Today's date, January 27th, marks the anniversary of the death of the English plumber and inventor Thomas Crapper (c.1836-1910). While Crapper is often popularly credited with inventing the modern flush toilet, that technology was actually patented by inventor Albert Giblin.
Crapper's achievements in invention were in improvements to toilet technology, most notably his modification to traditional plumbing traps with the invention of the U-bend pipe in 1880.
His most significant contributions to the modern bathroom, however, were in the marketing of products like “Crapper's Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer”. Thomas Crapper & Co. was the first company to set up public showrooms to promote and display toilets and other sanitary equipment and Crapper himself was a prominent advocate for the installation of advocate of "sanitary plumbing" in modern homes.
We're marking the anniversary today with this image from the ca. 1929 catalog Color and Style in Bathroom Furnishing and Decoration from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co., an American manufacturer of bathroom fixtures. Descriptive text accompanying this image reads:
Just as beauty in the living room cannot be disassociated from the design of the furniture, the beauty of the bathroom must have its beginning in the plumbing fixtures. Lack of distinction in bathroom ﬁxtures, as in living room furniture, is patent, and cannot be overcome by the background however distinctive and interesting it may be.
Here the background, with its mural and hand-decorated walls, is highly individual. One would not willingly spoil this beauty by the installation of plumbing ﬁxtures of commonplace design or color. Creative talent is called into play quite as much in the selection of the ﬁxtures and materials as in the origination of a color composition. You may have, by persevering in your refusal to accept substitutions, plumbing ﬁxtures that are, in design, fine examples of functional beauty, such as the Templeton Lavatory and the Pembroke Bath.
In planning a room such as this, it is necessary to co-operate closely with the artist. However, the decorative scheme need not be followed exactly. The mural over the bath may give place to a window of stained glass or a simple design may be. worked out in mosaic tile. This bathroom design, and all others illustrated in this book, are not intended as patterns. They are suggestions which, it is hoped. will inspire you to create your own ways of making your bathroom beautiful.
This catalog is Trade Cat.S78 1929 in Hagley Library's collection of trade catalogs and pamphlets. You can view the work in full online in our Digital Archive by clicking here.