A TIMELINE OF TOILETS IN HISTORY

By Tim Lambert

Ancient Toilets

C 2,300 BC

At Skara Brae in Scotland stone huts have drains with cubicles over them. They may have been toilets.

C 2,000 BC

In Northwest India and Pakistan towns are built with networks of sewers. Toilets are flushed with water.

C 1,800 BC

On Crete some toilets are flushed with water

C 1,200 BC

In Egypt rich people use a container with sand, which is emptied by slaves.

C 100 AD

In Rome sewers collect rainwater and sewage. There are public lavatories. The Romans have a goddess of sewers called Cloacina.

Medieval and Renaissance Toilets

12th Century

At Portchester Castle monks built stone chutes leading to the sea. When the tide went in and out it flushed away the sewage.

1200

In castles the toilet is a vertical shaft cut into the thickness of the walls with a stone seat on top.

14-15th centuries

Some towns in Medieval Europe have public toilets

1500

Ordinary people often use the leaves of a plant called woolly mullein as toilet paper

1547

People are forbidden to go in the courtyards of royal palaces

1596

Sir John Harrington invents a flushing toilet but the idea fails to catch on. People continue to use cess pits, which are cleaned by men called gong farmers.

Modern Toilets

1775

Alexander Cumming patents a flushing lavatory

1778

Joseph Bramah makes a better design

1850

Earth closets are popular. When you pull a lever granulated clay from a box covers the contents of the pan.

1852

The first modern public lavatory opens

1857

Toilet paper goes on sale in the USA. It is sold in sheets.

1883

The vacant/engaged bolt is invented

1884

The first pedestal toilet pan is made

1890

Toilet paper on rolls goes on sale in the USA

1892

John Nevil Maskelyne invents the coin operated lock for toilets

1900

For the first time some houses for skilled workers are built with inside lavatories

1928

Toilet paper on rolls goes on sale in Europe

1942

Soft toilet paper goes on sale

2001

The World Toilet Organisation is formed

A history of toilets

A timeline of surgery

A timeline of medicine

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