Saturday, September 23, 2023

Toilet Genealogy

Long story why, however recently I became interested in the genealogy of the toilet in my downstairs bathroom.

Remember the toilet? We explored this subject some time ago. Above is a file photo of it.

Today I wanted to settle how old this toilet in our downstairs bathroom actually is.  I happened to be reading in this book about Frank Lloyd Wright that I got at Amvets that you can often identify old toilets by a stamp on them. You can find very useful things in books about Frank Lloyd Wright and this was one of them.

I looked all over the toilet. No luck.

I reread the passage in the book. I did some Googling. Someone somewhere suggested I look under the tank lid. So I did. I saw nothing. 

However after carefully replacing the lid I decided to give it another gander. I lifted it off again and suddenly .... there it was. Some lettering!

It took me forever to make it out. I had to do more Googling.

Finally, eureka! "A.R. San." it read.

American Radiator Standard Sanitary! I found that name somewhere online.

I consulted with Howard. As he has pointed out before, American Radiator merged with Standard in 1929. That means this toilet is not original to the house, which was built in 1917. Which we were thinking it might be, because it has that wall-mounted tank and just looks so antique.

It made sense however. When I moved in here a million years ago, a chatty neighbor told me that the downstairs half-bath had been added to the house, that the space used to be a pantry. I had always interpreted that to mean that it had been added more recently, and I had wondered if she was mistaken, because as I just said, the toilet is so old.

However, it turns out that she must have been quoting old oral history, and it is correct. From my research, the toilet dates to the 1930s. So the remodeling was done then. A long time ago.

From what I see online, there are a lot of vintage bathrooms, however very few with a toilet this old. Toilets are usually replaced at some point, out of necessity.

Ours has had its problems over the years, however the problems have been fixed.

It is going strong!


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