It wasn’t all dusty outhouses in the back forty in the olden days…
People of means had wider options in terms of style and design when it came to the throne.
Some of these oldies were early flushers and others were just pre-plumbing potties with emptying pans.
Let’s rewind a couple centuries and look at some of the earliest toilets: chamber pots.
The flush toilet was actually invented in 1596 but didn’t become widely used until 1851. Before that, human waste receptacles were a variety of communal outhouses, chamber pots and, well, holes in the ground.
Here’s another primitive potty…
Not sure what that extended piece is… book rack? Wine holder? Some type of game to pass the time?
These handsome things are works of art that you could now display in your living room.
It would be a good conversation piece, no?
Look at the beautiful wood!
Now, let’s go a little more modern.
Look up, look way, way up….
These beauties are known as high tank or pull-chain toilets.
They were installed in homes during the Victorian era. The tanks had to be elevated because they used gravity to build up water pressure to make the flush.
House Crazy Sarah can see beauty in anything old, and these are no exception.
High tank toilets may look a little odd to our modern sensibilities, but back in Victorian times, they were the height of bathroom fashion.
Side note: Ever heard of a toilet referred to as a “crapper”? Well contrary to popular belief, a man named Thomas Crapper did NOT invent the toilet – he just sold them. That’s right, he made his living as a toilet salesman. In fact, he opened the world’s first bathroom showroom in Chelsea, England in 1866 – it was quite scandalous at the time.
It was actually a man named Sir John Harington, a godson of Queen Elizabeth I, who introduced the first flush toilet to the world in the 1590’s.
Look at these metal tanked “Brents”.
As plumbing technology was perfected, the distance from the tank to the pot shrunk over time.
Toilet tanks were also made from wood for a period of time.
Wood wasn’t the most durable material when it came to water and people waste, so porcelain eventually became the preferred material.
Late Victorian toilets were masterpieces of art, incorporating everything from Japanese and Delft-inspired motifs to intricate Gothic designs.
Below is a reproduction Crapper:
House Crazy Sarah has been in a couple of Victorian houses with the original working gravitational plumbed toilets. When she had the opportunity to use one once, it was the most exhilarating pee she ever had!
But here is the KING of all antique toilets:
Fit for royalty!
Ps….. Love retro bathroom fixtures? Check out this post about vintage bathroom sinks.