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.
Closets of the wash-down or short-hopper type are made by several makers, with porcelain trays at the top, in order that they can be used as slop-sinks. The ordinary pedestal-closet is also well adapted for use as an urinal, and is indeed much more suitable for the purpose than many of the urinal-basins specially designed for the purpose.
The syphonic-action closet is an attempt to combine the advantages of the valve-apparatus and the wash-down closet The basin holds water with a larger area and greater depth than can be obtained in the latter apparatus, but no mechanical appliances are needed in connection with the basin itself, as is the case with apparatus of the former class. The principle of the apparatus is that the contents of the basin, instead of being forced out by a jet of water, are syphoned out. The long leg of the syphon D (Fig. 295) is filled with water, and, when the air above the water-level at the outgo of the basin is partially exhausted, the atmospheric pressure on the surface of the water in the basin starts the syphon in the usual way. The contents of the basin are then carried through the trap c into the soil-pipe e. The apparatus illustrated is that patented by Messrs. Jennings & Morley, and is called the "Closet of the Century". Another form of the same type of closet is the "Dececo", and yet another is Bohling's patent "Laydas" syphonic-action closet. The only possible defect in this type of apparatus is that it might be possible to syphon out not only the basin but the trap. But in the form chosen for illustration this appears to be amply guarded against by the anti-syphonage pipe B. The flushing of the basin is also provided for by the arrangement for diverting the supply of water partly to the syphonic arm, and partly to the Hushing rim of the basin. This very necessary safeguard is not provided in some other forms of this apparatus, and the obvious result of the neglect of this precaution is that the basin is never thoroughly cleaned out.
The subject of seats and casing's to water-closets must now be considered. The question of the desirability of casings to water-closets has been briefly alluded to in the introductory remarks in this section. A well-made casing to a water-closet, especially if the apparatus is of the valve-type, is certainly neater and more sightly than the cranks and levers of the mechanism itself. It serves, moreover, the useful purpose of deadening the sound caused by the use of the apparatus; and for ladies' use it has certain not unimportant advantages, which need not be more particularly specified. In mansions and in houses of the more expensive type, where the best workmanship and materials can be applied, it is certainly desirable to incase the best water-closets. But in all other cases, unless the work can be done in the best way, it is better to have a simple rim seat, hinged at the back. If the plain rim seat following the curve of the basin be objected to, it is quite easy to carry the seat on brackets fixed on either side wall so that it extends the whole width of the closet.
Fig. 296 - Jennings & Morley's Syphonic Water-Closet.
The proper method of making: a perfect joint between the porcelain or fire-clay outgo of a wash-down water-closet and the lead branch to the soil-pipe, is a point of great importance and not a little difficulty. The joint required by the regulations of the London County Council is made with a brass thimble, which is jointed to the lead-pipe with a wiped solder-joint, and to the porcelain outgo of the closet with Portland cement (Fig. 296). It is questionable whether this joint is a really permanent one. The solder-joint be-t ween brass and lead is of course, if properly made, a perfect union, but the Portland cement between the brass and the porcelain, being liable to expansion and contraction, may after some time become detached from the surfaces to which it ought to adhere. Doul-ton's metallo-ceramic joint (Fig. 297) is really a solder-joint in a lead socket, with the outer surface of the porcelain metallized to take the solder. Time will show the durability of this joint. It certainly has the merit of being neat in appearance and easily mad. The flange method (Fig. 298), is a good joint, but requires to be examined from time to time, and the bolts tightening up when required. It is, however, not allowed by the regulations of the London County Council. Fig. 299 is a less satisfactory form of flange-joint. Freeman's lead connection (Fig. 300) is practically a screw-joint. The difficulty with this seems to be that if at any time the joint required to be tightened up, the pipe would have to be sundered, as it is quite evident that the closet could not be turned round. Mr. Hellyer has devised what he considers an improvement on the Portland-cement joint by substituting an elastic cement for the Portland cement The socket of the brass thimble (Fig. 301) is filled with alternate rings of elastic cement and yarn, and by this means it is hoped to obtain a joint which is not affected by expansion and contraction. Humpherson's joint, shown in Fig. 302, is formed by placing the end of the closet-outgo into the socketed end of the lead pipe, and covering the joint with an india-rubber collar kept in position by a copper clip; it is doubtful if this will make a permanently-tight joint.