Seat fittings

c1895

24 seat A 8HS_4760_Syphonic-24.jpg

(Picture: Hugh Sainsbury/Crossness Engines Trust)

 

The introduction of seat-hinge holes into ceramic pans such as Le Syphonic allowed more flexibility in installation, because the pedestal didn’t have to be fitted against a rear wall. 

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(Picture: © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel)

 

This extravagantly decorated Doulton Combination wash-out closet (1884), at the National Trust’s Saltram house in Devon, shows how many hinged seats were fitted after standalone pedestal closets became popular, but before direct seat fitting holes were introduced. In this case, the seat hinge is attached to a wooden batten screwed to the wall behind the closet. An alternative arrangement saw the hinge attached to a pair of galvanised iron brackets, such as the example below, also fitted to the back wall.

24 seat C 8HS_4849-Fittings-24.jpg

(Picture: Hugh Sainsbury/Crossness Engines Trust)

The development of hinged seats brought additional comfort; attachment directly to the bowl made cleaning and replacement easier and cheaper, particularly after the introduction of bakelite and then plastic mass-produced seats and lids.

 

But not everyone wants to use a toilet seat. Indeed, large numbers of people, particularly in Asia and parts of Africa, prefer squat toilets. which in the past were also common in parts of Mediterranean Europe. When squatting, only the user’s feet touch the toilet, which is typically
embedded in the floor; it’s also a healthy position for defecation. Designs for toilets to be used in these regions need to be aware of preferences and norms of hygiene and comfort.