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Who invented the toilet?

Sep 14, 2009

Who invented one of the most useful devices known to mankind?

Who invented one of the most useful devices known to mankind?

While Thomas Crapper is commonly given credit for inventing the first flushing toilet in the late 1800s, the first version can actually be traced back to 1596.  At this time, a British nobleman, Sir John Harrington, first engineered and invented a valve that could release water from the water closet (WC) when pulled.  Sir Harrington, who was also the godson of Queen Elizabeth I, recommended pulling the valve (“flushing” the toilet) once a day for sanitary purposes.

So if Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the toilet, why is he given credit?

Three centuries after Sir Harrington’s invention, Crapper had a successful career in the plumbing industry and did earn nine patents for plumbing products in England.  Unfortunately, none of those nine patents granted between 1861-1904 were for the flushing toilet.

While he did not invent the toilet, Crapper still has a close connection to the first patent for the toilet.  Albert Gilblin, an employee of Crapper, holds the 1819 British Patent for a “Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer”.  This device was a system which allowed a toilet to flush effectively.  Crapper later purchased the rights for this patent from his employee and marketed the device.

So even though he didn’t invent the crapper himself, we still owe a big thank you to Crapper for helping bring the product to the masses and also to the Chinese for inventing toilet paper in 50 B.C.

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249 Responses to “Who invented the toilet?”

  1. Brett - July 24th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I think the tolit is amasen.

  2. Duncan Munday - September 4th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    So thats where the name came from! Always wondered how it came about.

  3. hey girl - September 12th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    hay gurl hay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ilona - October 12th, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I love toilets

  5. Everything you think you know about defecation is wrong | Troubleshotgun - October 17th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    […] the stone cold truth is that we’re dealing with the same piece-of-crap toilet technology that was invented in 1596.  Experts like Ray Kurzweil predict that by 2100 computers will likely be able to match (in terms […]

  6. Leigha Farrar - October 29th, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Know wonder why he made the toilet because his last name is “Crapper”!(I’m not making fun of him)

  7. Joyaee'' - November 4th, 2012 at 1:07 pm


  8. Isaiah - November 25th, 2012 at 9:16 am

    ur all giving thanks 2 crapper for a toilet when the chinese invented toilet paper. if not for them wed be walking around with crap on our butts. lol

  9. Layla - November 26th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Wow Mr. Crapper no wonder some people call the toilet a “Crapper”!!! lol rotf omg so funny!!!

  10. mauricio matesic - December 2nd, 2012 at 11:54 am


  11. mauricio - December 2nd, 2012 at 11:59 am


  12. mr klingerwoman - December 10th, 2012 at 10:57 am

    thank you for the toilet mr crapper, if it wasnt for you i cudnt give blumpkins with my nose!

  13. kojo - December 14th, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Thanks for inventing the most useful tool ever created in the entire world eccept the phone!!!!!

  14. hi - January 14th, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo funney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMFG

  15. jazmine - February 20th, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    that is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooofuny and the best thing in a persons life and cats to cus there is a such thing as a cat toilet

  16. lili - February 20th, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    lol Jasmine{sister}is not my sister. i love to have a toilet in my home instead of the floor or a bucket

  17. jazmine - February 20th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    i love o have a toilet in place of a bucket and the floor

  18. billy burton - February 25th, 2013 at 11:17 am

    mr.crapper you’re the best i use the restroom everyday ill be in there for hours its so comfortable!!!! :) <3

  19. evan williams - February 26th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    love the name crap,can i call you that??????????????????????????????NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. evan williams - February 26th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Holy CRAPPER,you must have a lot of mony because peopel get now tolites every day.

  21. ty - March 12th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    wow nice name LOL

  22. toilet fan #19 - March 20th, 2013 at 6:26 am

    he must have been in deep shit 😀

  23. Say what??? - March 31st, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Haha. still wonder if he was named crapper because of the crapper or the crapper was named crapper becouse of him.

  24. Say what??? - March 31st, 2013 at 3:03 am

    nice!!!! Now i know how the shitter became the crapper!!!

  25. FidgetTheMidget8P - April 5th, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I need to take a herrington right about now…

  26. Crapper - April 12th, 2013 at 9:46 am

    thank me my invention is the CRAP!!!

  27. Ramon - April 15th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Awesome I love the toilet!!!!

  28. toilet mama - April 21st, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    thanks alot i will not share with you what i ndo with it *humps toilet*

  29. Samantha King - May 7th, 2013 at 1:18 am

    This device was a system which allowed a toilet to flush effectively. Best Thing Ever Invented In Man Kind. This blog really having valuable info and i appreciate your work. I wish to know more such info and more new post from you . Nice sharing .

  30. jeremiah tammad - May 9th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    royal flush

  31. Emily Patterson - May 14th, 2013 at 2:47 am

    It’s my pleasure to learn about the first inventor of flush toilet. This blog really-really having huge valuable info and i appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing this article.

  32. Watson Katelyn - May 22nd, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I don’t think we ever think about such things. Good to know who invented the flush toilet. I cannot imagine what people before toilets were invented:)

  33. Haley artisanal - June 19th, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I would had shrugged off the topic on Toilets before as I never knew and didn’t feel the need to know about toilets.But thinking deeply,I realize that toilet is a very important device in human life to drain off the human waste,keep the surrounding clean and help keeping us away getting infected from many epidemic diseases.We all should be grateful to Dr.Crapper and Dr.Harrington for their great invention of toilets.

  34. Homepage - June 20th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Whoa, fantastic web site format! How very long will you be running a blog for? you are making blogging and site-building appearance easy. The main appear of your respective web site is superb, together with the content!

  35. samantha twinsrock24 - August 8th, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    First of all I congratulate you for writing such a wonderful and an informative post on a a very different,unusual and unprecedented topic ‘toilets’. The picture of the toilet gave me goosebumps but as I read the whole article,I found it very educating for the readers to know about Dr.Crapper and the history of toilets,something of utmost importance to keep the human health and its surrounding clean.

  36. D-ragon - September 6th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I find this weird but i always wanted to know who made the toilet,so to day i had some time to kill and looked it up. Suprisingly not a lot of people know who made the toilet

  37. RIVERA GABRIELLA - September 14th, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I find this post really funny. Though we use the toilet everyday, I have never wondered who invented it. But whoever invented it, it is a great invention. This article is educating and I don’t’ think anybody would have thought of writing such an article.

  38. morgan jocelyn - October 1st, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I too find this post kind of weird. But truly the toilet is a boon to mankind. We cannot imagine even a single day without the toilet. It is truly educating in a way I must say:) It takes a lot of courage too to find and write something like this. Kudos to that spirit.

  39. ToiletExpert - October 1st, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Crapper didn’t invent the toilet. Harrington did.

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  41. - January 12th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on net as compared to books,
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  43. Nelson Rolon - March 9th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I think the person we need to thank is sir John Harrington.Albert “gilblin “perfected it.As for”crapper”he just invested in. But if u think about it all three men need to be thanked. P.s got to go! Lmao.peace, love ,joy (p.l.j)

  44. Pati - April 28th, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Interesting fact, Sir John Harrington is the ancestor of “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harington.

  45. Vass Kallal - May 7th, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Now the Japanese are making level up versions of cr*ppers! with warm seats and a water spray to wash your butt. and yes it feels very…….. relaxing.

  46. Top 10 Modern Ideas That Ancient People Used First | - May 7th, 2014 at 9:44 am

    […] for inventing a complicated flush toilet, nonetheless this isn’t true. Real credit belongs to Sir John Harrington, a godson of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1596, he came adult with a initial flush toilet. However, his […]

  47. Rare R-Rated Post from WIF (Or Corny) | WRITING IS FUN-DAMENTAL from Gwendolyn Hoff - May 10th, 2014 at 3:36 am

    […] credited for inventing the modern flush toilet, though this isn’t true. Real credit belongs to Sir John Harrington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1596, he came up with the first flush toilet. However, his […]

  48. Top 10 Modern Ideas That Ancient People Used First – I am Yellow Box - May 27th, 2014 at 6:15 am

    […] for inventing a complicated flush toilet, nonetheless this isn’t true. Real credit belongs to Sir John Harrington, a godson of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1596, he came adult with a initial flush toilet. However, his […]

  49. Herrington - August 9th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I’m glad to see someone finally read the article. Thanks John Harrington

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