THIS Day in History: January 30, 1863
For my historic book, Indigo Sky, in 1863, I looked up if the word ‘crap’ was used in 1863. This article came up. Wanted to share . . .
It’s almost too perfect. A man named Thomas Crapper invents the world’s first indoor one-piece flushing toilet on this day in history, and the world rejoices. The problem is, it’s not true, particularly that “first” part. Crapper was instrumental in drawing the public’s attention to the product in his London store, which was the world’s first sink, toilet and bath showroom–but his role was more as a salesman, not inventor in this case. An article in “Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine” said Crapper “should best be remembered as a merchant of plumbing products, a terrific salesman and advertising genius.”
It probably didn’t hurt that Mr. Crapper was the official plumber of a few prominent members of the royal family. For instance, he handled all the plumbing and fixtures at Sandringham house, one of the Royal residences, and received Royal warrants from Edward VII and George V.
That said, Crapper did improve the functionality of the toilet. He was a plumber himself, and invented many doo-dads that improved efficiency and sanitation, such as the ballcock, which is the float-triggered flushing mechanism in your toilet.
Primitive indoor toilets had been in existence sine Roman times, but the first “modern” flushing toilet in Britain was invented by Sir John Harington in 1596, who installed the first working prototype in the home of his godmother, Elizabeth I. Further, the first patent for a flushing water closet was issued in 1775 to a man named Alexander Cummings – sixty years before the birth of Thomas Crapper.
It’s also been commonly believed that the slang term “crap” is derived from Mr.Crapper’s name, because of the obvious association with toilet-related bodily functions.
Time to shatter another illusion: the word “crap” is of Middle English origin, and had nothing to do with poop back in the day. While the exact etymology isn’t known, it’s thought that it likely comes from the Dutch word krappen: to cut or pluck off, and the Old French word crappe: waste or junk. In English, people used the word to refer to weeds or garbage, but it had fallen out of popular usage in the UK by the time Mr. Crapper came along.
The term “crap,” meaning “refuse”, stuck around in America though, coming over pre-16th century from England. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it wasn’t used to mean doo-doo until 1846.
That said, “The Crapper” as a name for the toilet was partially inspired by Thomas Crapper thanks to WWI. The toilets in England at the time were predominately made by the company “Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd”, with the company’s name stamped on them. American soldiers with their still actively used “crap” word, took to calling these toilets “The Crapper” and brought that slang term for the toilet back with them to the United States after the war.
For you history buffs, haven’t you ever wondered about how our language evolved?
Daily Knowledge Newsletter
Domes of Yosemite 24×36 Acrylic on Canvas Ingis Claus
“Indigo Sky,” is my book on the take of the life of Hudson River artist, Albert Bierstadt, his adventures journeying west to California in 1863, and his painting of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. This image is my painting of Half Dome, an Ode to Bierstadt.
Here’s some fascinating facts about the area.
Half Dome was originally called “Tis-sa-ack“, meaning Cleft Rock in the language of the local Ahwahnechee people. Tis-sa-ack is also the name of the fourth route on the formation, ascended by Royal Robbins and Don Peterson over eight days in October 1969. Tis-sa-ack is the name of a mother from a native legend. The face seen in Half Dome is supposed to be hers. Tis-sa-ack is the name of a Mono Lake Paiute Indian girl in the Yosemite Native American legend. John Muir referred to the peak as “Tissiack”.
Others say Ahwahneechee. Native Americans named Half Dome “Face of a Young Woman Stained with Tears” (“Tis-se’-yak”) because of the colonies of brown-black lichens that form dark vertical drip-like stripes along drainage tracks in the rock faces.
In 1988, Half Dome was featured on a 25 cent United States postage stamp. An image of Half Dome, along with John Muir and the California condor, appears on the California State Quarter, released in January 2005. Starting October 2010, an image of Half Dome is included on the new revised California drivers license in the top right-hand corner.
In 2014, Apple revealed their new version of their operating system, Yosemite, and Half Dome was the default wallpaper on the new OS.
Half Dome is also an element or inspiration of various company and organization logos, including that of The North Face, Sierra Designs, & Mountain Khakis outdoor product companies, the Sierra Club environmental group and the Sierra Entertainment game studio.
Have you been to Yosemite? Be careful near those bigger-than-life waterfalls. Stories have it that some have fallen in!!! And never found . . .
Three days in Disney. Exhausting? Well, sort of, but the electric scooter, that our daughter Linda had on our first day made it easy to get around. So easy, it convinced me to get one too. Fantastic, fun and magical. The crowds parted as we moved through them. I wonder how many miles tireless Tom walked while we rode? Scan your Magic Bands to enter your Disney Resort hotel room, enter the parks and access Disney FastPast for no-line waits. Convenient, great system.
Festival of the Lion King extravaganza
We visited Animal Kingdom, famous for its big tree, and Festival of the Lion King. What an amazing first class show!
Famous tree in Animal Kingdom
Soarin’ in Epcot
Epcot’s Soarin’ flight simulator lifts guests on multi-passenger hang gliders for a scenic aerial tour of California, warm and windy, like being in an open-air airplane. WOW!
Pirates of the Caribbean ride
Magic Kingdom is always a place to be a kid again. It’s a tickle-my-fancy kind of experience, never too old kind of thing. Electric parade, Cinderella’s Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean.
Finally, Downtown Disney, a mega shopping mall, restaurants, seek and ye shall find the desires of your heart. Coincidentally, the 19th century paddle steamer at the banks of Downtown Disney, until they renovated, was typical of the one featured in my book, Indigo Sky.
The Empress Lilly paddle steamer
Fulton’s Crab House riverboat restaurant
The structure, originally known as the The Empress Lilly, is a static full-size replica of a paddle steamer riverboat. It is 220 feet long and 62 feet wide. Though it resembles a boat, it is actually a boat-shaped building on a submerged concrete foundation.
The Empress Lilly was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering to look as authentic as possible.The gingerbread scrollwork and stained-glass detailing hearkened back to the days of Mark Twain‘s Mississippi River. The paddlewheel at the aft end constantly churned, though the ship never moved. It greeted guests for the first time on May 1, 1976, when it was christened by Walt Disney‘s widow, Lillian Disney, for whom it was named. It originally housed four separate entertainment and dining areas. It was also one of the first locations of the famous Disney Character Breakfasts.
In the mid-1990s, as a cost-cutting move, Disney began to engage outside partners to take over operations of many of its restaurants. On April 22, 1995, the Empress Lilly served her last meals. All interiors were subsequently ripped out and a new décor for a single restaurant put in place. The old smokestacks and paddlewheel were removed due to rust and rot and were not replaced. The restaurant opened as Fulton’s Crab House on March 10, 1996.
Do you have a favorite in Disney, have you been there?