Flushed with Pride the Story of Thomas Crapper

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As a British plumber, I would like to correct some of your assumptions concerning one Thomas Crapper, plumbing Engineer, of Chelsea, England. Crapper did not invent the water closet. (as far as can be ascertained from MUCH research done on this subject, he did not invent anything!)

Crapper was not Sir Thomas, although he and the company which he founded did work at various royal households, including Windsor, his company were plumbing installers.

Crapper did hold several patents, but not for water closets, some of the patent numbers in his advertising were not owned by him, although they did apply to the equipment he was advertising. All these patents are still in existence, so are very easy to check, and I feel that this is where much confusion has arisen.

Flushed With Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper - Front Cover Flushed With Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper - Back Cover Flushed With Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper - Newspaper Article

It was very common in Victorian England for equipment like water closets, cast iron fittings and fireplaces etc. to bear the name of the installer, NOT the manufacturer. Catalogues of Crappers wares showed designs reproduced from manufacturers catalogues, emblazoned with crappers name at the factory where they were made and supplied to him in bulk for his company to install. There are still very many identical cast iron cooking ranges in good working order all over Yorkshire, each one bearing the name of the local blacksmith, or ironmonger, but he was the installer, not the maker.

The maker was sometimes a local foundry, making a product to a standard design purchased as a license from the patent holder, but most were supplied from large foundries with two holes, 2 inches apart, tapped 1/4 whitworth and ready to take the installers nameplate, also made at the same foundry!!! This is the reason that Crapper manhole covers (along with many other names) can be found around London, it means installed by, and not necessarily made by or patented by!


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