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tags: HomeworkOne

Product Examination

The Toilet

"A gleaming tribute to human ingenuity stands silent and ready for use at a moments notice. This invention is now largely ignored, or taken for granted, but it has done as much to revolutionize the health of the world as any vaccine. This marvelous invention is the flush toilet." -

"According to The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 by the World Health Organization, 40% of the global population does not have access to excreta disposal facilities, mostly in Asia and Africa. There are efforts to design toilets that are easy to build and maintain with simple materials, that are also hygienic."


The above quote is one reason I wanted to explore the innovations in toilet design. The statement, "There are efforts to design toilets that are easy to build and maintain with simple materials, that are also hygienic." creates a well constrained interesting challenge, and the need for overcoming the challenge is immediate. The World Toilet Organization has created some designs.

The most recent design from the World Toilet Organization was perhaps my favorite. This design requires only a piece of cloth, some rope, a bucket, and a hole in the ground and a bunch of dirt or sand, It is called

""Sphincter": the latrine toilet seat used without water or cleaning"

To really appreciate the design, check out the linked page. it is explained very well and there are a lot of pictures.

On the flip side of toilet design, i wanted to explore the TOTO toilet company. TOTO, the leader in innovative toilet design for the luxury home, has many interesting ideas regarding toilet design. The TOTO NEOREST (pdf of brochure) is perhaps the best designed luxury toilet on the market. TOTO combines water conservation, hygiene,and form to create amazing toilets. The Toto toilet cleans itself and cleans you without you touching anything but a remote or control panel.

TOTO says: "NEOREST’s ultra sleek design and revolutionary hygiene system strike a distinctive balance between style and substance, defining the next generation of luxury bath environments."

The features offered by the NEOREST toilets are: (all info below from neorest brochure)

• Automatic open + close lid
• Washlet® cleansing with 3 modes
• Hands-free automatic flush

-The TOTO washlet is a spray nozzle that is built-in the toilet
and sprays warm water, like a bidet. TOTO also offers a hand-held
version for travel.


• Warm air dryer - for after Washlet® use
• Built-in air purifying system
• Oscillating and pulsating comfort washing

• Slim and sleek remote control
• Adjustable heated seat temperature
• Adjustable spray with precision positioning
• Energy saver timer
• Manual override function

The Neorest is tankless. Its form and function are amazing.

Always an industry leader in innovation, TOTO has created a
revolutionary, multi-sequential flushing engine within the sleek,
tankless NEOREST® body. A water-saving 1.2 gallons per flush
mode is engaged once the seat automatically opens, guaranteeing
optimum efficiency and water conservation.

The unique rimless design ensures a clean bowl rinse after each use.
No rim holes mean the interior of the bowl is smooth and ideal for
easy cleaning. TOTO’s SanaGloss™ glaze not only
keeps the NEOREST looking lustrous but also helps to maintain a hygienic

Sophisticated sensor technology makes NEOREST a highly intuitive product.
Upon approach, the lid automatically opens, and with a touch of a button,
the seat automatically rises. Walking away from the NEOREST
automatically engages the flush mode as well as the closing of the
seat and lid.


Strange enough, the most ideal interactoin with a toilet is essentially none. A well designed toilet should be easy to sit on or stand at, but after that, the user should have as little contact as possible with any part of the toilet. One TOTO toilet offers a push button that replaces paper seat cover for a toilet. The NEOREST is self cleaning and self flushing.Even the "Sphincter", at the oppisite end of the cost spectrum than the TOTO, is self cleaning and self flushing, one must only add more dirt.

Radical Step?

I believe that for the most part the radical step for toilets has already come, but because of it is integral in our lives, i believe there is plenty of room for innovation.

we have moved from open troughs in the street to self-sterilizing public toilets, and at the same time 40% of the world is still using a open pit. With innovation in toilet design we create a healthier environment for all humans.


"Toilets appeared as early as 2500 BCE. The people of the Harappan civilization in Pakistan and north-western India had water borne toilets in each house that were linked with drains covered with burnt clay bricks. There were also toilets in ancient Egypt, Persia and China. In Roman civilization, toilets were sometimes part of public bath houses where men and women were together in mixed company. Toilets can be connected into a septic tank and/or a city sewer depending upon the nature of the residence."


"There is disagreement over who was the inventor of the modern flush toilet, and flushing out the truth is not easy. Many give credit to THOMAS CRAPPER (1837-1910), an English sanitary engineer, for inventing the valve~and~siphon arangement that made our modern toilet possible. Then there are others who maintain that our hero was a nameless MINOAN (a native of ancient Crete) who lived some 4,000 years ago. And then there are those who give the credit to ALEXANDER CUMMING who patented a flushing device in 1775.

But we also have Sir JOHN HARRINGTON who published a pamphlet in the 16th Century called the "Metamorphosis of Ajax" (The title is a pun..."jakes" was a common term for privy) with the full instructions for the construction of a valve closet. Still later GEORGE JENNINGS in the 18th Century made contributions that were considered the ultimate in plumbing mechanisms.

No matter to whom you give the credit, you can't help but appreciate the importance of their contributions to mankind when you consider the alternatives. Reading any of the various accounts of plumbing history should convince everyone that the plumbing industry does not receive near enough credit for the significant contributions it has made to make our lives more safe and comfortable.

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Page last modified on September 13, 2006, at 12:42 AM