Commodes, which are an inevitable part of our toilets, have traveled though various stages of development to take the modern shape. There is no single name, which can be credited with the development of a flush toilet; rather it is associated with several names that contributed to its engineering over the years. However, it is interesting to note that the use of flush toilets dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The Harappa and Mohenjo-daro cities had a flush toilet in every house. The flush toilets were also used extensively in the Roman Empire. Follow the article to know more about the history of commodes.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Flush Toilet
The word commode has French roots and it means convenient or suitable in French. The dictionary describes commode as a piece of furniture. In fact, commode originally meant a piece of furniture that could be used as a washstand. At the same time, it also served as a close space used for hiding a chamber pot. Commode, in modern English, was used to describe a porcelain toilet or a chair improvising for a chamber pot. In France, the word still refers to a chest of drawers with short legs. Before modern plumbing marked its existence, the middle class in Europe used these commodes.
There continues to be disagreement over who was the actual inventor of modern flush toilet. There are some who credit the English sanitary engineer, Thomas Crapper (1837-1910) with engineering the valve-and-siphon arrangement that made the construction of the modern toilet imaginable. There are others who believe that Alexander Cumming patented a flushing device in 1775 that laid the foundation of modern commodes. Sir John Harrington also published a pamphlet in the 16th century, wherein he gave complete instructions on the construction of a commode. A little later in the 18th century, George Jennings made contributions to the plumbing mechanisms, which were considered to be momentous.
Before the flushing age began, American homes had a washstand that contained a dry sink and a commode, kept hidden by the doors of the room. The Americans kept this unit either in the room or in an adjoining chamber, along with a pitcher of water. The women who were employed to clean it were known as chamber maids. However, interior plumbing passed through various stages and evolved to become the modern commodes that we use today, owing to the timely contributions made by the personalities mentioned above. As with many inventions, commodes also had to go through various stages of modernization and development.
A water saving mechanism for the commode was developed quite late (in the 1980’s), by Bruce Thompson, who developed the Duoset cistern with two buttons and two flush volumes. This system is extensively used in the world today. Today, there are commodes available which can be kept beside the bed, useful for the elderly and sick, who can’t get up and walk till the bathroom. Such commodes are fixed over toilets, already installed as a raised chair with a hole in the middle. The modern commodes are available in a variety of designs and styles, remarkably different from the original commode that was developed as pretty minimalist and basic.