A Thomas Crapper Original

Over the years while traveling, I taught my daughters the cardinal traveler’s rule, “you go” when you have the chance.” I was reminded of that rule often during our recent road trip. In fact, that rule led me to a discovery of sorts that now makes me almost want to re-do my bathroom at home.

We were in Seattle and had decided to walk from our hotel to the waterfront and downtown, taking public transportation as and when needed. They have a great public transport system and even offer free bus rides to everyone within a designated area of old downtown, and a transfer pass can get you in and out within a certain period for $1.50 or $1.75, depending on whether it’s “peak rush hour” or not. Our onfoot foray was to turn into a daylong adventure, and I was often reminded of my traveler’s rule.

Since we’d read drastically conflicting reviews on the underground tour of Seattle, we were resting our tootsies and sitting on a bench in Pioneer Square and trying to decide if the underground tour of Seattle was worth the ticket price of $12 for seniors. Anyone who knows me also knows my seriously weird, some might say “warped” sense of history. The more ridiculous or seedier it is the better I like it, and my head is full of useless facts about various things. I was very curious to learn more about the seedier side of the old underground city destroyed by fire in 1889 and gave Pioneer Square the reputation that eventually gave rise to the expression “skid row.”

We more or less had decided to give it a go and learned that there would be no sitting down for this tour. Turns out we’d be on our feet for a full hour and a half or more–depending on how verbosity of our actor guide–so we decided we weren’t quite up to it after walking all those blocks already. Since we were already inside and nobody seemed to be kicking us out, we opted to have a look around first in the attached Rogue’s Museum and antique shop instead.

Soon I noticed the sign that pointed to “Women’s” and automatically turned to go in since all I’d seen so far were signs in every storefront saying “wash rooms are for customers only.” The “facilities” were so pretty that I just had to take a picture to remember. Even the wash basin and the matching backsplash were equally pretty.

Back outside in the museum, one of the first exhibits I saw was either “the” or “an” original toilet designed by Thomas Crapper. While propriety or a certain sense of decorum prevented me from photographing the interior of the toilet above, this one was fair game.

Aren’t they pretty? I found you can order one for your own bathroom from the U.K. at a ballpoint figure of $1,000 American dollars. Guess I’ll be keeping our old crapper toilet instead. By the way, in doing all the research about Thomas Crapper, I found out that he really wasn’t the “inventor” of the modern flush toilet after all. I just may flush out this story more fully in a future post, but for now I hope you like the pretty toilets.

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4 thoughts on “A Thomas Crapper Original

  1. Ohhhh … love those terlets! I’m glad I have reason to go to Seattle at least once a year … Half our children and grandchildren are up there … it is a beautiful place to visit with so many things to see. We love going there. It sounds like your trip was nice. We’ll have to go on the down under tour next time. That’s one place we haven’t been.

  2. Thomas Crapper may have gotten his idea for flush toilets from the Romans. Check out this website: http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/latrines.htm

    When I visited Turkey in 1996, we saw the Roman latrines. There is no place for modesty here! Under the rows of toilets there is a gutter. At the end of the day, this gutter was flushed with water, making them ready for the next day’s “business.”

    I didn’t see any tourists experimenting with this early plumbing system.

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