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There is a Potty Going On!

Posted on 04/24/14
Potty Toilet Stress RelieverNothing says "take all the time you need to figure this out" like a memo attached to a stress-relieving toilet. Where else can a person achieve an uninterrupted state of peace and quiet? A promotional potty will not soon be forgotten. The toilet has historically been known by countless names, including "loo," "john," "crapper" and many more. Where did these names come from?

A History of the Toilet

Cultures place great value on items with many synonyms, so the value of the toilet must be high, but where did it all begin? According to Time Magazine, the toilet as we know it may date back as far as 3,000 B.C. These Neolithic Scottish structures consisted of stone huts equipped with drains in the walls, though we're not totally sure if these were made for bathroom needs. Ancient Greece and Rome were a little more advanced, with the former using earthenware pans that connected to pipes for a water supply. Rome is well known for its famous public bathhouses.

In Medieval England, the "garderobe," a room that protruded from the castle with a small opening that let human waste drop into a moat below, was common with royalty. Peasants were treated quite differently and were forced to use communal privies or relieve themselves directly into the Thames.

The 1500s introduced modern sanitation in Europe with the introduction of the "water closet." This consisted of a cistern attached to a water pipe. By the end of the 1700s, the flushable toilet was catching on. By the late 1800s, London plumber Thomas Crapper was constructing legitimate lavatories in palaces, showing off his designs in showrooms around the region, which historians believe the toilet nickname "crapper" came from. The 20th century showed much more progress, with flushable valves and toilet paper rolls, and, later on, the low-flow toilet model for higher energy efficiency.

Where Did All Those Names Come From?

What about the other terms for the toilet? Here are a few answers:

  • The term john may have originated from the risqué poet Sir John Harrington, who created the first true flushing toilet, a model he called the Ajax.
  • Loo is a little more complex, with a few different theories about its etymology. Perhaps it came from the French phrase Gardez l'eau, translated as "watch out for the water," which people may have called out as they dropped waste from the windows of their homes, or even James Joyce's Ulysses later on in the 1900s, which referred to "Waterloo, water closet." There are many more, and they remain debated to this day!

Author: Robert Stillman CEO

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