CRAPPER HISTORY

CRAPPER HISTORY

THIS Day in History: January 30, 1863

toiletFor 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?

Kathy Padden Daily Knowledge Newsletter

CAPTAIN THOMAS HARRISON

CAPTAIN THOMAS HARRISON

THE GREAT MIGRATION: SHIPS TO NEW ENGLAND 1633-35

Harrison House, Branford, CT

Harrison House, Branford, CT

It an amazing story of Providence and the skill of English seamen that dozens of Atlantic ocean passages were made in little wooden ships bringing our Puritan ancestors to America almost without mishap in the 1630’s; the unhappy exception being the harrowing story of the Angel Gabriel, 1635, which met a terrible storm and cast up on the coast of Maine with only a few survivors.

There were perhaps 30,000 emigrants from England to New England before the English Civil War. These folks were mainly from the English middle-class, self-reliant and motivated to find a place where they might live, worship, and raise their families without government harassment. This movement of people is called the Great Migration.

Their motivation was religious, political, and economic. The British church and government was becoming insufferably hierarchical, tyrannical, and tax-hungry. Common resentment among the English people led soon to the English Revolution beginning in 1642, and eventually to the beheading of King Charles for treason in 1649, after agents intercepted his secret invitations to foreign kings and armies, that they invade England, crush Parliament and the English Constitution, massacre his English opponents, and restore Charles to his pretended Dei gratia royal privileges. Charles Stuart continued incorrigibly to hold his dynastic interest separate and above those of Parliament and the British people, and ultimately Parliament had no alternative but to end his conspiracies with an axe.

kingcharlesKing Charles I of England

Son of James and Anne. A well-intentioned knave, he was captivated by his Catholic bride Henriette-Marie, who led him to treason and death, and all England to civil war.

The Great Migration ended at the start of the English Civil War. Then for a time in the 1640’s was hope rekindled in the people that they might live in liberty in England, and the flow of emigrants ceased, in fact reversed. Many brave New Englishmen and their sons returned to fight in England to uphold Parliament and the Commonwealth. The true history of the British Commonwealth has been an unwelcome topic in Britain since the restoration of monarchy, 1661. But that is another story…

GREAT MIGRATION PASSENGERS BY SURNAME

The migration included over 1500 persons from England to New England during the years 1632-1635. I found the name Harrison on a passenger list, who with his family headed east from New Haven, Connecticut and helped to settle Branford in 1644.

My hubby, Thomas Harrison Claus has lots of Harrison descendants here from abroad. As noted above, the Harrison’s were included in the migration and came over on one of the Puritan’s ships from Darby, England, and boy did they rock the boat. They raised their children who spread their wings and founded Newark, New Jersey. We were bowled over when we saw Richard Harrison’s name on a plaque in Newark as a founder. And there was a cemetery in Essex Fells, New Jersey that had interred many of the Harrisons’.

CaptainThomas Harrison (one of them-there were many)

Captain Thomas Harrison Branford, Connecticut

So, who was this Captain Thomas Harrison?

It’s a fantasy . . . . When we told my hubby’s mother we were moving to Connecticut from New Jersey, she mentioned the Harrison’s lived there generations ago. There it was, the Harrison house, well preserved right on Main Street in Branford as a antique home and museum, open to public for tours. But the best part was the library of the family right there on a bookcase in the kitchen. And it had the writings of a Captain Thomas Harrison who had the last entry in the late 19th century, ending with, “I hope someone will continue the Harrison history.”

Now, I have more about this Captain Thomas Harrison, but you’ll have to come back next week to hear the rest of the story.

Do you know anything about Captain Thomas Harrison?

THE COLOR PURPLE

THE COLOR PURPLE

Color circle superimposed on the spectral

It was the year AD 975 when the word ‘purple’ first appeared in the English language. Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. In additive light combinations it occurs by mixing the primary colors red and blue in varying proportions. It is a secondary color because two colors (blue and red) make up this color.

In color theory, a ‘purple’ is defined as any non-spectral color between violet and red (excluding violet and red themselves).[2] The spectral colors violet and indigoare not purples according to color theory but they are purples according to common English usage since they are between red and blue.

Icon for the color purple

In art, purple is the color on the color wheel between magenta and violet and its tints and shades. This color, electric purple, is shown as an icon.

In human color psychology, purple is associated with royalty and nobility stemming from classical antiquity when Tyrian purple was only affordable to the elites. The Tyrian purple was derived from the secretion of a sea snail and only in meager amounts, enough to dye only the trim of a garment worn for ritual purposes. In nature the snails use the secretion as part of their predatory behavior and as an antimicrobial lining on egg masses. The snail also secretes this substance when it is poked or physically attacked by humans. Therefore the dye can be collected either by “milking” the snails, which is more labor intensive but is a renewable resource, or by collecting and then crushing the snails completely.

Mark Rothko yellow & purple

Common connotations of purple include royalty, imperialism, nobility, Lent, Easter, Mardi Gras. Let’s remember too, that the complement to purple is that famous “yellow.”

One interesting psychophysical feature of purple and violet that can be used to separate them is their appearance with increasing light intensity. As the intensity increases, violet appears to take on a far more blue hue as a result of what is known as the Bezold-Brücke shift. The same increase in blueness is not noted in purples.

Purple living room

Lüscher says about violet, The mentally mature will normally prefer one of the basic colors rather than violet. Basic being red, blue and yellow. The mentally and emotionally immature on the other hand, may prefer violet. He goes on to say, in the case of 1600 pre-adolescent school children, 75% preferred violet. Statistics embracing Iranians, Africans and Brazilian Indians showed a marked preference for this color as compared with Euro-Caucasians.

Dining room in purple

Through my years in design, I have found that this statement is more cultural than emotional. In my old standby text, Interior Design and Decoration by Sherrill Whiton, in Psychology of Color, Psychologists maintain that color preferences are determined by geographical location, religion and socioeconomic background.

What are your thoughts on the color purple? Do you surround yourself with purple? Do you wear purple?

Purple hair – give yourself a treat

Would you like purple hair, or a streak of purple hair?

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