History of the toilet
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History Of The Toilet. By Jaelon Sykes. Going Inside.

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History of the toilet

History Of The Toilet

By Jaelon Sykes

Going inside
Going Inside

  • About 2500 Bc:The Harappan city dwellers of the Indus Valley (present-day India and Pakistan) build the earliest known indoor toilets. The toilets, which do not flush, empty into a brick-lined sewer system. This plumbing technology is lost to the region when the cities are invaded around 1500 BC. For thousands of years to come, most advances in toilet technology will take place in Europe.

Royal flush
Royal Flush

  • About 1500 bc: Plumbers on the Greek island of Crete install the world's first flush toilet in the queen's bathroom. When the queen flushes, a tankful of rainwater is released into the bowl and washes her doings down clay pipes that run through the palace. Unfortunately, an earthquake destroys the royal house around 1400 Ac. It will be many centuries before toilet technology rises to this level again.

Really public bathrooms
Really Public Bathrooms

  • About 800 bc: In Rome, construction of the Cloaca Maxima takes place. It's an enormous sewer system that carries the city's waste to the Tiber River Citizens use public toilets built above the sewer. As many as 11,000 seats are lined up in rectangular rooms along stone henches--with no partitions for privacy. For wiping, there's a sponge on the end of a stick. Just one, though: Roman latrine-users have to share.

This job is the pitts
This Job is the pitts

  • 1300 AD: By now many Europeans are doing their business in outhouses, tiny sheds with a seat built over a deep hole in the ground. About this time, an English outhouse-cleaner known as Richard the Raker meets an unpleasant end: While cleaning out the smelly waste that has built up in the pit under his own outhouse, Richard falls through the rotted wood floor and drowns "monstrously in his own excrement."

Heads up
Heads up

  • toss 1500s: Many European city­ dwellers relieve themselves indoors in a bowl called a chamber pot. When the pot is full, they just the contents out the window, shouting "Gardy-loo!" (from the bench gardezl'eau, which means "watch out for the water") to warn anybody unlucky enough to be walking below.

  • A Charmin’ Idea

A charmin idea
A Charmin Idea

  • 1857: Joseph Gayetty of New York introduces toilet paper. Each sheet is proudly printed with Gayetty's signature. Before this, people used whatever they could find, including dried corncobs and pages from catalogs.

Bathroom reading
Bathroom Reading

  • 1672: Devoted readers who don't have time to leave the library can buy a fancy chamber pot disguised as a stack of books, one of the most popular models of chamber pots in France.

Stop making scents
Stop Making Scents

  • 1775: An English watchmaker named Alexander Cummings patents a device known as the S-trap, and the modern flush toilet is-finally born. The S-trap is a valve that keeps the bowl filled with water. Unlike earlier models, it allows poop to go down without letting smells come up.

Sculptured seats
Sculptured Seats

  • 1885: Englishman Thomas Twyford introduces the Unitas, the first one­Piece, all-ceramic toilet The new john eliminates the leaky joints that made earlier wood-and-metal models smelly. These ceramic toilets catch on quickly; many are covered with elaborate decorations or molded into the shapes of animals such as lions and dolphins.

Minding your buisness
Minding Your Buisness

  • 1999: The Matsushita Electronic Industrial Company of Japan previews a toilet that's smarter than you are. The high-tech bowl measures your weight and body-fat con­tent, and chemical sensors inside analyze your output for information about your health. Toilet scientists expect the clever pot to be on the market in a few years.