Toilets have advanced yet are still a relatively simple technology. What started as a hole in the ground that could be anywhere, has simply become a toilet that can be moved about anywhere inside a cubicle. Portaloos have become big business because of the events industry. They use a similar technology to that which we take along on our camping trip. This article will explore the developments of toilets indoors and out.
It is not entirely clear which country invented the flushing toilet. A Neolithic settlement dating to 3000 BC indicates that it is likely to be the Scots. Later in 1700BC, however, the Greeks built the Palace of Knossos which had large pans of earthenware that were connected to a supply of flushing water.
Prior to the flushing toilet, communal outhouses were used outside and chamber pots inside. When castles were built during the 11th century, toilets became incorporated into architecture.
In the 1800s, toilets were referred to as water closets, or WCs. It was basically a washstand. The 1880s would see flushing versions of the water closet which were being manufactured to resemble the designs of the chambers pots and commodes that had become familiar.
Chemical Toilets for Camping and Portable Toilets for Industrial Use
The purpose of the chemical toilet is hygiene. Smells are masked and waste is broken down by a chemical process, making them easy to empty and clean. Thetford Aqua-Kem is thought to be the standard brand for chemical camping toilets but there are others on the market to choose from.
In the 1950s, the first American patent for a polyethylene portable toilet was issued. This was to Harvey Heather, who was the founder of United Sanitation. It was of solid construction and represented a stand-alone toilet that functioned as a chemical toilet. These types of toilets have gone on to be used by those running events and by construction firms for their workers. They are often referred to as portaloos and emptied by specialist firms. They now even come with washing and showering facilities, if required.
Today’s portaloos are made up of four primary chemicals to make them work. That is, biocides, dye, fragrance, and surfactants. Biocides prevent bacteria growth in relation to that which is found in human waste. They are also used in swimming pools. The dye helps mask the vision of the waste. The toilets should be cleaned out before the blue dye turns to green, indicating that the chemical has received the limit of waste deposits it can deal with. Fragrances are used to mask the smells produced by human waste, just as a deodorizer is used in the home to absorb smells. The surfactants are basically detergents. These are used to make the biocides and fragrances more effective by helping to lower the surface tension between the liquid chemical and human waste. The inclusion of surfactants means that biocides and fragrances can work faster. This is the science behind it all. The result of this combination of chemicals is something more pleasant to visit.
Light and Sensor Technology
Lights can now be fitted to toilets inside the home for users to see at night where they are going, without needing to disturb others by switching the main light on. A red light indicates that the seat is down, and a green one that it is up. This is important so that nobody wets the seat, and probably the floor as well.
New onto the market is the touchless toilet that Kohler produces. It offers flushing via a sensor in the toilet’s flush lever. The user simply hovers their hand over the lever’s front to trigger the mechanism. The advantage of this is, again, hygiene, as you can flush without spreading bacteria. In addition, there is a nightlight that is adjustable via the Kohler app. So, as with all technologies, an app finds its way into advancing the technology.
Toilets still maintain their basic function of having developed a way of dealing with waste, but now incorporate extra features that make them more portable and hygienic to use.