THOMAS CRAPPER HISTORY - SANDRINGHAM HOUSE, WESTMINSTER
A BRIEF HISTORY
OF THE COMPANY.
Crapper and some of his employees outside Marlboro' Works, Chelsea,
Crapper was born in Yorkshire in 1836, into a family of modest
means. At 14 years of age he was apprenticed to a Master Plumber
in Chelsea, London. After serving his apprenticeship and then
working as a journeyman, he set up in his own right in 1861 as
a plumber in Robert Street, Chelsea.
later he moved to larger premises, Marlboro' Works, in nearby
Marlborough Road. He quickly gained a singular reputation for
quality and service; the company expanded and by 1907 had established
a flagship store
on the King's Road opposite Royal Avenue.
is popularly thought that Mr. Crapper invented the W.C., and
that the vulgar word for faeces is a derivative of his name,
but neither belief is true. However, etymologists attest that
the Amercian word, "crapper", meaning the W.C. is
directly from his name. He relentlessly promoted sanitary fittings
to a somewhat dirty and sceptical world and championed the 'water-waste-preventing
cistern syphon' in particular. Indeed, he invented the bathroom
showroom and displayed his wares in large plate glass windows
at the Marlboro' Works. This caused quite a stir and it is said
that ladies observing the china bowls in the windows became
faint at this shocking sight!
Current products - EXACT replicas.
inventiveness was well known; he registered a number of patents,
one of which was the 'Disconnecting Trap' which became an essential
underground drains fitting. This alone was a great leap forward
in the campaign against disease. Amongst others was one for a spring-loaded
loo seat which, as the encumbent arose, leapt up pulling rods which
automatically flushed the cistern! This was rather less successful.
Over time, the rubber buffers on the underside of the seat began
to perish, and became sticky. This caused the seat to remain down,
attached to the loo pan for a few seconds as the user got to his
feet. Seconds later the seat, under stress from the powerful springs,
would free itself and sweep violently upwards - striking the unfortunate
Victorian on the bare bottom! The device became popularly known
as the 'Bottom Slapper', consequently was not a commercial triumph.
A current product - Low Level Cistern.
By the 1880's,
Crapper & Co.'s reputation was such that they were invited
to supply the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) at Sandringham.
Subsequently, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and Westminster
Abbey all benefited from Crapper goods and services. Today, the
Crapper manhole covers in the Abbey are popular for brass rubbings!
Crapper & Co. remained by Royal Appointment to Edward when
he became king and was also warranted by George V, as Prince of
Wales and once again as king.
died in 1910 and was buried near the grave of the cricketer, W.G.
Grace, in Elmers End Cemetery. The company continued under the
guidance of his old partner Robert M. Wharam, his son Robert G.
Wharam and Mr. Crapper's nephew George Crapper. However by the
late 1950s, after the demise of the original partners, it was
evident to Robert G. Wharam that with no Crappers or Wharams left
to run the business, the sale of the company was becoming inevitable.
In addition, perhaps people cared little for quality and tradition
during that period. In 1963 came the end of an era; Thomas Crapper
& Co. became the property of a rival, Messrs. John Bolding
& Sons, Ltd..
distinguished firm endured fallow years - BUT
SURVIVED - and is now an independent company once again.
Having held four royal warrants and having existed through five
reigns over 148 years, Thomas Crapper & Co. is once again manufacturing
the finest bathroom fittings.