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Thomas Crapper: Remembered From the Bowels of History

Thomas Crapper toilet at the Victor Horta Museum, Brussels. Photo by Oxyman (2007). Victor Horta Museum. PD-GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.
Thomas Crapper toilet at the Victor Horta Museum, Brussels. Photo by Oxyman (2007). Victor Horta Museum. PD-GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

Whom and what can you believe these days? Today it’s known as “False or Fake News” and during the Reagan era, it was called “Spin.” A headline (or social media) is where it all starts. I should know. Remember my blog called Cindy Lauper and the Naked Princess? That one got a lot of attention. I recently read a BBC History Magazine article entitled The Legend of Thomas Crapper: Five Myths. It appears as though there has been a fair amount of false news perpetuated about Mr. Crapper over the past century. I suppose it’s all a bunch of crap.

Meet Thomas Crapper

Portrait of Thomas Crapper. Photo by anonymous (c. 19th-century). PD-70+. Wikimedia Commons.
Portrait of Thomas Crapper. Photo by anonymous (c. 19th-century). PD-70+. Wikimedia Commons.

Thomas Crapper (1836−1910) is fondly remembered as the inventor of the toilet or if you will, the flushing toilet. However, is this really true? No, it’s not as we’ll see in a moment. Thomas was seventeen when he apprenticed under his brother George, a master plumber. By the time Thomas was twenty-five, he had gone out on his own and started a brass foundry and plumbing shop near Chelsea (now an affluent section of West London and my nephew’s favorite English Premier League team). Read More Thomas Crapper: Remembered From the Bowels of History

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Medieval Sleep Number® Bed

Saint-Denis Cathedral: Recumbent statues of King Charles V and his queen, Jeanne de Bourbon. Photo by Dan Owen (2014).
Saint-Denis Cathedral: Recumbent statues of King Charles V and his queen, Jeanne de Bourbon. Photo by Dan Owen (2014).

Sandy and I were travelling through England several years ago when we visited a 17th-century manor. I don’t recall a whole lot of visitors at the time we were there so we pretty much had the whole house to ourselves. For security purposes, a docent was stationed in every room and they looked really bored—except for one.

Why Is the Bed So Short? 

Medeival sleeping chamber in Marksburg Castle. Photo by Efgeka (2009). PD-Creative Creations Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.
Medeival sleeping chamber in Marksburg Castle. Photo by Efgeka (2009). PD-Creative Creations Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

When we got to what I think was the master bedroom, the fellow keeping an eye on us struck up a conversation. His comments were very interesting and considering the cost to get into the manor and its grounds, all of the room monitors should have done what he did and offer up treasures of information. Yet it was one of his questions that stuck in my head all these years. He asked us if we knew why the bed was so short.

I thought I’d impress him with my knowledge and responded that the people back then were short. In other words, they didn’t need the extra nighttime real estate. He agreed but said that wasn’t the real answer. So much for impressing him.

The Devil Made Me Do It

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