The seat of civilization
A brief history of the toilet:
- 1500 BCE - First use of toilet found at the neolithic villiage of Rạch Núi archaeological site, southern Vietnam
- 2350 BCE - the first instance of sewage systems being used in the world in the city of Lothal of Indus Valley (located in present-day Pakistan & India).
- 3000 BCE - First usage of clay pipes, sewers, and toilets in Mesopotamia.
- 1770 CE - The water closet with an over head cistern and s-shaped pipe designed by Alexander Cumming and Joseph Bramah Originally, constructed outside the home and then later moved in to the home around 1850 CE.
- 1800 CE - Underground networks of pipes were built to carry solid and liquid waste, gradually replacing the cesspool system.
- 1918 CE - After WWII, London begins to require indoor toilets as part of its building codes.
Types of toilets:
- Public Bath Houses - During the anicent Roman civilization, public bath houses were constructed with elevated seats to make use of flowing water to periodically clean away waste.
- Chamber Pots - Prior to the installation of indoor plumbing in houses and construction of sewer styems in cities, chamber pots were used as a portable toilet, particuarly at night.
- Garderobes - Primary found in upper-class dwellings during the post-classical period, these 'toilets' were constructed on the second floor, usually near a kitchen or fireplace to keep it warm, but away from the bedroom to shun the smell. They were placed above chutes or pipes to dispell waste outside the castel or manor house.
- Flush Toilets - While a precursor to the flush toilet system was designed in 1596 by John Harington, such systems did not come into widespread use until the late nineteenth century during the Industrial Revolution where new technologies made it easier to construct and adopt.
- High-Tech Toilets - Some countires, such as Japan, have high-tech toilets which include features like automatic flushing mechanisms, water-jets (or bottom washers), air dryers, or artificial flush sounds to mask noises.
- Space Toilets - The International Space Station is equipped with a specially designed toilet to work in low gravity as well as a urine diversion which can recover potable water.
The flush toilet, more than any single invention, has 'civilized' us in a way that religion and law could never accomplish.-- Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade