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.
In choosing the sanitary fittings for a dwelling house, certain main principles, applicable to all classes of fittings alike, should be carefully kept in view. Of these, cleanliness must naturally hold the first place. Every fitting, whatever its use, should he of such a material that it can readily be cleansed, of such a colour that the presence of dirt can easily be detected, and of a form that gives the least possible facility for the lodgment of dirt. In some fittings - as water-closets and urinals - it is necessary to provide not only for efficient cleansing, but also that the process of cleansing shall be effected with due regard to economy of water.
Section VII. Sanitary Fittings By Keith D. Young
Fellow Or The Royal Institute Of British Architecture
Durability is obviously an important quality in all fittings; but especially in those which, like the flushing apparatus of water-closets, are subjected to continual and often careless usage, and upon the efficient working of which the health-conditions of a house largely depend. To be really efficient, a fitting should be durable in all its parts, and all mechanism should therefore be as good and as simple as it can be made, consistently with the work it has to do. The evils of cheap jerry-made mechanism are well exemplified in the low-priced kinds of flushing-cisterns, which are made to comply with water-companies' requirements at the least possible cost. In no kind of fitting is it so necessary to have the best materials and workmanship; but in no kind is such a combination less frequently found.
Economy is a factor that cannot and should not be disregarded, but it must be combined with durability and efficiency, or it ceases to be in the true sense of the word economy. To be low-priced is not by any means always or necessarily to be cheap; more frequently, indeed, it means in the long run wasteful expense.
In the design of every fitting, due thought should be given to the fitness of the material and form, to the work it has to do. Many fittings appear to be designed with complete disregard to the use to which they have to be put. Water-closets and lavatory-basins, whose inner surfaces are covered with printed ornament instead of being spotlessly white, are examples in point. The unintelligent arrangements for overflow outlets to lavatory-basins and baths, and the happily-exploded fashion of admitting clean water to baths and lavatories by the same inlet that served for the egress of dirty water, are obvious examples of delect in design. These and other points will be dealt with in their proper place.
Lastly, the common practice of boxing up the spaces around water-closet apparatus and baths, and under lavatory-basins and sinks, is for the most part to be strongly deprecated. In certain cases properly-arranged casings are desirable and perhaps almost indispensable: a well-made enclosure under a lavatory-basin hides the plumber's work, and deadens the sound of the water, while at the same time it presents a neat and even ornamental appearance that is not without value; but such enclosures should not be used as cupboards for the reception of anything and everything it may be convenient to hide in them.
80 also with baths and water-closet apparatus, the casing is of value as helping to deaden the sound resulting from the use of the fitting; but if allowed, it should be carefully safeguarded against becoming a receptacle for rubbish and filth. The arguments in favour of casing lavatory-basins, baths, and water-closets, do not apply to sinks; the spaces under sinks of all kinds should invariably be left open for inspection and easy cleansing.
The sanitary tit tings appropriate for dwellings of various kinds may be divided into five classes, viz.: - baths, lavatories, sinks, water-closets, and urinals. Of these, the sink only can be said to be an absolute necessity in every class of house from the palace to the smallest cottage or tenement-house. Baths can now be had for so small an outlay that there are few houses of rents as low as £.30 a year and even less, which are not supplied with a bath fitted with hot and cold water. They can hardly yet be said to have reached the cottage, though in some kinds of cottages, such as those inhabited by miners, the hath is as necessary as the sink. Fixed lavatory-basins must be regarded more or leas as luxuries, and as appliances for saving labour. Water-closets are necessities only in districts where a system of water-borne sewage compels their use, and urinals, so far from being necessities, are fittings to he used with caution, and to be avoided where possible.