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History of the Flush Toilet
Where and how to dispose of waste and sewage has been the bane of mankind since the beginning of time. This website covers the evolution of sewage treatment. Prepared by Steve J. Steinbeck, P.G. for the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Eljer was founded in February of 1904 by Raymond ELmer Crane and his cousin, Oscar Jerome Backus, from whose middle names "ELJER" was coined. Eljer's original location was Oakland, California, where flush valves were manufactured. Shortly thereafter, a move was made to Newark, New Jersey, where the firm manufactured a diaphragm-type flush valve with mediocre success. Continued ...
Olsonite Seat Company was founded in 1910 in Detroit, Michigan by Nels L. Olson, an enterprising Swedish immigrant.
Initially, a plow shoe was developed and cast from steel in a newly opened foundry. The process which produced this innovative steel plow shoe influenced the original corporate name "Swedish Crucible Steel Company"
Shortly before World War II, the company began manufacturing toilet seats from hard rubber. In addition, a large variety of plastic automotive related products, including steering wheels were manufactured.
In 1946, research indicated that plastics provided a much greater flexibility for styling and manufacturing. Thus, production of toilet seats was converted from hard rubber to solid plastic. With this change, Swedish Crucible Steel Company became the originator of the solid plastic toilet seat. The name Olsonite was adopted for the plastic material and the new product became known as "solid Olsonite plastic toilet seats."
The Church Seat Company of Holyoke, Massachusetts, was founded in 1904 by Charles F. Church. It was the first company to bring a white toilet seat to the market, using a process of forming white pyroxalin around a solid wood core. This seat achieved immediate acceptance by the public and also by the plumbing trade, where varnished oak and mahogany were in vogue.
Pressalit was officially founded in 1954 but actually started a couple of years previously in the Danish fishing port of Esbjerg. The story goes that two carpenters were clearing up in their workshop after work when a cat brushed against a pot of glue, knocking it over. The glue dripped down the side of a hot radiator and onto sawdust lying on the floor. The result was a new material with a lot of potential - as confirmed by a chemical engineer called Nielsen who was asked for his opinion. Two years later, Pressalit was on its way. Its first product was toilet seats made from the wondrous new material.
A paper presented by Dr. Bindeswar Pathak, Ph.D., D.Litt., Founder, Sulabh Movement at International Symposium on Public Toilets held in Hong Kong on May 25-27, 1995
HISTORY OF THE TOILET
Considered an unacceptable discussion topic, socially and academically, the toilet habits of our early predecessors has not been extensively documented, those academics who did dare to write on the subject were considered vulgar, lowly and in some cases erotic.
Other Links to Toilet Histories
History of Scott Paper Company
History of Public Toilets
A History of the Embossed Toilet
History of Plumbing by Ronald L. George, CIPE
"History of the Toilet" continues on