Thomas Crapper Day 2022!

Picture of Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Account Director, Taylor Alden

27th January 2022 marks the 112th anniversary of the death of Thomas Crapper. Being the biggest influence in the development and distribution of the flush toilet, we all have a lot to thank Mr Crapper for. 

Still today, Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd is a well-respected, luxury bathroom brand manufacturer. All you have to do is visit to view the portfolio of beautiful, British-made bathroom furniture and sanitaryware.

To mark the 112th anniversary of his death, we’re giving you 12 facts you may not know about Thomas Crapper – and the lavatory.

  • In Britain, many people think the word’ lavatory’ is the correct term to describe the Water Closet but, in fact, it means a washbasin.
  • The word ‘lavatory’ is derived from the Latin, ‘lavare’, to wash. In the nineteenth century, people would ask ‘Where is your lavatory?’ (That is, ‘Where may I wash my hands?’) when they really wished to use the loo but they were too embarrassed to mention it.
  • Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd. has its own branded gin.
  • In the 1990s, NASA spent $30 million on developing new space-loos for the convenience of their astronauts when in zero gravity.
  • Alexander Cummings is often cited as the ‘inventor’ of the flushing W.C. in the year 1775, but he was simply the first to apply successfully for a patent for a loo. Furthermore, his patent was merely for ‘improvements’ to an existing flushing apparatus.
  • The Reverend Henry Moule invented the world’s first ‘eco-loo’ in 1860. Called the Earth Closet, it was a device that flushed dry earth, not water, and was a great success for decades.
  • The world’s first public lavatory was built by George Jennings at the Great Exhibition in London, 1851. A white-coated attendant charged each user a penny, from which we have the term ‘spend a penny’. By the end of the exhibition, the receipts totalled £2,441 when there were 240 pennies in the pound.
  • “Paruresis” is the inability to use public toilets due to social fears.
  • It is believed that the first commercially-available toilet paper was introduced in New York in 1857 by Messrs. Gayety’s Medicated Paper Co.
  • If all the rolls of loo paper used in Great Britain over twelve months were laid end to end, the strip produced would reach further than Mars. However, the average American uses more than twice as much W.C. paper as the average Briton.
  • The Scott Paper Company of Philadelphia is believed to have introduced rolls of lavatory paper in 1879. Previously, it was supplied in square sheets, in cardboard boxes.

For further information on Thomas Crapper, please visit