The Evolution of the Toilet Seat

Updated: Apr. 09, 2024

The toilet seat hasn't always been so simple...

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Roman Communal Latrines

Toilets used by Egyptians and Harappans, who lived around 4,500 years ago, looked much different than what the Western world is used to today. These seats, which consisted in a communal space in Roman towns, were limestone-carved surfaces placed over simple drainage gullies. Looking to install a toilet? Here’s how.

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Wooden Latrines

Archaeologists recently found that Roman latrines were once made of wood, as well! The first one was unearthed in waterlogged soil of the Roman fort of Vindolanda in 2014. If this toilet talk is making you consider buying a new toilet, here are some expert tips to consider.

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The “Commode” Toilet Seat

Prior to the flush toilet, the renaissance era saw toilets that consisted of a box with a seat and a lid covering a porcelain or copper pot to catch the waste. The toilet seats were simple wooden structures. Pictured here is Marie Antoinette’s commode. Is your toilet clogged? Let’s fix it!

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Thomas Crapper Toilet Seat

While many believe Thomas Crapper was the inventor of the flush toilet, it was really Sir John Harington, in 1596. Thomas Crapper improved on the original model created by Harington in 1861, and Crapper became widely celebrated as the pioneer of the flush toilet. The seat design closely resembled that of the commode, with a throne seat and high level china cistern. The seat was made of oak or mahogany, and was hinged. Purchasing a new one? Learn how to measure a toilet seat and get it right the first time.

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19th Century Decorative Toilet Seat

With the invention of the flush toilet, decoration became the norm, and toilet seats, especially those of the wealthy, began to resemble artwork. A leaky toilet can be a nuisance. Here’s how to repair it.

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Beautiful landscape/Shutterstock

Slow-Closing Hinged Toilet Seat

After the invention of the hinged toilet seat came slow-closing hinges that reduce noise by preventing the seat from slamming against the bowl. Although not all seat have these slow-closing hinges, we continue to debate whether or not it is poor etiquette to put the toilet seat down after using it. Men and women still argue over who should have to touch the seat. Are you hanging your toilet paper wrong? Here’s the right way…

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Padded Toilet Seat

In 1993, Matt DiRoberto of Worcester, Massachusetts invented the padded toilet seat to provide people the utmost comfort while doing their business. The style quickly became a ’90s fad, but thankfully it stayed there. Check out these 12 toilet seat lids we think you’d be embarrassed to have in your home.

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Washable Toilet Seat Cushion

Speaking of cushions, there are even removable toilet seat covers that can be washed. Not sure we’re totally on board with this, but we don’t want to be too judgey. Be sure not to flush these 15 things down the toilet!

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Sanitary Toilet Seat

In homes and some public restrooms, toilet seats can be outfitted with a wrap that travels around the seat and is deposited into the opposite side of the covered area. The used wrap is collected and destroyed. Find out why the shape of the public toilet seat is different.

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Bidet Seats

High-tech seats have become a big thing in Japan (although you’ll find some in U.S. households as well), often used by the smart house-loving resident. Such seats feature a integrated bidet called a Washlet. These electronically heated seats have been popular in Japan since the 1970s. Like high-tech? Check out these 19 futuristic home tech products.

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Light and Heat for Your Seat

The Brondell LumaWarm heated, nightlight toilet seat is luxurious and comfortable. With 4 temperature setting options (off-low-med-high) and the soothing blue LED nightlight, what more could you ask of a toilet seat? When your toilet seat comes loose, here’s how to tighten it.

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