumbing concern, who took out several patents on plumbing-related devices, and whose name can still be spotted on manhole covers around London.

s: Gee snopes is good!

Reyburn wrote another book called, based on a character he created, called:

Bust-Up: The Uplifting Tale of Otto Titzling and the Development of the Bra.

According to an inventive history of the undergarment that is now widely believed, Titzling came to invent the item while living in a New York boardinghouse in 1912. One of his neighbors was a buxom opera singer named Swanhilda Olafson, and the structural engineering problems she presented inspired Titzling to create a contraption to uphold this lady's ample bosom. In the early 1930s, a French fellow named Phillip de Brassiere began producing a similar undergarment. Titzling sued, but Brassiere won in court, and that is why today we call a lady's frontal uplifter a brassiere instead of a titzling.

s: you know who.

Apparently, though I haven't seen it since I was about 7, Bette Midler sings about Otto Titzling and his invention in the movie Beaches and on her album, "Mud Will Be Flung Tonight."

11712.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:41 pm Reply with quote

Good post, Dan.

11713.  Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:46 pm Reply with quote

Cheers, Flashy.


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