Subject: Re: Thomas Crapper and Spread Spectrum rocher@husc8.harvard.edu (Jean-Marc Rocher

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From: twcaps@tennyson.lbl.gov (Terry Chan) Subject: Re: Thomas Crapper and Spread Spectrum rocher@husc8.harvard.edu (Jean-Marc Rocher) writes: + +>I believe this started with the book "Flushed with Pride: The Life of Thomas +> Crapper", by the same person who wrote "Bust Up: The Life of Otto Titzling" +>(The supposed inventor of the bra). I also believe that Cecil Adams wrote +>that these two books were full of it. mcirvin@husc8.harvard.edu (Mcirvin) writes: +It's more complicated than that, apparently; I believe that some hint of +the story is in the FAQ. "Flushed with Pride" was a hoax, but Crapper was +a real person who did manufacture toilets. Yep, and it's even more complicated than that. But anyways Cecil does note that the Titzling one was bogus, but really doesn't address the issue of the Crapper one one way or the other (other than to relay that many thought the Crapper book was bogus since the Titzling one obviously was). Adams cites Ken Grabowski, a researcher at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL) who found that Crapper (1836-1910) was indeed a sanitary engineer who started a plumbing company in 1861. While he did not actually invent the flush toilet, he did make certain improvements to its design. This is supported by field research by our own Jack Campin (who is seen much too infrequently these days) who visited the Gladstone (or was it Disraeli? Oh, never mind) Pottery Museum in Stoke-on-Kent, England and viewed a number of items relating to Crapper and his firm. Jack also notes that what Crapper did invent was the modern valve flushing mechanism. I will finally note that this story gets confused by people because Martin Garder wrote a joke column in the April 1, 1975 _Scientific American_, which supported the Crapper story with the Reyburn book as a reference. In the July 1975 issue, he says that the entire story was true EXCEPT for the reference to Crapper and backs up his case by saying: 1. _The Slang Dictionary_ (London: Chatto and Windus, Rev. 1873), on "Crap and Crapping Case", and 2. The book on Titzling which was a known hoax. Apparently, Gardner concluded that since the Titzling book was a hoax the Crapper book was also a hoax. (I never understood the reference to the _Slang Dictionary_ although I presume it had something to do with the fact that it does not note that Crapper was the origin of the words "crap" and "crapper case" as many people had seemed to think in the wake of the Reyburn book.) However, the later research by Adams/Grabowski, Jack, and the comments by Gardner lead to me write the FAQ entries as they are. One of these days, I'll send this stuff over to the FTP site. BTW, in addition to Jack's post of February 1992, I also relied on an article posted by Richard M. Matthews for Gardner's comments. The latter post was a response to Jack's post. [NOTE: Both Jack Campin's and Richard M. Matthew's original posts follow this one.] [Ed. Note: I received a note from Richard and I wish to point out that I misspelled his name (it should be "Mathews"). If you would like to contact him, his new e-mail address is Richard.Mathews@West.Sun.COM - TWC] Terry "Ahhhhh, relief!" Chan -- Internet: TWChan@lbl.gov This is illegal, but I know jujitsu Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory so I don't care. Berkeley, California USA 94720 From dog.ee.lbl.gov!network.ucsd.edu!swrinde!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!orchard.la.locus.com!devnet.la.locus.com!richard Sat Feb 29 17:47:07 PST 1992 Article 36146 of alt.folklore.urban: Path: dog.ee.lbl.gov!network.ucsd.edu!swrinde!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!orchard.la.locus.com!devnet.la.locus.com!richard >From: richard@locus.com (Richard M. Mathews) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.science,alt.folklore.urban Subject: Crapper (was Pyramids) Message-ID: <1992Feb29.121756.2487397@locus.com> Date: 29 Feb 92 12:17:56 GMT References: <16793B870.MEDELMA@cms.cc.wayne.edu> <1992Feb21.154149.2534@syma.sussex.ac.uk> <1992Feb25.093638.2460382@locus.com> <1992Feb27.123834.27597@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk> Organization: Locus Computing Corporation, Los Angeles, California Lines: 53 Xref: dog.ee.lbl.gov alt.folklore.science:831 alt.folklore.urban:36146 jack@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin) writes: >richard@locus.com (Richard M. Mathews) wrote: >> The April Fool's article with which I am familiar is in the April '75 >> issue. It does not mention pyramids. It does have my favorite hoaxes: >> that Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet and (in the follow-up >> explanation article) that Otto Titzling invented the bra. >Thomas Crapper did exist, and did make flush toilets; his contribution was >the modern flushing valve mechanism. I have seen a roomful of his products >at the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, England (really elaborate >pans with the sort of decorative glazing you'd expect to find on an antique >soup tureen). The museum will sell you postcards or posters reproducing >some of his advertisements. Nobody has helped me out by offering me copies of the articles in the recent Crapper/Titzling thread, so I'll take a chance that I am repeating something said there. Here are quotes from the Sci Am articles on the subject. In his 1975 April Fools article, Gardner writes: Modern mechanisms, in which a ball float and automatic cutoff stopper limit the amount of water released with each flush, date from the early 19th-century patents of Thomas Crapper, a British manufacturer of plumbing fixtures who died in 1910. (See "Clean and Decent: The Fascinating History of the Bathroom and Water Closet," by Lawrence Wright, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960, and "Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper," by Wallace Reyburn, Prentice-Hall, 1971.) Then in his July, 1975, article Gardner explained his hoaxes. He wrote: The data on the history of the water closet is accurate except for the reference to Thomas Crapper. The book by Wallace Reyburn, "Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper," does exist, and it is the funniest plumbing hoax since H.L.Mencken wrote his history of the bathroom. Reyburn's book persuaded many readers that the slang words "crap" and "crapper" derive from water closets made in England by one Mr. Crapper, but I shall cite two indications that the book is a joke: (1) the entry on "crap" and "crapping case" in "The Slang Dictionary" (London: Chatto and Windus, revised 1873) and (2) Reyburn's latest book, "Bust-up: The Uplifting Tale of Otto Titzling and the Development of the Bra (Prentice-Hall, 1972). Richard M. Mathews D efend Internet: richard@locus.com E stonian-Latvian-Lithuanian UUCP: ...!uunet!lcc!richard I ndependence MIL/BITNET: richard%lcc@UUNET.UU.NET From dog.ee.lbl.gov!network.ucsd.edu!pacbell.com!mips!think.com!yale.edu!jvnc.net!darwin.sura.net!haven.umd.edu!uunet!mcsun!uknet!glasgow!jack Tue Mar 3 16:49:26 PST 1992 Article 36292 of alt.folklore.urban: Path: dog.ee.lbl.gov!network.ucsd.edu!pacbell.com!mips!think.com!yale.edu!jvnc.net!darwin.sura.net!haven.umd.edu!uunet!mcsun!uknet!glasgow!jack >From: jack@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.science,alt.folklore.urban Subject: Re: Crapper (was Pyramids) Message-ID: <1992Mar3.120930.9767@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk> Date: 3 Mar 92 12:09:30 GMT References: <1992Feb25.093638.2460382@locus.com> <1992Feb27.123834.27597@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk> <1992Feb29.121756.2487397@locus.com> Reply-To: jack@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin) Organization: COMANDOS Project, Glesga Yoonie Lines: 49 Xref: dog.ee.lbl.gov alt.folklore.science:854 alt.folklore.urban:36292 richard@locus.com (Richard M. Mathews) wrote: > jack@dcs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin) writes: >> Thomas Crapper did exist, and did make flush toilets; his contribution was >> the modern flushing valve mechanism. I have seen a roomful of his products >> at the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, England (really elaborate >> pans with the sort of decorative glazing you'd expect to find on an antique >> soup tureen). The museum will sell you postcards or posters reproducing >> some of his advertisements. > Here are quotes from [Martin Gardner's] Sci Am articles on the subject. > The data on the history of the water closet is accurate > except for the reference to Thomas Crapper. The book > by Wallace Reyburn, "Flushed with Pride: The Story of > Thomas Crapper," does exist, and it is the funniest > plumbing hoax since H.L.Mencken wrote his history of > the bathroom. Reyburn's book persuaded many readers > that the slang words "crap" and "crapper" derive from > water closets made in England by one Mr. Crapper, but I > shall cite two indications that the book is a joke: (1) > the entry on "crap" and "crapping case" in "The Slang > Dictionary" (London: Chatto and Windus, revised 1873) > and (2) Reyburn's latest book, "Bust-up: The Uplifting > Tale of Otto Titzling and the Development of the Bra > (Prentice-Hall, 1972). I think I'll write a book called "DICK!!!" which will relate how Richard Mathews was the byproduct of a gene manipulation experiment run by the Vatican in an attempt to produce a second virgin birth of Jesus and thereby induce the Second Coming. Since it'll be obvious bullshit, it'll prove that no such person as Richard Mathews exists, won't it? In short, Gardner got it wrong. "Flushed with Pride" is a joky piece of work, but it's based on the career of a real person and, from what I've heard (I haven't seen it) doesn't fabricate much. However, it is no more likely that "crap" drives from Crapper's name than that "jobbie" derives from Gareth Job the Birmingham sewage treatment researcher. Look, NOBODY would go to the lengths required to fake the toilets in the Gladstone Pottery. Making a roomful of different models of fancy glazed Victorian WCs from scratch nowadays would cost something in six figures. You're talking about months of labour-intensive work by designers, pottery technologists and patternmakers, using skills now possessed by no more than a handful of people in the whole world. Those things were *incredibly* elaborate.

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