Since the beginning of people, society has had to deal with the problem of getting rid of waste. Everybody pees and everybody poops, but the question of where has been an issue for centuries. The history of the toilet is an interesting one. Here are some highlights. 

The Chamber Pot Problem

Until toilets were built in or outside of homes, most people used a chamber pot that was kept under the bed. When the chamber pot was full, the user simply dumped the contents right out of the window and onto the streets below. This led to some seriously smelly and unsanitary conditions in places like London and Paris. 


The first indoor plumbing systems were based on the simple idea that water, and other fluid substances, flows downward. Using this knowledge, ancient castles were outfitted with a series of tubes and tunnels that sent waste down into a cesspool, a moat or right onto the ground below. 

Some Medieval castles skipped the tubes altogether and simply had small rooms that hung from the sides of the castle walls. Residents of the castle simply situated themselves over a hole and dropped their waste into the air like birds. Members of the lower classes just relieved themselves in the streets or in a river. 

Roman Bathhouses

Many men wonder why women often go to the bathroom together, but it was the ancient Romans who turned using the bathroom into a social activity. The community toilets in Rome were built to serve hundreds of people at the same time. The Baths of Caracella is said to be the largest of these bathhouses and had room for a staggering 1600 users at one time. 

The First Flush

The flushing toilet was invented in 1596 when Sir John Harrington invented the water closet. His device was based on tubes where waste would flow downward, but it also included a valve that could be turned as needed. Queen Elizabeth I had one installed in her palace, creating the setting for the first royal flush. 

Spending a Penny

In 19th century England, the phrase "spend a penny" meant that one was going to the bathroom. This is because the first public toilets were built in London in 1851, and customers paid a penny for each use. 

The Crapper Myth

Many people believe that the modern toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper, but that isn't exactly true. Thomas Crapper did have a very successful plumbing company in England during the late 19th century and was asked to install toilets in several of the royal palaces. The euphemism is said to have been adopted by soldiers in World War I who were passing through London and saw signs for Crapper's company. 

No TP Necessary

Toilet paper did not become commonly used until the turn of the 20th century when the American Scott brothers began selling it on convenient rolls.It took some time for people to get over being embarrassed about buying toilet paper, although modern people would be more embarrassed to be without it. 

Toilets in Entertainment

The hit film Psycho was the first to show a toilet in a movie scene, and it was considered a bit shocking to some. Leave it to Beaver was the first television show to have a visible toilet, and The Brady Bunch was notorious for not having a toilet in the house at all. 

Flush for the Environment

Toilet technology continues to progress. Canadians can help save natural resources, save money on water bills and even get government rebates by choosing new toilets designed to use far less water than their older counterparts. 

The ability to find relief in a modern toilet is something that most people take for granted, but toilets and other waste removal systems plumbers, like from Plumb Perfect Ltd, take care of have come a long way since they were first developed. The next time you flush, be thankful for the evolution of the toilet.