There have been many different stages of plumbing history when it comes to toilet facilities, as is revealed by this handy infographic by It shows the history of plumbing goes back a long way, with the first known water closet being made in India in approximately the year 2000BC. A pot of water was used to provide a sort of flushing mechanism, and this principle would be the forerunner of modern WCs that are in use today.

If that fact was interesting, this next piece of information the infographic provides could probably be classed as ‘gruesome!’ In 312BC, there is evidence to show that the Romans had their own unique approach to toilet paper – a sponge on a wooden stick. While this may not be too disturbing in itself, the reality was that multiple people would share the same sponge!

The medieval era (approximately 11th Century to the 15th Century) saw the invention of the chamber pot – a personal and portable toilet that had a number of similarities to a modern-day toilet. However, as the infographic reveals, a lack of draining facilities meant that most people would simply throw the contents of the pot into the street, and the lucky ones would have an open sewer to take it all away.

The first water closet with a fully-functioning flush was created by John Harrington in 1596, and this was further enhanced by Thomas Twyford’s Brahman in 1870. The invention of the Pull Chain in 1880 led to the humble toilet becoming widely available, and this was present in a number of working-class and middle-class homes by the 1920s. Some people may say that toilets became extremely futuristic with the invention of the Sensor Flush in Japan in 1986, but nobody really knows what the future of the toilet may hold.

This infographic was part of my role at “Verify a Plumber”

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