5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

The History of the Toilet From the Stone Age Until Today

Did you know that toilets save lives? Without them, dangerous diseases would spread incredibly fast. Today, it’s hard to imagine a modern home without a toilet, but how exactly was it invented?

We at 5-Minute Crafts decided to find out the answer to this question and want to share it with you.

How it all started

The simplest, 2-channel sewage system, made from rock and bark, was found in Scotland. It was built around 3000 BCE. Domestic wastewater had been used for irrigation by prehistoric civilizations (Mesopotamian, Indus Valley, and Minoan) since the Bronze Age (circa 3200-1100 BCE). After them, wastewater was also used by Hellenic civilizations and later, by Romans. In Ancient Rome, the Cloaca Maxima was invented.

The Chinese ancient toilet was a system where you had to go into a cabin and use the toilet. Then the waste would fall down through a hole into a cesspool near the pigpen.

In Medieval England, the so-called potties were widely used. The wealthiest people had a “garderobe” — a protruding room with an opening for waste. This is where the name comes from — because robes were stored there to scare away fleas and other parasites. In London at that time, there was a giant public toilet people could use, and the waste would flow right into the Thames. The garderobes and public toilets were finally replaced with a box that had a seat and lid that covered a porcelain or copper pot for waste. It was used until the nineteenth century.

In the sixteenth century, Sir John Harington invented the flushable toilet. Unfortunately, his invention remained unnoticed until Alexander Cumming developed an S-shaped pipe under the toilet to prevent unpleasant smells from coming up.

Later, Thomas Crapper improved the S-shaped pipe by turning it into a U-shaped pipe.

Modern history

Technology is always developing, and many modern toilets have an automatic flush, and sealed vacuum toilets can be found on planes and trains. They are already widely used in Japan. Some of these toilets turn the waste into compost to use in gardens. There are even folding toilets.

High-tech toilets look more like spaceships than toilets, and they can flush automatically, hide noises, and even play music. Some have the function of a bidet. Some toilets can even test your urine and poop, and they can even measure your arterial pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar levels. The lid is opened automatically, the seats are heated, and there are fans to get rid of the unpleasant smells. The protective paper can be replaced automatically — and it’s not even that impressive anymore. There are even interactive urinals that allow you to play video games.

There’s even a World Toilet Day. It’s an official international day celebrated by the UN on November 19 to inspire people to do things to overcome the global sanitation crisis.

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