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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Thomas Crapper & Company

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Thomas Crapper was an inventor, plumber and famous founder of Thomas Crapper & Co based in London.  Although some believe that he invented the toilet this is not the case, however he is credited with developing the modern bathroom concept and also for opening the first ever showroom to display such products as toilets, sinks and baths, located in Kings Road London.  With manufacturing taking place in Marlborough Road, Crapper’s showroom appeared quite shocking to some when it opened, at a time when the subject of toilets was something rarely openly discussed.

Crapper started his own business in 1861, following completion of his apprenticeship and time spent as a journeyman plumber.  In the 1880’s Thomas Crapper would become the recipient of his first Royal Warrant, having provided and installed all Prince Edward’s bathroom, plumbing and drainage requirements, when the Prince rebuilt Sandringham House in Norfolk.  Edward would later become King, and this connection with royalty would continue with Crapper supplying plumbing equipment at the request of George V, further enhancing his reputation as a supplier of the finest quality goods.  Installations of Crapper’s fittings also took place at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

Crapper’s inventions and pioneering design would see him hold a total of 9 patents during his lifetime, three of which related to improvements for water closets including a floating ballcock, with water waste prevention a key focus. His patents also included a disconnecting trap, a drains fitting installed underground.  A less successful invention of Crappers was a spring-loaded toilet seat which used pulling rods to flush the toilet automatically, due to problems experienced by some users over time the device was not a commercial success.

1904 would see Crapper retired, with nephew George and business partner Robert Wharam then responsible for the business.  In the 1960’s the company was sold to John Bolding & Sons Ltd, who later went out of business.

Sadly, today marks the anniversary of the death of Thomas Crapper, who passed away in 1910.  However, the company now operates once again as an independent, following its acquisition by a collector of bathroom antiques.  The company was subsequently re-launched and today operates from Stratford-Upon-Avon, supplying authentic reproductions of Crapper’s famous Victorian fittings, and continuing Thomas Crapper’s reputation for the finest quality sanitary ware.

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