Who Invented the Toilet?

The name Thomas Crapper is bound to come up whenever people discuss who invented the toilet. Sometimes it is given with serious consideration while others only take delight in the pun regarding his name. Thomas Crapper was a sanitary engineer who contributed to the design of the modern day flush toilet. However, it is interesting that there have been toilets in existence even thousands of years ago.

Origin from Crete

The earliest possible hint we have as to who invented the toilet dates back up to around 4,000 years into the past. There are those who theorize that an unnamed Minoan, which means a local of Crete, is the inventor of today’s toilet. However, an unknown and unnamed Minoan won’t give us who invented the toilet. At least we now know that as early as 2,500 B.C. seated toilets have been in use, which means that such toilets also had a drainage system.

John Harrington

Next among the theories on who invented the toilet comes John Harrington in the 16th Century. He was quite an unfortunate earl who angered Queen Elizabeth. Part of his works include a translation of Orlando Furioso, which was noted to have been done with both perseverance and skill.

In relation to the question of who invented the toilet, Sir John Harrington published The Metamorphosis of Ajax, which is one of a trio of works that was published in succession in 1596. It contained the supposedly very first design of a water closet.

Alexander Cumming

The origin of the toilet takes another turn as Alexander Cumming comes into the scene. He is the first to patent a flushing device in 1775. His invention was a forerunner of the toilets we use today.

Thomas Crapper

He was a sanitary engineer born in 1837. Many people credit the invention of the valve and siphon system to him; however that is still under debate.

George Jennings and Thomas Twyford

Both men made contributions to the advancement in plumbing mechanisms. George Jennings popularized the use of public lavatories by 1858. He was able to introduce novelties by installing such for the Great Exhibition in 1851. Thousands were in attendance and paid to use the said devices.

By 1870 Thomas Twyford introduced a design that had no metal parts in it. Twyford was credited with quite a revolutionary design of what we call the one piece toilet. His design eliminated leaky joints, which was a problem among early designs.

Crediting the Invention

With so many contributors it would be quite hard to identify who invented the toilet. What we can rather point out is a process where many gave their contributions to the modern day flush toilet.

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