Keep Clean Your Bathroom – History of Toilets

In the modern times, good health and proper sanitation are just two of the most fundamental needs of humans. The world has been plagued by various kinds of diseases caused by unsanitary practices when dealing with human waste, the deadliest of which is cholera. Thankfully, technological advancements have dramatically reduced this incidence in almost all parts of the planet. Nevertheless, we can’t help but asking how toilets came out to be the way it is today.


History and Development

Contrary to what most people may think, toilets were already invented in as early as the 3rd century BC particularly in India. Ancient civilizations that did not belong to the upper class were believed to have just used open pit latrines and squatted on the grounds above it. Pit latrines are dry toilet systems where holes are dug on the soil and human excreta that will be dumped on these areas are used as fertilizers or are simply covered again with soil. Water is not necessary with these types and is especially useful for those living in remote areas that have scarce water supplies. Primitive designs generally used flowing water to clean the waste. Most of their practices involve squatting near a designated hole on the floor instead of sitting, which was only started by the Westerners in the middle of the 19th century.

Another alternative to dry toilet systems are chamber pots during the Middle Ages. Chamber pots are similar to what we now know as bed pans in the hospital. These are frequently used during night-time and are disposed of in the morning in specialized areas. For the affluent societies such as in Rome and Greece, the receptacles are even intricately decorated to make it look more stylish and pleasing.

Flush Toilets

According to historians, John Harrington from Britain first conceptualized the flush toilet in the 15th century. Despite this, it was only until 1775 when Flush ToiletsAlexander Cummings, an inventor from Scotland, was given authority to produce the flush toilet. This is a huge breakthrough since it definitely did enhance the sanitation of toilets and dramatically reduced the unpleasant smell. Less significant improvements were made after this, mostly adjustments to some mechanisms and valves to lessen leakages, and in the 19th century, Thomas Crapper from England made this invention even more popular to European households.

According to, flush toilets contain water that serves as a seal inside the bowl in order to stop the unpleasant odor coming from the sewer into the bathroom. Common types work through a filled water tank and by pushing a lever, the water immediately flushes out the excreta into a sewer or a septic tank. Typical flush toilets use large quantities of drinking water, although newer models require lesser amounts and can even be installed with a plumbing system that allows water from laundry or dishwashers for use in flushing.

For those who are eager to save money and water without compromising cleanliness, a cheaper alternative to the conventional flush toilet is the pour flush toilet. This type does not contain a cistern to flush out the waste and instead, allows minimal amounts of water to be poured into the bowl for flushing.

Modern Toilets

Technology is improving the way toilets are made. From the typical flush toilets, inventors from Japan have created a version where sensors are installed to flush the urine and feces automatically without pressing a button or lever. Aside from that, newer models have the capacity to spray the person’s perineal area with water, reducing the need for tissues. Some manufacturers even made an interactive toilet that allows the person to make commands and play games while using the toilet.

Portable toilets which are chemically treated are now available for public use especially during events such as parades and festivals. This helps maintain privacy, cleanliness and good hygiene in our public areas.

These advancements in the way our toilets work are definite proof of how far we have come from earlier civilizations.

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