Who Invented the Water Closet?
Probably one of the most important inventions for all times, the water closet was first thought to be a brainchild of the British. And one name had stood out the most when it came to who invented the water closet.
Thomas Crapper was a plumber in London in the 19th century. Though some historians today doubt his credibility as the person who invented the water closet, most of traditional plumbing history still honors him as the first water closet maker. He was said to have set up toilets, especially the U-bend trap he patented, for Queen Victoria.
Sir John Harington
But earlier on, in 1596, a noted inventor was said to be the man who invented the water closet which he made for special use by his godmother, Queen Elizabeth. It was then a most ridiculous thing to invent, so it was made the joke of the day. Consequently, Sir John Harington set it aside and never built another one. However, he and Queen Elizabeth went on using it for toilet convenience. This is another version of the first water closet maker.
Some 200 years after Harrington, Alexander Cummings introduced the sliding valve contraption. This expedited waste water transfer from the bowl to the U-trap. This was definitely a breakthrough added on to the original work of the man who invented the water closet, as this version asserts.
Samuel Prosser and Joseph Bramah
In 1777, the plunger closet was introduced. Another first water closet maker, this time with a patented plunger, was Samuel Prosser. After a year, Joseph Brahma introduced the first ballcock prototype. Ballcock was a hinge placed at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Brahma installed a lot of this in ships and boats. Prosser and Brahma contributed much to the first model that the person who invented the water closet made.
In 1885 came the modern toilet bowl, and Thomas Twyford was the man who invented the water closet with modern features that people today are familiar with. Most bowls then were made of metal and wood. Not the Tywford type. It was of sturdy china porcelain, the first of its kind. It worked perfectly for a hygienic and pleasant-looking toilet device. He was a potter.
Ancient Chinese Water Closet
But claims to a British first invention where toilet bowls are concerned are seriously contested by a recent discovery in China. A Han Dynasty latrine relic used in 206 BC was found equipped with running water supply, an armrest, and a stone bowl. It was something similar to what is commonly used today.
In Shaggui County a multi-roomed stone area was found with toilet facilities resembling modern ones. Thus, in all probability, a Chinese was the first water closet maker who preceded the acknowledged Englishmen who invented the water closet in their days by several centuries.