I have divided basins into two general classes: (I) Those having concealed overflow passages, and (2) those having open overflow passages. Each of these is subdivided as follows:

Basins having concealed overflows into:,

(a) Plug-and-chain outlet.

(b) Waste-cock outlet.

(c) Valve outlet.

(d) Plunger outlet.

(e) Floating-plug outlet.

(f) Standpipe outlet.

(g) Receiver outlet.

Basins having open overflows into:

(a) Funnel outlet.

(b) Standpipe outlet.

(c) Rear outlet.

Each of the above classes may have for its supply either ordinary standing faucets or nozzles supplying water a some point or points below the basin rim.

Fig. 301. Ordinary Wash Basin with Plug and Chain Outlet.

Fig. 301. Ordinary Wash Basin with Plug and Chain Outlet.

I. - Concealed Overflow Basins.

This class of fixture violates one of the first conditions of sanitary plumbing. A portion of the apparatus intended to carry off waste water at irregular and uncertain intervals, by which it becomes fouled without the possibility of cleansing through water flushing action, is placed in such a position that it cannot be seen nor reached without disconnecting the whole fixture.

Fig. 302. Section of an All Porcelain Plug and Chain Basin.

Fig. 302. Section of an All Porcelain Plug and Chain Basin.

Fig. 303. Section of Plug and Chain Basin with Overflow Passage Cast with the Basin in One Piece.

Fig. 303. Section of Plug and Chain Basin with Overflow Passage Cast with the Basin in One Piece.

Our first subdivision of this class is the ordinary (a)

Plug and Chain Outlet Basin. We see here (Fig. 301) a concealed overflow pipe constructed of lead and so placed as to be altogether inaccessible. Being above in open communication with the air of the room, it taints it with the decomposing soap and filth with which its sides soon become coated, and this odor and the fear of sewer gas leads to the common practice among house owners of stopping up the holes in the earthenware leading into the overflow pipe at considerable inconvenience to themselves and increase in siphoning action upon traps below.

Fig. 303 bis.

Fig. 303 bis.

The ordinary wash-basin has no proper flange for connection with the lead overthrow pipe, and the joint in the majority of cases is not a reliable one at this point. The connection of the lead overflow pipe with the waste pipe must be made above the trap, and must be wiped with solder, so that two joints are necessitated at the overflow, which add both to the expense of the work and to the chances of imperfection and leakage. It is an exceedingly common thing to find the overflow pipe wrongly connected.

It is sometimes entered below the trap, sometimes attached directly to the trap vent, and sometimes connected with the wastes of other fixtures in such a way as to open through the vent pipes an indirect avenue into the house for sewer air, as we have shown in our illustrations of "by-passes."

It forms, in short, an unnecessary and dangerous complication to the plumbing, which more than offsets any slight saving in the first cost of these cheap fixtures, and they should never be used.

The plug and chain feature which characterizes this type of basin is another defect. The chain, lying in every successive formation of dirty water, collects gradually in the recesses of its links an unknown variety of filth, which cannot be absolutely removed, on account of its irregular form, without the use of special alkalies, or constant scrubbing with a brush, a process I have never seen applied to it effectively. The length of wire used in an ordinary basin chain averages six feet, and has a surface of about fourteen square inches, a surface which, in consideration of the peculiar adaptability of the form of the links for retaining dirt presents a very formidable area of pollution.* To those persons who use their reasoning powers in these matters, the idea of washing the face in water defiled by a chain transferred immediately from the dirty water of some unknown predecessor is with good reason exceedingly repulsive, and when the nature of disease germs in water before it reaches the sewer are considered the danger of contagoin where the predecessor may have chanced to be a sufferer from skin or other contagious disease the feeling of repulsion is justly increased. The chain, moreover, frequently breaks, and then the hand must be plunged into dirty water to remove the plug. The position of the chain and plug at the bottom of the bowl is peculiarly inconvenient, inasmuch as they are in the way of the hands, which ought to meet a smooth, unbroken surface of earthenware, rather than the hard and irregular lines of the brasswork. If this latter consideration appears to some trivial, it does so only because custom has rendered us callous to such defects; the defect none the less exists, and acquires importance through the frequency of its repetition and the constant use of the fixture in which it occurs. The fact that it is altogether unnecessary, either for economy or for any other reason, is a sufficient argument for its abolition. Thus we find none of the eight desiderata enumerated in our table of requirements that the wash-basin, still in most common use, possesses.

Fig. 304. All Porcelain Plug and Chain Basin.

Fig. 304. All Porcelain Plug and Chain Basin.

*A chain of average cleanness might easily contain more than a grain of dirt unnoticed in its links, which bacteriologists have shown may contain over a million bacteria.