During free time at the Antarctic research station, one’s thoughts can go in odd directions. As Laetitia was getting ready for bed, she was thinking about the line, “Smart lad to slip betimes away from fields where glory does not stay, and early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than the rose,” from A. E. Housman’s poem, To an Athlete Dying Young. During this musing about the evanescence of fame, her mind suddenly wandered to Thomas Crapper whose undying name recognition came about because of something he didn’t do. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t the inventor of the flush toilet. It had been in existence for more than 200 years when he established his plumbing company in Victorian London. He did pioneer the plumbing fixture showroom and all of the company’s products including flush toilets included the “Crapper” logo. Americans soldiers in England during World War I encountered the name and began using it for not only flush toilets per se, but for latrines or for any room or building involved with human waste disposal. Establishment of the Crapper name as a household word was enhanced further because he regularly supplied plumbing fixtures for domiciles of the royal family. This latter thought led to a limerick.
To rich clients whose lifestyle was plush
He broached subjects that caused some to blush
As that gentleman dapper
Plumber Thomas Crapper
Sold hardware that did the “royal flush.”