^UP^ to Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper index.
Chapters: ABCDEFGHIJK L MNOPRSTUVWYZ Extracts from Adam Hart-Davis's book.
(Buy the book from Micheal O'Mara Books, ISBN 1-85479-250-4,
or in the US, ISBN 1570760810.)
For at least 500 years a lavatory was a room for
washing, a basin, a bath, or a laundry.
After about 1850 (OED) lavatory came to mean also a
receptacle into which a person can urinate or defacate. In the
sanitaryware business today, a lavatory is a wash-basin; a bowl
for excretion is a closet; seeeuphemisms.
Women are apparently irritated by
men leaving the seat up; so some bright spark in the USA has
invented a loo that lights up in the dark. When the infrared
sensor detects a person approaching, the light glows green if the
seat is down and red if it is up.
The locks on lavatory doors---at least the kind with a rack and pinion that
moved a label to say ENGAGED when the lavatory was occupied---were invented
by Arthur Ashwell. He took out a patent in 1882 (No 781), and another, for
an improved version, in 1885 (No 6928). The improved mechanism was better
designed and easier to fit. Furthermore it not only incorporated a hidden
spring "which renders the action of the bolt smooth and noiseless", but
also allowed for notches to be included for locks on board sea-going
vessels to "remove the liability of the bolt to be shot or withdrawn by
the rolling of the vessel at sea".
In 1995, according to the Evening Standard,
Greater London boasted 3,226,909 household lavatories, but
13,816 households had no inside toilet.
Text extracts from "Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper" copyright (c) Adam Hart-Davis 1997.
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Site content copyright (c) Damon Hart-Davis 1997--2018 unless otherwise stated.