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THE TOILET Powered By Docstoc
					                                                      THE TOILET

(Definitions: A fixture for defecation and urination, consisting of a bowl fitted with a hinged seat and
connected to a waste pipe and a flushing apparatus; a privy. A room or booth containing such a fixture.)

We use many names for the place where we perform our “daily business”. Some examples are lavatory (from the Latin “lavare”
meaning to wash), washroom, restroom, comfort room, and toilet (from the French “toilette” meaning little cloth). Aboard a ship
toilets were called “heads” and placed at the head of the ship; they were originally made of wooden boards with holes cut in them
hanging over the sides of the ships.

There have been shifts between “dry” and “wet” outdoor and indoor systems of excreta receptacle and disposal over time.

The Old Testament contains several references to toilets, from laws about how to cover waste out of doors to mention of King Eglon
of Moab's indoor privy chamber. Some kind of lavatory flushed with water is believed to have been used by residents of the Indus
Valley by around 2000 B.C. Even earlier, in about 2750 B.C., the ancient Indian city of Mohendro Daro was equipped with toilets
connected to a drain. Dating back to approximately 4000 B.C., the neolithic stone huts of the Scara Brae settlement in the Orkney
Islands seem to have had indoor lavatory provisions. Apparently used as toilets, stone chairs have also been unearthed from the
site of the Sumerian city of Ashnunnack, dating to around 4000 B.C. The palace of King Minos of Crete, from about 2000 B.C., had
elaborate indoor plumbing, including marble toilets that were flushed with water dumped from a vase in an adjoining room.

The remains of Roman lavatories are still extant in many places. Some private Roman houses had their own toilets, which were in
most cases a seat located over a drain or a cesspit. Roman public lavatories were more impressive. They were often built next to or
as part of public baths. Rows of stone or marble seats in pairs, divided by armrests, stood over a trench. Excess water from the
baths flowed into the trench, and washed the waste into a main sewer. A smaller trench filled with fresh water flowed past the base
of the stone toilets. This water was used for rinsing. Roman forts, which housed hundreds of soldiers, also boasted impressive toilet
facilities. The builders of Housesteads, a Roman fort in northern England dating to 122 A.D., diverted a river to flow underneath the
latrine and carry waste out of the fort. The latrine itself was a large room with benches built around three walls. The benches had
about 20 holes with no dividers for privacy. Roman cities also took care of the needs of travelers by erecting huge vases along the
roadways for people to urinate into, thus keeping waste off the public streets.

During the Middle Ages, lavatories drained with running water were common in British abbeys, which housed large groups of
monks. Similar to the Roman forts, abbey latrines were usually meant for many people to use at once, and drained over a river or
stone drain. Stone castles were often designed with vertical shafts for the emptying of waste. The waste flowed into a trench leading
in most cases to the moat. Indoor toilets consisted of wooden closets or cupboards, which concealed a seat over a chamber pot.
Servants emptied the pot into the moat.

In Medieval European cities, common practice was to empty indoor chamber pots directly into the streets, a foul practice that bred

Modern toilet design began in 1596, when Sir John Harrington invented and installed a device for his Godmother Queen Elizabeth I
that released wastes into cesspools. Harrington invented two elements of the modern toilet: a valve at the bottom of the water tank,
and a wash-down system. However, flushing toilets did not catch on with the majority of the population until much later.

The first British patent for a water closet was awarded to Alexander Cumming in 1775. His device used a pan with a sliding door.
The pan contained a few inches of water. When finished, the user would pull a lever that opened the pan, letting the contents slide
out into a drain, and at the same time opening a valve that let fresh water into the pan.

The Bramah Water Closet, patented by Joseph Bramah in 1778, used a similar but more complex flushing device that kept the
water running for about 15 seconds.
                                                       Bramah Water Closet

In the late 1800s, the first recognizably modern toilets were developed by entrepeneurs like Thomas Crapper, a plumber who
brought toilet design and modern manufacturing technology together. (His name has became synonymous with toilets; our troops
came home from World War I calling toilets "crappers.") Other names associated with the development of modern toilets are George
Jennings, Thomas Twyford, Edward Johns and Henry Doulton. Modern design was complemented by the invention of toilet paper
by American Joseph Cayetti in 1857.

Today many people in poor countries still do not have adequate sanitation. The World Toilet Organisation was formed in 2001 to
improve toilets in developing world.

Main Toilet Designs
Earth Closet
Dry earth is used to cover waste material for later removal. Henry Moule patented one design in 1869, advertising it as a great
improvement over the cesspit.
Pan Closet
A simple but fairly unsanitary design featuring a basin with a pan at the bottom. This pan could be tipped to discharge its contents
into a receptacle.

Valve Closet
An opening at the bottom of a pan was sealed by a valve. When flushed, the valve opened and water was released into the pan by
some mechanism. As noted above, Sir John Harrington is credited with designing the first valve closet. Modern airplane toilets are
often a version of the valve closet.

Hopper Closet
This inexpensive design featured an inverted cone as the receptacle, with a squirt of water released for (generally inadequate)
flushing. Because of its low cost, it was used mainly by poor people.

Wash-Out / Flush-Out Water Closet
Water was used to seal the drain tube, as in the modern trap. Combined with a flushing mechanism and siphonic action, this
evolved into the modern toilet.
The Modern Toilet
The various parts of a modern toilet work together to produce flushing. Each part has its predetermined role to play and contributes
to the overall result. Indoor plumbing has been refined over the years, and the principle of suction is at the root of the entire process.


The modern toilet is comprised of two basic parts, the bowl and the tank. The bowl is the part that a person sits on. The seat rests
on the rim of the bowl and is attached by two hinges. The bowl has as part of its design a molded siphon section that is "S"-shaped.
When a large quantity of water enters the body of the bowl through either flushing or pouring from a bucket, the water quickly
reaches the height of the siphon section and overflows into the siphon tube. The entire siphon section fills with water. Once it is
filled, a siphoning action is created that draws all of the remaining water from the bowl down into the drainpipe that the toilet is
attached to. This siphoning continues as long as there is water available to draw from. When all of the water has been siphoned
from the bowl and it is empty, air enters the siphon tube, which breaks the suction and causes that gurgling sound that we hear at
the end of a flush.

The tank is a reservoir of water that is used to create the siphon action in the bowl. This reserve of water is accessed by depressing
the flush lever on the outside of the tank, which is connected to a chain inside the tank. The other end of the chain is connected to
the flush valve (also known as a flapper valve). The flapper valve includes a bulb, which is filled with air and fits snugly into place in
the large discharge hole on the inside bottom of the tank. This is what stops water from exiting the tank. Normally, the weight of the
water above the bulb keeps it pressed into place even though the air inside the bulb would normally make it buoyant. The chain
pulls the front part of the flapper valve up out of its blocking position and it then floats, still hinged in place, above the hole.

The float is a large hollow ball that rides on the surface of the water inside the tank. The float is attached to one end of a rod parallel
to the water surface; the other end of the rod is connected to a fill valve. The fill valve remains in the closed position as long as the
water in the tank is at its normal level. Once a flush occurs and the tank water quickly evacuates, the water level in the tank drops,
lowering the float and changing the angle of the float arm connected to the fill valve, which then releases fresh water back into the
tank. The amount of water leaving is greater than the refill water coming back into the tank because the diameter of the discharge
hole is larger than that of the fill valve tube.

Once the water inside the tank has all been discharged, the floating bulb of the flapper valve automatically falls back into place,
sealing the discharge hole and allowing the tank to fill with water once again. All of the water in the bowl has been evacuated and
the siphoning action has stopped. The tank is receiving water from the fill valve and it is being used to do two different things. A
small amount of water is going from the fill valve into the refill tube, which flows into an overflow tube. The overflow tube then sends
the fresh water into the bowl and refills it to the correct level. The rest of the incoming water is filling up the tank; as the water level
increases, the float resting on the water surface rises in the tank. When the float reaches its normal position, the attached float rod is
once again parallel to the water surface, causing the fill valve to shut off. The tank is then full and ready for the next flush.

A run-on is when the filler valve malfunctions and keeps adding fresh water into the tank; in this case, the overflow tube comes into
play. It is situated within the tank at such a height that any excess water will find its way into the tube rather than overflowing the
tank and flooding your home. In addition, an external valve is attached to the fresh water pipe going into the fill valve. Turning the
valve will stop the water flow to the fill valve completely and allow repairs to be accomplished or remodeling to be performed.



         Made of vitreous china and finished with a high-gloss glaze.
         Designed to be durable and sanitary.
         White and almond are most common colors.
         Federal law mandates that all new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to old models that used 3.5
          gallons or more.
         Gravity-fed toilets operate with a conventional flush, where water draining from the tank is released into the bowl and its
          weight and gravity pull waste down the drain.
         Pressure-assisted units use pressure built up within the water supply to increase the force of the flush. These tend to be
          noisier than gravity-fed models, but the bowl empties quickly (within 4 seconds). The larger water seal surface results in
          fewer stains. Since the trapway on pressure-assisted models has fewer bends, it is less likely to clog than a gravity-fed
         A third type of toilet uses a pump to assist the flushing operation with increased pressure. Some models are even
          designed to flush automatically when the seat lid is closed. Dual flushers feature a lever that uses 1.6 gallons for solid
          waste removal and 1.1 gallons for liquid waste.
         The rough-in is the distance from the finished wall to the center of the sewer outlet. Standard rough-ins are 10", 12" or
          14". Another style is the one-piece toilet.

Flush Handle

         Activates the flush valve ball.
         Usually sold in combination with the trip lever.
         Attaches with a left-handed screw, which screws on in a counter-clockwise direction.

Flush Valve Seat

         Located at the bottom of the tank.
         Surrounds the opening that lets water into the bowl.
          Kept closed by a rubber flush ball or flapper.
          The flush valve seat is attached to the Overflow Tube, which drains water back into the bowl if the water level goes above
           it. This is a good safety precaution if the inlet valve fails.

Flapper Valve Seat Ball

          Also called a Flush Valve Seat Ball, this device sits on the flush valve seat and attaches to the trip lever with a chain, rod
           or guide arm.
          When the outside handle on the toilet tank is pressed down, it raises a trip lever that pulls the flapper off its seat. Water
           inside the tank pours through the opening to flush the toilet bowl.
          The valve stays closed with water pressure. However, once the trip lever lifts the device, it remains off the seat by floating
           on top of the water until the tank is empty. As the water level drops, the flapper gradually settles back into the opening,
           sealing it so the tank can refill for the next flush.
          A new style design has replaced the older ball-style. It is connected to the float arm with a chain and eliminates many of
           the problems associated with wires, rods and guide arms.


          Also known as a fill valve or inlet valve.
          Controls refilling the tank.
          Consists of multiple parts, but is commonly sold as a complete unit. Parts include: upper lever, float rod, lower lever,
           plunger, valve seat, refill tube, nylon seat, eye screw, body, hush tube, regular shank, shank gasket, lock nut, coupling nut
           washer, riser pipe and repair shank.
          Older models use a float ball. When repairing them it is best to replace the entire unit instead of trying to repair its parts.
          Newer models eliminate the flat ball and may have an anti-siphon feature that keeps toilet water from backing up into the
           water lines.

Float Ball

          Part of the Ballcock.
          When the water level raises it, it shuts off the valve that lets water into the tank.
           Made of plastic or copper.
          Should be replaced if it develops cracks or corrodes and let water inside.

Tank-To-Bowl Hardware

          Creates a secure connection between the tank and the bowl.
          Consists of long brass bolts with rubber washers and a large foam-rubber washer.
          One size fits all toilets.

Bowl Gasket

          Also known as a wax ring.
          Seals the joint between the toilet bowl and the drain piping in the floor.
          Some types have a plastic ring inside to add protection. For a better seal, use two rings, one on top of the other.

Closet Flange Bolt

          Secures the toilet bolt base to the floor flange.

AC Toilet Water Supply

          Connects water supply to toilet.
          Flexible types are easiest to install.

Toilet Seat

          Made of plastic or kiln-dried hardwood.
          Hardware should be sturdy and non-rusting. Metal hardware should be solid brass with a quality finish.
          Some toilet seats have ìeasy-on, easy-off hinge posts that facilitate installation by the homeowner. These hinge posts also
           make it practical to remove the seat for thorough cleaning.

Toilet Flappers

          Toilet flappers are the part of the toilet system that separates the flushing water in the tank from the bowl.
          Toilet flappers are usually made of rubber, and act as a seal when the flush is not in operation. When the flush is
           operated, the flapper lifts up and allows the water into the bowl.
The Manufacturing Process

Plastic Seat

Plastic seats begin as pellets of polystyrene. A worker feeds the pellets into a hopper attached to an injection molding machine.
From the hopper, a precisely measured amount of pellets flows into a container that heats the material until it melts. Then the liquid
polystyrene flows through a small hole in the center of a two-part mold. The mold is made of chrome-plated machined die steel. Its
two halves are hollowed in the shape of the toilet seat and cover. When the mold is full, it is clamped together by a huge hydraulic
press. This exerts 10,000 lb per sq in (4,540 kg per sq cm) of pressure on the mold, and heats the polystyrene to 400° F (204° C).

The plastic in the mold begins to solidify. Then cool water is pumped through a channel system around the mold to bring the
temperature down. A worker releases the hydraulic clamp and separates the two halves of the mold. The worker removes the seat
and cover from the mold, breaking off the extra plastic that formed in the water channel. Then, the worker places the seat and cover
into a water bath.

After the seat and cover have cooled in the bath, a worker takes them to a finishing area for the final steps. Here holes are drilled for
the hinges. Then, a worker smooths the rough edges at a sanding machine. The sander is a rotating wheel covered with an abrasive
material. The worker passes the seat or cover along the wheel until any plastic fragments from the drilling or from the mold are
sanded off. A similar machine with a softer surface may next be used to give a final polish.

Wooden Seat

For wooden toilet seats, the first step is to mix the wood flour and the plastic resin. Workers wearing protective masks slit open bags
of wood flour and empty them into a mix box. Then, the worker adds the powdered plastic resin that makes up 15% of the formula.
Last, a small amount of zinc stearate is added. The mixture is passed to an attrition mill, which grinds the particles down further.
After milling, the powdered mixture may be measured into boxes for loading into the molding press. Or it may be set aside, and later
measured and scooped by hand into the press.

The processed wood and melamine mixture is next emptied into the bottom half of a mold. A worker makes sure the mix fills the
mold evenly and smooths the surface. Then the worker lowers the top half of the mold and begins to heat the whole thing to 300° F
(149° C). While it heats, the mold is clamped at 150 tons of force. After 6.5 minutes, the wood flour and melamine have fused
together and hardened. Then, the worker opens the mold and hangs the seat and cover on an overhead conveyor rack, which
moves it along to the finishing area.

Wooden seats are finished in the same way as plastic seats. First, they are drilled, then sanded. Then, they are hung again on an
overhead conveyor and taken to the painting area. The conveyor automatically lowers the seats into a tank of paint. Then the
conveyor pulls them up and passes them into an enclosed room called a vapor chamber. A paint solvent is released as a vapor, and
this carries off any excess paint without leaving drip marks. Next, the painted seats pass along the conveyor into a drying oven. The
paint-vapor-drying process is repeated four times. The first two coats are a primer, and the second two are an enamel paint that
produces a smooth, hard, plastic-like surface.

Both plastic and wooden seats are assembled and packaged the same way. The seats and covers are screwed together and
packed with the necessary mounting hardware. Then, they are boxed and moved to a warehouse or distribution center.

Bowl & Tank

The toilet bowl and tank are made at a type of factory known as a pottery. The pottery receives huge amounts of vitreous china in a
liquid form called slurry slip. Workers at the pottery first thin the slurry slip to a watery consistency. Then, they feed it through very
fine screens in order to sieve out any impurities. The purified slip is thickened again, and pumped into storage tanks in preparation
for use in casting.

Next, the slip is carried through hoses and pumps into the casting shop. Workers fill plaster of Paris molds with the slip. The molds
are in the shape of the desired piece, except they are about 12% bigger, to allow for shrinkage. The workers fill the molds
completely with the slip, and let it sit for about an hour. Then, the workers drain out any excess slip. This is recycled for later use.
The clay sits in the mold for another few hours. The plaster of Paris absorbs water from the clay, and the clay dries to the point
where the mold can be safely removed. At this point, the casting is semisolid, and is called greenware. Workers use hand tools and
sponges to smooth the edges of the casting and to make holes for drains and fittings.

The greenware castings are left to dry in the open air for several days. Then they are put into a dryer for 20 hours. The dryer is set
to 200° F (93° C). After the castings come out of the dryer, they have lost all but about 0.5% of their moisture. At this point workers
spray the greenware castings with glaze. Now, the pieces are ready for the kiln.

The kilns at a large industrial pottery are warehouse-sized tunnels, and the pieces move through the kiln on a conveyance called a
car. Each car is loaded with a number of pieces, and then it moves automatically through the hot kiln at a very slow pace. Because
rapid changes in temperature will cause the clay to crack, the cars move leisurely through graduated temperature zones: the first
zone is about 400° F (204° C), and it increases in the middle of the kiln to over 2,200° F (1,204° C) degrees. The temperature
gradually decreases from there, so that the final temperature is only about 200° F (93° C). The whole firing process takes
approximately 40 hours.
When the pieces are removed from the kiln and fully cool, they are ready for inspection. After inspection, the flushing mechanism is
installed. This is either manufactured at the plumbing fixture company or bought from a contractor. The seat too may be installed at
this time, or the parts may be sold separately and assembled by a plumbing distributor.

Quality Control

As with any industrial process, quality checks are taken at several points in the manufacturing of toilets. The clay is sieved and
purified before it is pumped into the factory's tanks. Workers doing the manual finishing of the castings check the pieces for cracks
or deformities. After firing, each toilet is tested individually. Random sample checks are not a good enough gauge of quality: each
piece must be inspected for cracks. There are several ways to do this. One test is to bounce a hard rubber ball against the piece. It
should emit a clear, bell-like ringing sound. A cracked piece will give off a dull sound, indicating a crack that might not have been
visually obvious.

By-Products / Waste

The pottery is able to recycle much of its clay. As long as it has not been fired, all the clay is reusable. Even the air-dried greenware
can be scrapped, softened and reprocessed into the watery slip of the first step of the process.

Green Alternatives

Most modern toilets use a lot of water to keep functioning. It is estimated that 4.8 billion gallons of water are used by Americans for
flushing alone.

Since the toilet is a must for every household and building, environment-friendly alternatives are now more easily available in the
market. These toilets use minimal or no water at all.

Gravity-flush toilets are conventional toilets that are especially made for residential use and have been engineered to consume less
water. When you press the knob, a flush valve opens and the water in the tank drains into the bowl through rim openings and a
siphon jet. The force of the water pushes the waste through the trap and down the drainpipe. While they are usually less effective at
removing solid waste than pressure-assist toilets, gravity-flush toilets are generally less expensive and easier to maintain, because
most use standard parts.

Pressure-assist toilets are best suited for commercial use or in homes with poor drainpipe carry. These models use the pressure of
the water supply to the toilet to compress air in an inner tank. When one flushes the toilet, pressurized water is forced into the bowl,
blasting waste down the drainpipe. These toilets are more effective in removing solid waste.

Waterless urinals do not use water to flush down urine. It has a large valve that brings the urine straight to the tank. These are
usually seen in public places like airports, stadiums and hotels.

Non-electronic composting toilets are toilets that do not flush, and waste is turned into compost. This revolution not only reduces
one’s water bills, it also helps save the planet. These are solar-powered too, so one won’t have to worry about increased electric


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