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Strange Plumbing Fact: World’s Oldest Toilets?


The toilet is one of the basic parts of any residential or commercial plumbing system. It’s one of those items you know you can’t live without!

Of course, there were centuries when people did live without them—and it was a much less sanitary or comfortable time. The first flushing toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, which included a flush valve and wash-down mechanism—convenient and sanitary. But it wasn’t for almost another 200 years that the flush toilet as we know it was invented, and only in the 19th century did its use become common because of increased city living, where sewer systems made toilets beneficial for hygiene. This was also the period when being a plumber became a professional occupation. You needed skilled individuals to help out whenever something went wrong with a household toilet. Plumbers were important heroes for public health! (And they still are.)

The Tomb of the Ancient Chinese Toilet

But what’s the world’s oldest toilet? Of course, we don’t know for certain, but in the year 2000 archaeologists in Central China discovered what they believe is the oldest known running water toilet. It was found in Central China in the two-thousand-year-old tomb of a Chinese king of the Western Han Dynasty. Much like the Ancient Egyptians, Chinese rulers were often buried with amenities they might need in the afterlife—and this king thought his flushing toilet was an essential appliance even when he was dead! The toilet has a stone seat, armrests, and running water brought in with a pipe. There’s still some controversy about how far backflushing toilet technology goes: there are stone closets in the Palace of Knossos on Crete that may have held toilets—as far back as four thousand years ago!

You’ve got a much better type of toilet for your home, but should it need any plumbing service in Bethesda, MD, call on our sanitation heroes! We offer 24-hour service, ready to come to the rescue of your home plumbing.

Mallick Plumbing & Heating is the Service Contractor of Choice! We serve Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia