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It’s January 27 today, which means we’re celebrating the one and only Thomas Crapper Day, commemorating the death (in 1910) of Thomas Crapper, founder of Thomas Crapper and Co, and the man largely responsible for popularising the ‘porcelain throne’. Hmmm, not the first time I’ve written about toilets

Many sources credit Crapper as the inventor of the flush toilet, but that is not the case – it was invented long before, in 1596 already, by John Harrington. Crapper was, however, a shrewd and relentless businessman who, in a time when talking publicly about toilets was considered a bit on the rude side, widely promoted toilets and sanitation, and even introduced the concept of public showrooms for bathroom & toilet fittings.

If Thomas Crapper turned the toilet into an everyday item, Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser turned it into a work of art. This is a public toilet in Kawakawa in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, created by Hundertwasser, which is quite a sight to behold. Apparently he considered the the toilet a special place, because it is somewhere you have time to meditate in peace. Hence his dedication to elevating its aesthetic appeal. (© All Rights Reserved)

If Thomas Crapper turned the toilet into an everyday item, Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser turned it into a work of art. This is a public toilet in Kawakawa in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, created by Hundertwasser, which is quite a sight to behold. Apparently he considered the toilet a special place, somewhere you have time to meditate in peace. Hence his dedication to elevating its aesthetic appeal.
(© All Rights Reserved)

So synonymous did Thomas Crapper become with toilets in 19th century London, that a visit to the loo started being referred to as ‘going to the Crapper’, and it has been said that this is where the slang term ‘crap’ originated. This does, however, not appear to be the true origin of ‘crap’. For an amusingly detailed account of the origin of the word, have a look at the World Wide Words website.

Still, it’s just such an amusing story that the guy responsible for popularising the toilet would be named Crapper, and it does turn “going to the crapper” into quite a legitimate phrase, doesn’t it? No wonder manhole covers in the Westminster Abbey bearing the name “Thomas Crapper and Co” have become a premier tourist site in the area!

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