Toilets with running water have been around for thousands of years.
No one person can be credited with thinking up this efficient way to dispose of human waste.
However, it is known that Sir John Harrington, a godson of Queen Elizabeth, created the first flush toilet in 1596.
Queen Elizabeth was thrilled until Harrington wrote a book about his invention. The queen instantly became the butt of her countrymen’s jokes, as it were.
She was humiliated and had Harrington banished from her sight. Thus, flush toilets stayed empty.
In 1775, Alexander Cumming designed a “stink trap” for toilets that kept water in the pipe, preventing odors from wafting back up from the sewers, a substantial milestone in toilet history.
Regardless, it was still a century before flushing toilets would replace the old standby, the chamber pot.