Back in the mid-1970s, Smithsonian Magazine had an interesting column, inside the back page, of course, about Sir Thomas Crapper. There has been an on-going discussion, over the years, about whether Sir Thomkas or Sir John Harington actually invented the Flush Toilet. This controversy is further confusing because of the many minor developments of ways to flush toilets, by many different people, over the years.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that Smithsonian article on the Internet. This can be an interesting topic to search for, especially if you just had brain surgery or cannot sleep. It sure helps to have a sense of humor, as well.
The attached is a short piece from Patent Plaques, Did Crapper Invent the Flushing Toilet?, http://www.patentplaques.com/blog/?p=268. Also, another piece from The Economist, Flushed with Pride, http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/08/sanitation, describes the fact that the Flush Toilet really hasn’t changed much over the years; however, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has created the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.