Happy Crapper Day!!!
'We enjoyed your site greatly. Happy Crapper Day
for the 27th!' We are, yours sincerely,
-Thomas Crapper & Co. Ltd.
January 27th is the anniversary of the passing of
Thomas Crapper. CQ is honoring this special man with this commemorative
section containing special information and tributes.
If you would like to send a special message to be
posted, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All messages will be posted anonymously to protect the names of
A Brief History
Thomas Crapper was born in Yorkshire in 1836, into
a family of modest means. At 14 years of age he was apprenticed
to a Master Plumber in Chelsea, London. After serving his apprenticeship
and then working as a journeyman, he set up in his own right in
1861 as a plumber in Robert Street, Chelsea.
Subsequently in 1866 he transferred his business
to Marlboro' Works, in nearby Marlborough Road. He quickly gained
a fine reputation for quality and service; the company expanded
and by 1907 had established a flagship store on the Kings Road,
opposite Royal Avenue.
It is popularly thought that Mr. Crapper invented
the W.C., and that the vulgar word for faeces is a derivative of
his name, but neither of these beliefs have been proven. Many etymologists
however, do attest that the Amercian word, "crapper", for the W.C.
can be directly attributed to his fame. It is certainly true that
he relentlessly promoted sanitary fittings to a somewhat dirty and
sceptical world and championed the 'water-waste-preventing cistern
syphon' in particular.
Thomas Crapper and some of his
employees outside Marlboro' Works, Chelsea, circa 1892.
Indeed, the expansion into the Kings Road shop,
in one of the most important roads in London, was a bold step which
brought sanitaryware out in the open for all to see. This caused
quite a stir and it is said that ladies observing the china bowls
in the windows became faint at this shocking sight!
Mr. Crapper's inventiveness was well known; he registered
a number of patents, one for example being the "Disconnecting Trap"
which became an essential underground drains fitting for domestic
properties. This was a great leap forward in the campaign against
By the 1880's, Crapper & Co.'s reputation was such
that he was invited to supply plumbing and ware for Edward VII (when
Prince of Wales) at Sandringham and some of the drainage for Westminster
Abbey. Both sites still possess Crapper products; the Crapper manhole
covers in the Abbey are popular for brass rubbings! Crapper & Co.
remained by Royal Appointment to Edward when he became King and
was also warranted by George V, as Prince of Wales and again as
Crapper died in 1910 and is buried near the grave of the cricketer,
W.G. Grace, in Elmers End Cemetery. The company continued under
the guidance of his old partner Robert M. Wharam, his son Robert
G. Wharam and Mr. Crapper's nephew George Crapper. However, by the
late 1950's it was evident to Robert G. Wharam that with no Crappers
or Wharams left to run the business, the sale of the company was
becoming inevitable. In addition, perhaps people cared little for
quality and tradition during that period. In 1963 came the end of
an era - the sale to a rival firm - and by 1966 T.C. and Co. Ltd.
had ceased trading as a separate company.
Since then this distinguished firm endured fallow
years - BUT HAS SURVIVED - and is now an independent company once
again. Having held four royal warrants and having existed through
five reigns over 139 years, Thomas Crapper & Co. is once again manufacturing
the finest bathroom fittings.
(Photos and text courtesy of Thomas Crapper &
Thomas Crapper's Grave
(Photo courtesy of Adam Hart-Davis)
A special message from noted historian and author
of ``Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper,'' Adam Hart-Davis.
When Thomas Crapper died, he was buried in Elmers
End Cemetery, not far from his home in Bromley. He shares his gave
with his wife, but alas no one seems to care for it, for the gravestone
is so black that their names are almost impossible to read - in
sharp contrast to the grave of cricketer W.G. Grace, which is only
a few yards away, and is spotless and shining, kept that way, I
was told, by Australian cricketers who come to do homage to the
Mr and Mrs Crapper deserve better, and I hope that
someone will find the time and energy to go along with a scrubbing
brush and some detergent and clean up the Crapper gravestone, just
as he helped to clean up the bathrooms of the Victorians.