We have arrived on Part Three of Parker & Sons’ definitive list of the most famous, interesting, legendary, and surprising plumbers of all time. So far, we have taken a look at two figures, one fictional and one larger than life, with enough power of personality that they themselves can put the profession of plumbing on the map. However, this is only the beginning of things. The profession of plumbing has more famous characters involved in it than most people realize. Today, we are going leave behind the world of video games and rock concerts and instead pay attention to the bathroom itself!
This isn’t a chicken and egg situation where we are going to bicker of which came first, Thomas Crapper or the rather crass people use when referring to the toilet. In this situation, we know what came first. It was Thomas Crapper, plumber, born in 1836. Thomas Crapper is often incorrectly credited with the invention of the flush toilet. What Mr. Crapper actually did invent was the ballcock, which is just a piece of the modern toilet.
The true inventor of the modern toilet is one Sir John Harrington. However, as is often the case, the truth of a situation has little bearing on how stories are told. For whatever reason, Thomas given credit where it was due to Sir John Harrington. In fact, Thomas Crapper was so thoroughly credited for inventing the modern toilet that toilets were given a nickname derived from his last name. And the rest, as they say, is history. Thomas Crapper died almost 150 years ago, so we are unable to ask him how he feels about the level of fame (or infamy) he gained from this rude moniker, but we feel comfortable saying, it’s all water under the bridge.