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Modern Movements in Toilet Technology

Retired Article • Written by Alan Bellows

Flushmate "Supercharged" Ad
Flushmate "Supercharged" Ad

The vast majority of toilets in the U.S. are old-fashioned gravity-propelled receptacles which haven't been appreciably improved upon since the Victorian era. They are of a design so simple that the technology-averse Amish have no objection to using them. Most Americans are satisfied with what their basic toilet has to offer, and this indifference to improvement has mired the residential commode industry in a bog of antiquated technology. But consider that just over a century ago there were people who were content to squat over their chamberpots, who didn't see what all the fuss was about over the fancy new porcelain fixtures.

Today's high-tech toilets cheerily dispose of undesirables while making the whole experience as comfortable, convenient, and sanitary as possible. The technology-enlightened men and women of Japan have enjoyed these electronic super-toilets for years, and now the makers of such devices are attempting to penetrate the U.S. market. But what do they have to offer?

It seems that regardless of the technology in question, the first thing that Americans want to know about is horsepower, which is particularly crucial given the 1.6-gallons-per-flush limit imposed by U.S. regulators several years ago. After an initially dismal start, toilet-makers began to utilize computer models and sophisticated math to get the most out of those 1.6 gallons, and consequently many modern toilets can outperform their earlier incarnations. The most bang for the flush is delivered by American Standard's Champion toilet, which can swallow twenty-four golf balls with a single 1.6 gallon flush. But unfortunately it lacks in other niceties... It's just a souped-up classic.

For people who don't eat quite so many golf balls in one sitting, there are a few alternatives which harness power beyond simple gravity. The FlushMate and PF/2 systems use water line pressure to push waste down the drain, and the Vacuity system uses siphon action to create vacuum pressure to pull the contents out of the bowl. If you like to have a workhorse in your bathroom, any of these options should work, with no need to plug the toilet into an electrical outlet.

But flushing power isn't the only factor to consider. Just like automobiles, you'll have some people who are looking for raw power, while others seek comfort and convenience. Anyone in the latter category might consider the Neorest 600, perhaps the most sophisticated toilet on the planet. It even has a wireless remote. Consider the following interaction between a typical toilet user and the Neorest:

It also has a number of passive features, such a non-stick ion barrier glazing called SanaGloss, and refill system which acts instantly without the classic, lingering tank-refill noise. Of course all of that high-tech restroom convenience comes with a price... A Neorest 600 will put you back about $5,000.

Some electronic super-toilet makers also offer alternate features, such as integrated speakers which emit fake flushing sounds to mask embarrassing bodily noises, or various sensors which can monitor blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar levels, and alert the user when these vital signs are outside of the normal range. With more and more sophisticated technology being integrated into our commodes, our bathrooms may become the early battlefields when The Machines turn against us...

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 02 January 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows.

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Jason Bellows
Posted 02 January 2006 at 05:43 pm

I like how their website describes the Neorest … sophisticated sensuality … that´s what I need in a toilet.

Posted 02 January 2006 at 06:24 pm

Better be careful with that blown v8 in there, you might get your insides sucked out if you flush it while sitting down.

Posted 02 January 2006 at 10:31 pm

I do like the cyclone flushing system.

Posted 03 January 2006 at 03:26 am

Alan, how do you do it? Toilets are Damn Interesting.

The End
Posted 03 January 2006 at 05:46 am

Article said: "The user may engage the bidet-like Washlet, which provides front-and back-aerated warm water spray and/or "oscillating spray massage.""

Well I'll be damned if that doesn't feel weird.

Posted 03 January 2006 at 07:40 am

"oscillating spray massage"

That's hilarious.

Posted 03 January 2006 at 10:39 am

With that "oscillating spray massage" some people would never get off the toilet!

Posted 03 January 2006 at 12:57 pm

From the article

or various sensors which can monitor blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar levels, and alert the user when these vital signs are outside of the normal range.

So what is next in toilet technology, a finger that comes out and checks your prostate gland? Damn if it isn't another way for the man to give you the finger!

Posted 03 January 2006 at 10:10 pm

I have experienced the Japanese toilets. They are kind of scary though when you don't know what the words mean and you just press something at random and get water everywhere.

Modern.... movements... ha ha.

Posted 05 January 2006 at 07:00 am

The closest I have come to a "super" toilet is one that automatically withdrawls the plastic shield that covers the seat and ejects a new one for the next user. I can't remember where. A Mall or something.

FYI-Always close the lid to your toilet when you flush. A plethera of bacteria and so on is pushed upward, right into your face. Be certain you clean the lid bottom reguarly. (Maybe this will get men to put the lid down!!)

Posted 06 January 2006 at 08:33 pm

I shall never put the seat down! or the lid! If it did not kill me this time, I'll be more ready at the next encounter.. haha!.......... this reminds me of a song, nm. Tp and wetwipes, no hep laced warm water for me. JAM, don't forget when you flush, the turbulence ariates the water into an area about 8 feet in radius... hope your toothbrush is clean too :D

Posted 10 January 2006 at 02:10 am

What about composting toilets? Now that's watersaving, earth friendly technology.

Posted 10 January 2006 at 02:24 am

3 oz. flush! 3 oz. flush! (sung to the theme song of "12 oz mouse")

Posted 10 May 2006 at 12:40 am

A function which it would puff some talcum powder on your arse is missing.

What if somebody cannot poop and have just farted instead?

Posted 23 June 2006 at 11:51 am

For more toilet amusement.

Posted 30 December 2006 at 12:34 pm

yeah, toilets are just cool like that

Posted 01 February 2010 at 07:12 pm

The American gravity-powered toilet is the best. The ones with the kick lever for public places so as not to spread germs too badly; the ones with the good old pull lever on the side of the tank for home use, so the tank is easily accessible for simple repairs. Plus the gravity-powered toilet works even when or where there is no electricity. Those Europeans with their toilets built into the wall and those Japanese with their fancy electric power toilets have got it all wrong. And the Asian and South American toilets are the worst. You can't even sit on them, they're just porcelain squat-holes with flushing power. There was this one I encountered in Peru that was not only a flushable porcelain squat-hole, but the tank was attached to the ceiling and had a pipe that sprayed water horizontally over the entire bathroom instead of into the hole. Then again it was also in Peru that there was that bat-infested latrine. Ah, toilet memories.

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