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.
The hopper closet, now happily almost universally condemned, consists of a long funnel shaped basin with a trap underneath, its means of flushing being a dribble of water from a small pipe, turned on occasionally or more often leaking continually, with no perceptible effect on the cleanliness of the basin or the contents of the trap.
It will be convenient here to see what the Model By-laws of the Local Government Board prescribe as the necessary conditions for a sanitary water-closet. Every water-closet must, according to these by-laws, be provided with 'pan, basin, or other suitable receptacle of non-absorbent material, and of such shape, of such capacity, and of such mode of construction, as to receive and contain a sufficient quantity of water, and to allow all filth which may from time to time be deposited in such pan, basin, or receptacle, to fall free of the sides thereof and directly into the water received and contained in such pan, basin, or receptacle". From this regulation, it is perfectly clear that a basin of the long-hopper type is quite inadmissible, inasmuch as it could not comply with the important condition that filth should fall clear of the sides. Further, it is impossible to wash out a basin of this type by any ordinary means. It was to provide an efficient substitute for the long-hopper closet that the wash-out closet was devised. This closet (Fig. 292) consists essentially of two parts, the basin and the trap, which are either made separately or in one piece of earthenware; sometimes a junction is formed, as at A in the illustration, to receive a trap-ventilating pipe. The basin is made to contain a small quantity of water, into which the dejecta fall. In order to flush out closets of this and the succeeding type, a jet of water impelled with some force is required, and this is usually supplied by means of a flushing pipe, connected with a flushing cistern fixed at a sufficient height above the basin to give the required impetus. With closets of the wash-out type, the depth of water in the basin is often insufficient to cover the faeces deposited, and the effluvia arising is often most offensive.The Hush of water is not sufficient to clear out the basin thoroughly, and is of course quite inadequate to clean out the trap. The consequence is that the bottom of the basin in frequently stained, and the trap is never free from filth. These defects render this form of closet a most unsuitable one, except where the persons using it take extraordinary precautions to keep it in proper condition.
Fig. 292 - Section of Wash-out Closet.
The " wash-down " or "short-hopper" closet (fig, 298) is probably the best for all purposes that can be had. The essential difference between it and the wash-out closet is that, whereas in the latter the trap is independent of, and underneath the basin, in the former the trap is a continuation of the basin, and forms an integral part of it. The flush is applied in the same way, and in the best forms of the apparatus enters the basin both from a jet and round the rim. The method of connecting an anti-syphonage pipe is shown at a in the illustration. There are many varieties of the- wash-down closet, called by all sorts of nam-They are one and all based on the same idea, and must be regarded as good or bad according as they fulfil the condition of being most effectually cleaned out by the smallest flush of water. Some makers have even gone the very unnecessary length of covering the outside of the basin and trap with raised ornament, sometimes of a very elaborate type. Such an addition to a wat-closet is obviously out of place, and in view of its liability to get fouled by splashing may be positively offensive. The outside and the inside alike of the closets should be as smooth, and, if of porcelain, as white as they can be made. Closets made of fire-clay are usually buff outside and white inside, because there is some technical objection to white enamel being used throughout. The chief point to bear in mind in choosing a closet is to see that the form of the basin is such as to allow the faeces to drop into the water without striking against the sides of the basin, and that the whole contents of the basin and trap are completely expelled by one discharge of the flushing cistern. The form of apparatus known as the "Kenon" closet, made by Messrs. Bolding, is shown in Fig. 294: it is made in one piece of earthen-Win with a broad flange for securing it to the Horn.
Fig. 293 - Section of wash-down Pedestal Closet.
Fig. 294 - Elevation of the "Kenon"Pedestal Wash-down Closet.
Two other forms of wash-down closet are illustrated, because they show a special feature which is not present in any other make. The "Corbel" and the "Bracket", both patented by Mr. Hellyer, are examples of closets which are quite independent of the floor. They are shown in Plate X11I. The "Corbel" is made in one solid piece of fire-clay, and, like the lavatory basins of the same maker. has a flange of fire-clay, which is built into the wall and forms the support for the basin and trap. In the "Bracket" apparatus the basin only is made in fire-clay or porcelain, and requires the support of an iron bracket; the trap is made of lead. The great advantage aimed at in both these apparatus is the free floor-space for cleaning underneath. It is, however, gained at the expense of some additional cost, and is on the whole more suitable for hospitals and large institutions than for private houses. The drawback to the "Bracket" closet is that the trap is necessarily of lead, and it is difficult to see whether it is clean or not.