Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Above: Private collection: Simon Kirby owns more than 200 toilets as well as the historic Thomas Crapper and Co [pict. Mail Online]
If you own a Victorian toilet you could quite literally be sitting on a goldmine!
Victorian toilets are very much in vogue for any bourgeois home and are currently commanding thousands of pounds on the market.
Sir John Harington is usually credited as the inventor of the first flushing water closet. Two were made in 1594, one for Harington and the other for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. Although the 'John' had flushing mechanisms, it was emptied only once a week and consisted of little more than a box below the seat. The first flushing toilet of the type we know today was not patented until 1775 by Alexander Cummings. Three years later Joseph Bramah refined this with a mechanism allowing the toilet to be flushed more easily through the use of a set of gears.
The cistern-driven pans that started to be made in the mid-1880s are the most collectible, as they are the earliest toilets that are readily adaptable to modern bathrooms. Of these, the most valuable are decorated with prints such as flower arrangements. The golden era of their manufacture came between 1880 and the First World War. The older pans in good condition are becoming increasingly rare and this helps to push up their value. Later pans tend to fetch less because mass production flooded the market, explains Salvo Code dealer Simon Kirby. Simon has been collecting toilets since the age of seventeen and bought the historic toilet company Thomas Crapper and Co in 1997.
He says, "There are some fantastic-looking early pans, but to be fit for use they must be in excellent condition and watertight. It is vital to study any potential purchase carefully for cracks."
Posted by cg at 11:55 AM