Friday, 8 June 2012
Joseph Bramah's Royal Flush
Joseph Bramah was born at Stainborough Lane Farm, Wentworth in Yorkshire, in 1748, and was an inventor and locksmith. He is best known for having invented the hydraulic press, yet it was for a more domestic invention which had Georgian and Regency society had reason to thank him. He married and moved to London in 1783, where he worked for a Mr. Allen, installing water closets (toilets) which were designed to a patent obtained by one Alexander Cumming in 1775. He discovered that this model had a tendency to freeze in cold weather, and therefore improved the design by replacing the usual slide valve with a hinged flap that sealed the bottom of the bowl. Bramah obtained the patent for it in 1778, and began making toilets at a workshop in Denmark Street, St Giles. By 1797 he had sold over 6,000 of his water closets. The design was so successful that production continued well into the 19th century, and his original water closets are still working in Osborne House, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight.