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Toilets - a brief history on the flush

The toilet flushing technology has been present in the world for the last century.

The idea of a flushing toilet was first purported by Sir John Harrington in the 18th century. Till today, many people still attribute the invention of the flushing toilet to him - hence why many countries refer to the toilet as - The John.

Thomas crapper was the first merchant later on to have a showroom dedicated to the sale of flushing toilets. Maybe this explains why we say today - to take a crap.

How does the toilet flush work?

It is a simple and efficient piece of ingenuity based on the principles of flotation and gravity.

Every toilet has a cistern tank which can contain water. Each cistern tank can hold between 6 to 9Litres of water which are generally good for about 1 full flush and 1 half flush (according to Singapore’s WELS).

When a user activates the flush button, they are basically sending a mechanical instruction to the tank to release it’s capacity of water – by the opening of the flush valve. The subsequent rush of water will generate enough gravitational force to push the waste out of the bowl and into the sewer pipes leaving behind fresh water.

The filler valve is then activated which slowly fills the tank with water. As the tank is filled, the filler float will rise with the level of water and eventually, it will trigger the mechanism which will shut off the filler valve.

So simple!

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