Who Invented The Toilet

Some people often mistakenly think that it was certain Thomas Crapper who invented the toilet about 300 years ago. That is an urban myth.

There was a Thomas Crapper, a plumber who apparently had several patents, but he did not ‘invent’ what we know today as the toilet.

In fact the toilet was invented over two thousand years ago, and remnants of ancient toilets have been found in India, China and even Egypt. These toilets did use water, and were built on clay bricks linked to a drainage system, but did not have the famous ‘flush’ mechanism that we know and use today.

Interestingly enough, what we know as toilet paper, was a Chinese invention and came quite a while before the toilet!

When people want to find out who invented the toilet, they are normally thinking about the modern ‘flush’ toilet. The flush toilet was a dramatic step forward in modern sanitation (sanitation is only a fairly modern concept) and was invented in 1596 by a certain John Harrington. But that was only a step towards the modern toilet that we know today.

Several other inventors and designers paved the way for the system that we use today. I won’t bore you with names and dates, but to know who invented the toilet means appreciating that several people stood on each other’s shoulders (thankfully not literally) to take us where we are today in terms of efficiency, hygiene, sanitation, and civil engineering.

These days we find all different types of toilet inventions, from those that produce nice smells after flushing, to those that produce white noise or light music so that people don’t need to worry about that kind of thing!

In the last century there has been an absolute explosion of patents and inventions that have improved our bathroom activities, and in the new century we can look forward to many more.