Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

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Who Invented the Flush Toilet?

Toilets are not new, they have been around since the Stone Age, and flushing toilets are old enough that history doesn't record their invention. But then things fell apart after the Roman Empire fell apart. Flushing toilets on a modern design were finally re-invented in England a little before 1600, wrapped up in some royal court intrigue.

Sir John Harington was born in 1561 in Kelston, Somerset, in southeastern England. His mother was a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Privy Chamber was the most influential operating department within the English royal household. Control of the Privy Chamber meant control of the ruler. What had simply been the Chamber of the King had been divided under King Henry VIII (ruled 1509-1547) into the Privy Chamber, the Presence Chamber, and the Great Hall, working out from the innermost private space. The Privy Chamber included the ruler's bedroom, library, study and toilet.

As King Henry VIII grew older and fatter, the position of Groom of the Stool became ever more influential. Meanwhile, the work involved remained rather unpleasant. The Groom of the Stool, more formally titled the Groom of the King's Close Stool, was in charge of the royal excretion and was tasked with removing the excrement and cleaning the King's anal area after defecation.

Read more about the invention of the flush toilet »

Today's Featured Toilet
Leon Trotsky was a leading Communist theorist, but he fell from favor and was expelled from the Soviet Union. He ended up in Mexico in the 1930s, where he lived at the home of the painter Diego Rivera. Trotsky's affair with Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo led to Trotsky finding a home of his own.

Trotsky's home in Mexico City is an interesting time capsule of an upper-class Mexican home from the 1930s. You can tour it and see several plumbing details including Trotsky's toilet with its very high wall-mounted tank, his tub, his water heater, his kitchen sink, and more.
Check back tomorrow for another featured toilet!
Who is the Toilet Guru?
Bob Cromwell seated on the ancient public toilets in Ephesus.

Who is the Toilet Guru? Is he obsessed? What is it like to be the Toilet Guru? Why does this site exist?

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