It's the centerpiece of every bathroom. It's where many of us do our best thinking. It's the good ol' toilet. But it's not just a piece of porcelain sculpture filled with water. The toilet actually has a long and fascinating history. The Horizon Comfort Zone has collected some little-known factoids about the toilet. The next time you head to the seat of honor to take care of business, keep these facts in mind...and you'll be flush with knowledge!
Who Invented the Flush Toilet?
The concept of a flushable toilet -- in which water is used to clean the bowl after its use -- has been around for about 4,000 years! According to archaeologists, the palace at Knossos, Crete (built way back around 2000 B.C.) contained latrines that were cleaned by water stored in a reservoir and delivered to the bowl through a piping system. Similar devices were also used in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome.
Toilets using a chain to open a valve and deliver water to the bowl were well in use in England by 1775. These devices were usually built into small closets. To this day, people in the United Kingdom frequently refer to the bathroom as the "water closet" or "W.C."
The kind of flush toilet we're most familiar with today was designed in the late 1800s by an Englishman named, appropriately, Thomas Crapper. Crapper's toilet was the first to employ a device that would automatically stop the water from flowing into the reservoir after it was filled. Before this, many people would leave the water flowing continually to clean the bowl.
For more information, check out History of Toilets!
Fun Toilet Tidbits You Can Share at Your Next Party or Social Gathering!
- Over five billion gallons of water are flushed down toilets each day in the United States.
- The average toilet is flushed eight times a day.
- The toilet uses more water than any other home appliance.
- The average person uses the toilet 6-8 times per day or 2500 times a year.
- The average person will spend three years of his or her life on the toilet
- Women, on average, take three times longer than men when using the toilet.
- The average life expectancy of a toilet is 50 years.
- Most toilets flush in the key of E flat.
- The first toilet tank ever seen on a TV show was on Leave it to Beaver.
- The first toilet being flushed in a motion picture was in the film Psycho
- The first toilet stall in a public washroom is the least likely to be used. It is also the cleanest.
- The French King Louis XIII (1601-1643) had a toilet built under his throne and was known to receive visitors while sitting on the toilet.
- 40% of the world's population has no access to toilets.
- The first commercially available toilet paper was developed in England in 1880 and sold not on a roll, but as individual sheets in a box
- The Scott Paper Company of Chester, PA produced the first toilet paper to be available on a roll in 1890.
- According to a survey by Kimberly-Clark, men prefer to fold their toilet paper and women prefer to wad it.
- According to studies, an average roll of toilet paper lasts about five days in the bathroom.
- Americans use an average of 57 sheets of toilet paper a day.
- On average, the Pentagon goes through 666 rolls of toilet paper in one day.
- Only 30% of people in the world use toilet paper.
Some Well-Known People Who Died While on the Toilet
- Heliogabalus; Roman emperor (204-222 A.D.). Murdered by his bodyguards.
- Arius; Christian theologian and heretic (256-336).
- Edmund II; King of England (980-1016).
- James I; King of Scotland (1394-1437). Assassinated.
- Henry III; King of France. (1551-1589). Assassinated.
- Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex; English politician (1631-1683). Committed suicide on the toilet while imprisoned in the Tower of London.
- George II; King of England (1683-1760). After a breakfast of hot chocolate.
- Catherine the Great; Russian empress. (1729 - 1796). Died of a stroke.
- Lenny Bruce; American comedian (1925-1966). Heroin overdose.
- Evelyn Waugh; English novelist (1903 - 1966). Obsesity and drug abuse
- Elvis Presley; American singer (1935-1977). Arrythmia caused by abuse of prescription drugs.
- Don Simpson; American film producer (1943 - 1996). Drug overdose.
Other Popular Names for the Toilet:
- Porcelain Altar
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