Tag Archives: Thomas Crapper

Almanac – January 27

1832 – Lewis Carroll born.  English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer, real name  Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky“, all examples of the genre of literary nonsense. He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy.

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1875 – Mione Elizabeth George Israel born (probably).  Born in Dominica, her birthdate of January 27, 1875, was attested by an entry in a baptismal register , and by a birth certificate procured for her in 2000 based on the baptismal register. Assuming its correct (some doubt it) she would have been 128 years old at the time of her death in 2003.

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1910 – Thomas Crapper died.  Plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase the popularity of the toilet, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock.

It has often been claimed in popular culture that the slang term for human bodily waste, “crap”, originated with Thomas Crapper because of his association with lavatories. The most common version of this story is that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang, i.e. “I’m going to the crapper”.

The word crap is actually of Middle English origin; and hence predates its application to bodily waste. Its first application to bodily waste, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, appeared in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or a privy, where ken means a house.

Its most likely etymological origin is a combination of two older words, the Dutch krappen: to pluck off, cut off, or separate; and the Old French crappe: siftings, waste or rejected matter (from the medieval Latin crappa, chaff).

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1972 – Mahalia Jackson died. American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she  became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist,  described by  Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States“. She recorded about 30 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen million-sellers.

“I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free,” Jackson once said about her choice of gospel, adding, “It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”

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Almanac – September 28

The ghost of Walter Ralegh is said to walk in the gardens of his former home, Sherborne Castle, Dorset, on this day.

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551 BC – Some say this was the date of the birth of Confucius.

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935 – Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia died.  purportedly assassinated  in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel.
He’s the “Good King Wenceslaus” of the carol.

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1066 – William the Bastard’s  army lands in  England,  beginning the Norman Conquest.

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1745 – That appalling dirge the British National Anthem had its first public performance, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, in the wake of the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Prestonpans. Which is why the original version had this verse-

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

Its been omitted from the current version, we dont crush Scots no more.

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1791 – France  becomes the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

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1836 – Thomas Crapper born. English plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase its  popularity, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock.

It has often been claimed that the slang term for human bodily waste – crap –  originated with  Crapper,  the most common version of this story being that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang, i.e., “I’m going to the crapper”.

However, the word is actually of Middle English origin; and  predates its application to bodily waste. Its first application in that particular field, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, appeared in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or a privy ( ken means a house).

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1928 – The U.K. Parliament passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.

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1934 – Brigitte Bardot born. French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1960s, and in  1969 her features became the official face of Marianne (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France.  (Marianne is a national emblem of France and an allegory of Liberty and Reason.)

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1964 – Harpo Marx died.  Second-oldest of the Marx Brothers.

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1966 – André Breton died. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism”.

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1971 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

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1991 – Miles Davis died.

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