Monday, June 09, 2008

First flushing rim thunderbox WC for sale at Salvo Fair 2008

Above: Optimus patent thunderbox loo by Dent & Hellyer of Red Lion Square, London, c1870, the first toilet with a flushing rim, on sale at this year's Salvo Fair for £595 from Antique Baths of Ivybridge

Salvo Fair 2008, Fri 27 Jun - Sun 29 Jun, Knebworth, Hertfordshire UK - ANTIQUE Baths of Ivybridge will be bringing an original patent Optimus thunderbox to the Salvo Fair this year, the first loo with under-the-rim flushing. This WC, consisting of a valve closet surrounded by a fine Cuban mahogany enclosure, dates from 1870, when Dent & Hellyer invented and patented the first flushing rim bowls of their Optimus and Artisan models.

Before the Optimus the flush came from a spout placed under the lid which swirled the water around the conical bowl but did not always clean it. The flushing rim, seen as a vast improvement, was patented by Dent & Hellyer and made for them by Thomas Twyford of Stoke on Trent. Twyfords were potters and sanitaryware makers who rose to prominence after the cholera outbreaks of the 1840s and 1860s, the death of Prince Albert, and the near death of the Prince of Wales, the future Kind Edward VII, from water-borne cholera and typhus.

Thunderbox is the name given to the whole assembly, which was plumbed into the new-fangled mains water supply providing the flush, and the equally new-fangled sewers which got rid of the effuent. The thunderbox contained the Optimus' innards in an elegant mahogany enclosure. The D handle was lifted to open the water supply to flush the pan (seen on the right in the closed position in the photo above) either from the mains or from a concealed cistern. The thunderbox was the epitome of posh Victorian toiletry from 1870 up to the late 1880s when the all-in-one wash-out, and then syphonic flush, pottery toilet pans were introduced.

Above: Nick Cowan of Antique Baths of Ivybridge in the cast iron bath open air pre-restoration yard

Above: Fabulous old hand carved 5ft 9ins Spanish marble bath from Barcelona. Price £3,750

Above: Japkap lead lined pine high-level cistern, restored and coated to comply with modern water regulations. Price £350 including antique brackets

Above: Old wooden stepped commode. Price £175

Salvo Fair
Antique Baths of Ivybridge

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