can you tell me anything about my toilet?

arlosmomApril 1, 2011

Hi all. In the basement of our 1905 foursquare there is a toilet. It's in a tiny rickety room all by itself, sitting on a pedestal of cement. We have some it original to the house? why the cement pad? and why is the base of the toilet entombed in the cement? We think it's a pretty cool toilet. I can't find anything about the manufacturer so far. My google searches have turned up nothing. Help?

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I would say it's not original to the house. I'm guessing that it sits on the concrete because when it was installed, they needed that extra height to make proper pipe connections. Why they concreted over the base? That's probably one of those stupid things we all ask about the previous owners.

Yours kind of looks like the top one in col. C...but I think the tank is different.

What state are you in?

Here is a link that might be useful: vintage toilet

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 5:01PM
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Arlosmom, I disagree with lesterd, and believe it to be original. From things I've seen in catalogues, that style certainly dates back to 1905 or earlier--they often had wooden tanks, but not always. I also still have the clawfoot tub.

How can I be so sure? My foursquare in Ohio was built in 1908, and has two of them--one in the main bath upstairs, the other tucked under the stairs in the basement, next to a cast iron sink with a wooden counter.

Perhaps they were installed later, you may ask? Extremely unlikely. The original owners lived here for more than fifty years, and changed nothing. The next owner lived here about ten, ditto...and between 1968 when carpet was put in the bath, and when I bought in 1987, no one stayed long enough to alter anything. I know the carpet went in that year because old newspapers were underneath as padding.

As for the concrete, no clue except to give room for piping it. By the way, I'd keep it if I were you--every modern house I've been in since buying mine, the toilet always seems too low! :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:36AM
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Did you look inside the tank? I was reading that the date of the toilet may be stamped inside... It's interesting!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Sure looks like a roaring twenties model. I notice the tank is wall mounted and that's about when they went out of style. Can you tell if the bowl is ceramic or whether it's enameled cast iron? See if a magnet sticks.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 9:35PM
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If you continue to use this w.c., you might want to consider ways to reduce the 5+gallon flush with the installation of an adjustable flapper and tank displacement bag.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 11:54PM
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I am surely not convinced the new toilets save that much water any more than I am convinced the energy efficient washers save it. Double flushing for solid waste on the lo-flo toilets and double rinsing on the washers. I peek in on the laundry forum and those washers run for hours and most of the posters say they have to double rinse. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:03AM
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We don't currently use this toilet. There is a leak somewhere, so the water to the tank is turned off. The toilet is just a "design feature" in our basement. When we moved into the house we thought we'd fix it at some point, but I don't know that it will ever happen (too many other things on the list).

So I looked inside the tank over the weekend. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me to do that before. It appears that the tank was replaced. The tank is made by Standard, and has a production date of January 13, 1930 under the lid. The tank is porcelain/ceramic.

I believe that the toilet bowl is older. I've looked at every antique toilet and architectural salvage site that I can find on the internet. So far I haven't found any mention of S S Shedd & Bro or S S Sheoo & Bro. The toilets with writing inside and the ones with the shape of mine tend to be earlier ones however, making me think it might be original to the house. Maybe I should send an email to some of the salvage places and see if they can tell me anything (if I find anything out, I'll post an update).

Still no clue about the cement pad. Lesterd's suggestion that it covers the plumbing connection is certainly possible. I'd also thought that maybe they had to elevate the toilet for drainage or to have better flushing.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:52AM
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The first models from American manufacturers, in response to the1992 Energy Policy Act, were not very efficient, often just substituting a valve or flapper, rather than redesigning the bowl.

Since then, designs have improved. See link to test results here andhere.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:30AM
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