This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
Of all the various fittings which come under the head of sanitary appliances, the urinal is the most difficult to deal with. Urine contains 54 per cent of urea, which decomposes very rapidly, producing carbonate of ammonia, the pungent and offensive smell of which is familiar to all. Another constituent of urine is uric acid, which is only feebly soluble in water, and which readily adheres to any dry surface with which it comes in contact, causing the well-known ' furring" so commonly to be observed in ill-kept urinal-. The decomposition of urine is much assisted by heat, and for this reason the free ventilation of urinals is of the utmost importance. For ordinary domestic purposes, a fixed urinal is unnecessary and undesirable. With proper care in the use, a pedestal-closet of the wash-down type, with a hinged seat, affords the necessary convenience in the way least likely to become offensive. But it may be urged that a closet basin is not arranged in the most convenient way for the purpose, and that unless great care is taken, the floor is liable to be splashed. There is much truth in this, and for this reason it is perhaps best to keep an ordinary chamber-utensil in tthe W.C.
There are circumstances, however, which necessitate the provision of a properly-devised urinal, as, for example, a boarding-school for boys, or an establishment in which a considerable number of men-servants are employed.
When a range of urinals is required, the best plan is to form a trough, either in iron or in salt-blazed or enamelled fire-clay. At the outlet end of the trough is a weir, by means of which the trough is kept constantly full of water, and the urine is always very largely diluted. An automatic Hushing tank, the capacity of which should of course bear a definite relation to the size of the trough, is fixed over the end furthest from the outlet, and being set to discharge at certain intervals, flushes the trough and leaves it full of clean water. It is necessary, with this form of urinal, to provide for tarrying away any urine that may be dropped clear of the trough. This is done by forming a small channel just in front of the trough, and providing a subsidiary flushing pipe for cleaning it when the trough is flushed.
A very much unproved form of stall-urinal has come much into use of late for public urinals. Formerly these conveniences were usually formed of slate, and sometimes provided with porcelain basins. The slate very speedily becomes coated with uric acid, and is extremely offensive; and the ordinary basin with its grated outlet. small waste-pipe, and feeble flushing apparatus, is worse than useless.
The improved form referred to consists of a semicircular back of enamelled fire-clay, with a dished and rounded floor of the same material. The latter drains into an open channel covered with a grating, and discharging into a trap connected with the drain. The whole is flushed with a sparge-pipe, curved to the form of the back. Though there is, in an urinal of this description, a large exposed area liable to be soiled, the absence of any corners, and the frequently flushing of the glazed surface, keep it always perfectly inoffensive and sweet
Fig. 306 - View of Urinal with three Basins, Flushing Cistern, Floor-channel,etc.
This kind of urinal is perhaps to be preferred to the trough kind, where the quantity of water available is restricted. But in either case the urinal should be placed in a freely-ventilated and well-lighted building, entirely cut off from the interior of the house to which it belongs.
There are positions, as, for example, the lavatory attached to a billiard-room in a private house, where a single or perhaps two urinals are deemed a necessity, and it is cases such as these which demand the utmost care in arrangement Fig. 305, which is reproduced by permission of Mr. S.S Hellyer from The Plumber and Sanitary Houses, shows a time basin arrangement of this kind.
Section on line A B Fig. 306. -Plan and Section of a Group of Six Urinal basin.
The basins are of the wide-fronted kind, a form which owes its origin to a suggestion of Mr. John Taylor, the well-known architect to H.M. Office of Works, and which is a great improvement on the old lip-fronted form. The down-pipes from the basins are all made of cast-iron, porcelain-enamelled inside and out, and are detachable for cleaning purposes. They discharge into an open channel, which has a trap with proper ventilation at one end. The sides, backs, and floor are all made of St. Anne's marble, which, when polished, successfully resists the action of urine. The flushing is provided for by a small tank containing three gallons of water, and it is possible to arrange the flushing pipes in such a way that one gallon of water is discharged into each basin at each pull of the handle. The Hush can also be made automatic and regulated to discharge at certain intervals.
To ensure the waste being kept free from deposit, Mr. Hellyer recommends that a piece of soda should be kept in each basin.
The plan and section of a compact group of six urinal-basins are given in Fig. 306.