Home » Uncategorized » When Were Urinals Invented?

When Were Urinals Invented?

Urinals have been in use for centuries, but the modern urinal that we are familiar with today was invented in the late 19th century. The first patented urinal, which was made from earthenware and had an automatic flushing mechanism, was created by Andrew Rankin in 1884. Over time, urinals have evolved to become more efficient and hygienic, with newer models using less water and incorporating touchless technology. Today, urinals are a common fixture in public restrooms and are an important component of public sanitation systems around the world.

Welcome to the fascinating world of urinals! Have you ever wondered when urinals were first invented? Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to take a trip through history and find out. Urinals have been around for centuries, but the modern urinal that we are familiar with was invented in the late 19th century by Andrew Rankin. His patent urinal made from earthenware and featuring an automatic flushing mechanism revolutionized public sanitation. Since then, urinals have advanced significantly, becoming more efficient, hygienic, and incorporating touchless technology. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of urinals and their importance in today’s society.

When Were Urinals Invented?
Source news.com.au

When Were Urinals Invented?

The Early Days of Plumbing

Urinals have been around for centuries, although not in the form that we know them today. The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome had ways of disposing of waste, with some public spaces even having ceramic fixtures available for use. However, indoor plumbing wasn’t developed until much later, in the form of aqueducts and sewer systems.

It wasn’t until the late medieval period that toilets began to resemble what we use today. These early models consisted of simple wooden seats covering a hole that led to a sewer below. Urinals were not commonly used during this time, instead, the design mainly consisted of a chamber pot that was emptied outside.

The 19th Century

As sanitation became a growing concern in major cities, the need for improved public facilities grew alongside it. The 19th century saw a boom in urinal designs, with various types being invented and installed in restrooms and other areas. The earliest of these consisted of metal troughs attached to walls. By the mid-1800s, there were even designs that allowed multiple men to use a single urinal at the same time.

American inventor Andrew Rankin was responsible for several major breakthroughs during this period, inventing a flushing urinal that used a motion-activated sensor to conserve water. By the end of the century, porcelain and ceramic were becoming more popular materials for urinals, paving the way for the modern designs that we know today.

Modern Urinals

Today, urinals come in many different forms, from simple wall-mounted designs to waterless ones that use chemical or microbial agents to break down waste. The trend towards sustainable architecture and green design has also led to new types of urinals, such as ones that use recycled materials or ones that are powered by photovoltaic cells.

Modern urinals are designed to be energy-efficient and water-saving, with some models using as little as a pint of water per flush. In addition, many are designed to be easy to clean and maintain, making them a popular choice for public restrooms and other areas.

RELATED:  Who Invented the Tattoo Machine?

In conclusion, urinals have come a long way since their earliest iterations, and they continue to evolve to meet modern design and sustainability needs. While the origins of urinals may date back centuries, it is the advances of the 19th and 20th centuries that have shaped what we know today. The future of urinals is exciting, as designers continue to find new ways to blend form and function in innovative and sustainable ways.

How Have Urinals Evolved Over Time?

Urinals have come a long way since the earliest forms of waste disposal. Here’s a look at urinals through the ages:

Ancient Urine Diverters

As far back as ancient times, people recognized the need for disposing of waste. One of the earliest forms of urinals was a simple urine diverter, which separated wastewater from human waste. While this invention provided some degree of sanitation, the odor and potential for disease were still problematic.

These urine diverters were often used in outhouses, where there was no running water or indoor plumbing. They were made of various materials, including clay, wood, and stone, and designed to direct urine into a separate container, where it could be used for other purposes, such as fertilizing crops or tanning leather.

The Invention of the Flush Toilet

The first flush toilets were developed in the 16th century, using gravity and water to move waste through pipes. This revolutionary invention allowed for more efficient removal of waste, but it also created the need for better sanitation. With the development of indoor plumbing, urinals became more common in public restrooms, separating the need for urination from defecation.

The earliest urinals were made of metal, stone, or porcelain, and were often quite ornate. They were designed to be easy to clean and durable, and they were often built into the walls of public restrooms or connected to pipes that carried waste away from the building.

The Impact of Technology

In recent years, technology has brought many changes to the design and function of urinals. From waterless urinals to sensors that detect when someone is using the fixture, technology has made urinals more efficient, hygienic, and convenient.

Waterless urinals, for example, have become increasingly popular due to their efficiency and water-saving benefits. These urinals use a cartridge that traps urine, eliminating the need for water to flush away waste. This not only saves water but also reduces plumbing costs.

Other innovations in urinal technology include touchless sensors that detect when someone is using the urinal. This not only helps to prevent the spread of germs but also allows restrooms to be more easily maintained. The sensors can detect when the urinal needs to be cleaned or when the cartridge needs to be replaced, providing a more efficient and hygienic system.

Overall, urinals have evolved significantly over time, from simple urine diverters to the high-tech fixtures we see today. While they may not be the most glamorous aspect of restroom design, they play a crucial role in maintaining public sanitation and hygiene.

RELATED:  Who Invented the Video Game?

While we’re on the subject of invention, have you ever wondered who’s behind the popular social media app? Get to know the CEO of TikTok and how he’s changing the game.

When Were Urinals Invented?

Urinals have been used throughout history as a way to relieve oneself. In ancient Rome, for example, people used public urinals where they sat side by side in communal areas. However, the modern urinal as we know it today was not invented until the 19th century.

What Are the Different Types of Urinals?

Standard Wall-Mounted Urinals

The most common type of urinal is the standard wall-mounted fixture. These are a familiar sight in public restrooms, including those found in restaurants, bars, and other facilities. They are made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, stainless steel, and plastic, and can range in size from small and compact to larger models designed for high-traffic areas.

The operation of a standard wall-mounted urinal is simple and straightforward. A flushing mechanism, similar to that found in a standard toilet, is used to rinse the interior of the urinal and carry waste away. The urinal is connected to a plumbing system that expels the waste to a sewage treatment plant or septic system.

Waterless Urinals

A relatively recent invention is the waterless urinal. Instead of using water to flush away waste, these urinals use gravity and specially formulated sealants to direct urine into a drain. They are ideal for use in areas where plumbing is not available or where water usage needs to be minimized.

Waterless urinals require minimal maintenance and are a popular choice for eco-friendly buildings and other environmentally sustainable designs. They are also preferred in areas with limited water resources.

Recycled Material Urinals

Another modern innovation is the recycled material urinal. These urinals are made from recycled materials such as glass, porcelain, and metal. They are often used in sustainable architecture where reducing waste and conserving natural resources is a top priority.

Recycled material urinals are aesthetically pleasing and add a unique touch to the design of any public restroom. They are also functional and durable, making them an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.

In Conclusion

Urinals have come a long way since the days of ancient Rome. Modern urinals are available in a variety of sizes, materials, and designs to meet the needs of any facility or building. From waterless urinals that conserve water to recycled material urinals that reduce waste, there is a urinal to fit every sustainable design.

Urinals have been around since ancient times, but the modern urinal as we know it was invented in the late 19th century. For a more in-depth look at the history of plumbing, check out our pillar article on the subject.

When Were Urinals Invented?

Urinals, or public bathrooms designed for men to urinate, have been around for centuries. They have evolved from the simple troughs and holes in the ground to the modern, waterless urinals that we see today. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history and evolution of urinals.

RELATED:  Who Invented Democracy?

The Early Days of Urinals

The first urinals were nothing more than walls with holes in them, designed for men to relieve themselves. These were commonly found in public baths and other communal areas throughout ancient Rome. They were typically made of stone or concrete and were not designed for privacy.

The first flushable urinal was invented in 1866 by Andrew Rankin. It was called the “plunger closet” and it was designed for use in bars and other public places. It used a simple pendulum valve to trap water in the bowl and then release it with a pull-chain mechanism.

The Rise of Modern Urinals

In the early 20th century, modern urinals began to emerge. These were typically made of porcelain and were designed to be more hygienic and private. They featured a curved bowl and were typically mounted on a wall.

In 1930, the “sanitary urinal” was invented by Royce Bradley. It was designed to be easier to clean and was made entirely of vitreous china. It was also the first urinal to feature a built-in trap, which prevented sewer gas from entering the room.

In the 1950s, urinals began to be designed with more attention to aesthetics. They were available in a wide range of colors and styles to fit the decor of any bathroom. The urinal became a symbol of modernity and progress.

The Advent of Waterless Urinals

Waterless urinals were first invented in the 1990s. They were designed to be environmentally friendly and to save water. They work by using a special trap that separates urine from the air, preventing odors from escaping.

What Are the Benefits of Waterless Urinals?

Waterless urinals have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their numerous benefits:

Water Conservation

Waterless urinals save approximately 40,000 gallons of water per year per urinal, reducing the strain on water resources and potentially lowering water bills.

Less Maintenance

With no water to flush and fewer moving parts, waterless urinals require less maintenance and cleaning.


Waterless urinals are often considered more hygienic since there is no standing water that can harbor bacteria and viruses. They are also less likely to create odors.

Cost Effective

Waterless urinals can save money in a variety of ways. They reduce water bills, require less maintenance and cleaning, and have a longer lifespan than traditional urinals.

In conclusion, urinals have come a long way since their ancient Roman origins. From the earliest troughs and holes in the ground to the modern waterless urinals, they have evolved to become more hygienic, private, and environmentally friendly. The invention of the waterless urinal has been a significant step forward in the quest to conserve precious water resources and reduce the impact of human activity on the environment.

Curious about other technological advancements? Learn more about the inventors of AI and how they revolutionized the tech industry.

Related Video: When Were Urinals Invented?

Originally posted 2019-07-08 21:10:14.