This column has a strict policy of not indulging in toilet humor (some may say we have a strict policy of not indulging in any sort of humor); nevertheless, we would be remiss if we missed a chance to acknowledge the accomplishments of British businessman and sanitation engineer Thomas Crapper (yes, this is a real person). During his competition with the snooty French aristocrat the Marquis de la Trine, Mr. Crapper made several contributions to the field of toiletry, including receiving a patent this week in 1880 for his most important innovation: the U-shaped drain pipe. Whereas the earliest urban waste removal systems consisted mainly of a chamber pot and an open window, the simple U-shaped pipe allowed for discrete disposal while blocking the inflow of noxious sewer gases. Therefore, you could now live in a penthouse without it smelling like an outhouse. So while some may claim that you can build a city on rock-and-roll; in reality, no modern metropolis could be maintained without Mr. Crapper's contraption and that deserves some commendation.
Plumbing the depths of waste management will always lead back to Crapper.
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