Design fundamentals

I frequently see examples of bad design, and one device where bad design really gets to me, is the toilet! You’d think that humanity could get a toilet right – after all, we’ve been using them long enough.

Think of all the things that don’t work about the modern toilet: having to re-flush because the floaters are still floating; seats that should be up for men but down for women; kids who can’t reach the loo at all; and the beyond awful cleaning brush that must stay ever handy because the darn sides get icky.

I’d like to elaborate on the loo seat problem. Men seem to think that the ladies are just being difficult when we ask for the seat to be left down, but that ignores the reality of public loos. I am using the ablution facilities at this marina in Greece, and I usually find the seat up. I must now touch the seat to lower it, but I can’t see what state the top is in as it is facing the cistern. I end up poking at the edge of the seat to make it fall down, at which point I can wipe it all down with toilet paper before actually touching it with any bare skin. I am not complaining about the Greek marina – it is a well kept ablution block and generally very clean. There are still suspicious splash marks on the seat, and I don’t want to touch them to decide if it’s water or worse…

So please, gents, lower the seat when you are done. It’s not my fault you can’t aim straight. And wipe down after use.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a new design to solve all these issues. If someone out there makes a toilet from my design and becomes a billionaire, please remember me.

The new toilet has a narrow, deep bowl, and is molded over to form a permanently attached seat at the top. The toilet is built to be quite high: close enough to thigh height for an average man. This should help with aiming (and drips) and maybe the blokes won’t mind that they can no longer lift the seat.

There is a nifty little footrest at the base, so that a shorter person or child can still reach the seat. It may take a bit of getting used to, sitting higher, but the footrest should help to make it comfortable. I could imagine the footrest being a flip down design, so it folds out of the way for taller people and standing men. Just accept, when seated, that the toilet really is a throne…

The narrow, deeper bowl is to save water, whilst also ensuring that the flush has enough pulling power to empty that damn bowl on the first attempt. The lack of artistically formed curves in the bowl should help considerably with the problem of dropping one’s load in the right place, and not having to clean those ridiculous bits of white porcelain that stick out of the water and seem to attract poo.

If the builder of this new toilet has any really smart modern materials, I’d quite like non-stick sides, also to help with the problem mentioned above. And how about some softer, molded seat material rather than hard plastic? I am sure there must be some closed cell foam technology that would be comfortable to sit on whilst still being wipeable and hygienic.

My work here is done. I wait in anticipation for the toilet makers to beat a path to my door.

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2 Responses to Design fundamentals

  1. Carin says:

    What about composting toilets. Sans aqua. Before you go “eek, long drops” – read about them – there are some very smart functional designs out there. The aesthetic designs leave much to be desired though and could do with some of your pointers.

  2. Nomad says:

    All so very true! BUT, remember to be thankful for small mercies. Our existing design sure beats the hole in the ground with two foot marks and toilet hose common in the Middle East!! I will NEVER cope with those. But, I am behind you all the way …. I hope you get rich for this new creation! 🙂

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