The Royals’ Plumber

Thomas Crapper was born in 1836 in England. As a young man, he became an apprentice plumber. He spent three years as an apprentice plumber before he began to practice a full range of plumbing services.

When he was 25, he set up a brass foundry where he could produce a number of innovations in sanitary equipment. Included in his facility was the world’s first showroom for what we would call a bathroom today. This included a bath, toilet, and sink.

Thomas’ work in providing for an upgrade in personal sanitation soon came to the attention of British royals. They asked him to equip their palaces with the most up-to-date facilities. He was subsequently awarded a Royal Warrant, which is basically a seal of approval from royalty.

Thomas was an innovator in other plumbing advances. If you look under a sink, you will see a U-bend trap that keeps odors from remaining in the sink. This was one of Thomas’ innovations. The floating ballcock that regulates water flow in a toilet is another one of his innovations.

Thomas did not, however, invent the basic concept of the toilet, even though this is something that is widely believed. His innovations in the functioning of toilets are perhaps why he is thought to have been the originator of the toilet concept itself.

Also, the mildly profane word, crap, did not originate with Thomas. In England, the word was first used to refer to unwanted items such as weeds and rubbish. The first known reference to human waste appeared ten years after Thomas was born.

While Thomas Crapper’s name is known, it is often used in scatological humor. Few recognize him for his actual accomplishments in sanitary living. Few innovations have lasted for close to 150 years as have those of Thomas Crapper.

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“My name is only an anagram of toilets.” – T.S. Eliot

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