I would imagine most of us never really give much thought to the modern toilet. However, I am also pretty sure that we are happy that the days of outhouses and chamber pots are gone. Yup, gone are the holes in the ground or the toilet that was poised precariously over a stream or river, or even just the street below. Talk about some unsanitary conditions.
So where does the word toilet come from? Well it comes from a French term that translates to the personal grooming and hygiene of an individual. The phrase “to attend to the toilet” actually means to make sure that you are clean. This includes washing, shaving and so on. Hence, the term toiletries. The modern toilet takes its name from that French term.
Modern toilets as we generally know them today arrived on the scene in the 1800s, the second half of that century to be exact. Plumbed, modern toilets became practical because big cities started building sewer systems capable of handling the waste. While early designs varied, they generally had an S, U, or C bend. This bend is still seen in the modern toilets of today because they prevent the rise of sewer gases. Now back in the Victorian era when these modern toilets were designed, the toilet was decorated in the art of the day including, blue glaze paint, water scenes, and nature scenes. Somehow, this makes me imagine the art I see on dinner china, so I think I prefer the solid colors of the modern toilets of today.
Now of course, we cannot forget the ultimate contemporary toilets. These are generally being produced by Japanese manufacturers and designers of modern toilets. You can find modern toilets and commercial toilets that do pretty much everything except serve you tea while sitting on these pressure assisted toilets. They have warm streams of water to clean, followed by warm air to dry, leaving you fresh and clean after your business is done. Some of these modern toilets will also freshen the air after you leave the bathroom, leaving it fresh and sanitized for the next occupant.
Yes, the modern toilet has come a long, long way, and I, for one, am very glad. I do not want to even think about balancing high above a rushing river.