The history of your toilet. It’s not something you think about often (if at all) but it’s interesting if you take the time to learn more.

And what better time than November 19, 2020 – World Toilet Day – to take your knowledge of toilets to the next level?

Toilets have evolved over the years, but some facts, figures, and updates are more interesting than others. Here’s a brief history that’ll give you a better idea of how far toilets have come over the past 400+ years.

Flush Toilets Debut in 1596

Believe it or not, flush toilets were first introduced to the world in 1596. No, these toilets were nothing like what you see today, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, flush toilets didn’t become widespread until 1851. Even that’s impressive, considering the fact that it was more than 150 years ago.

Other Interesting Facts

Toilets are more interesting than you think. Here are some fun facts that’ll get you thinking:

  • Sir John Harington invented Britain’s first flushing toilet: In the late 1500s, Harington invented the Ajax (slang for toilet) and installed the first one at his home.
  • George Jennings is credited with inventing the first public flush toilets: In 1851, these toilets were made available to the public at The Great Exhibition in London. His toilets were well-known for its flushing capacity.
  • The Victorians are credited with toilet sanitation: Known as the inventors of “sanitary science,” the Victorians focused on everything from toilets to sewers to sanitation system design.

A Toilet isn’t a Toilet to Everyone

While most people in the United States use the terms toilet, bathroom, restroom, and john, this isn’t the case across the world.

Consider the following:

  • In the United Kingdom, the terms privy, lavatory, loo, and bog are the most common
  • Australians use the word dunny
  • Water closet, powder room, and comfort room are used in different locales

Are Toilets Dangerous?

Modern toilets aren’t typically dangerous to humans. Your biggest concern is flushing something by mistake or an overflowing toilet that damages your home.

However, when you go back in history, you’ll find that toilets haven’t always been good for people:

  • In 1016, King Edmund II of England was the victim of an “attack from below” when he was stabbed while going to the bathroom
  • In 1796, Catherine the Great died after suffering a fatal stroke on a toilet
  • King George II of Great Britain died in a bathroom

And of course, it’s believed that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, died while sitting on a toilet.

More Toilet Content for Your Consumption

If you’ve yet to get your fill, here are some additional articles about toilets:

You now know more about toilets than ever before. The next time you step inside a bathroom, think about how far toilets have come over the years.

Who would have thought that World Toilet Day would ever become a thing? Celebrate it in your own special way today!

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