Of all plumbing fixtures none are more dependent upon a proper form of discharge than those into which grease and organic refuse coming from dish washing are brought. Nowhere is the application of the principle of the flush tank more needed than here, because in no other manner than by thorough intermittent flushing can the greasy matters passing through them be disposed of without rapid clogging of the waste pipes. To remove these matters from the dishes used in cooking and serving food hot water is necessary, and this liquefies the grease. If the volume of water into which this melted grease is led is not sufficient to partially congeal it and carry it through the waste pipes with a powerful rush, it will congeal upon and putrefy in these pipes until a serious nuisance is formed. In ordinary sinks in general use, the melted grease dribbles through the sink strainer and chills upon the inside of the waste pipe and in the mouth of the vent pipe and all other corners of the trap before it has traveled a rod from the sink. In chilling, it forms a coating in these places so hard that it is subsequently often very difficult to remove, and soon causes annoying stoppages. The obstructions can sometimes, but not always, be removed by pouring a hot solution of potash into the pipes until the grease dissolves and becomes converted into soap.
Fig-. 3GG. An Ancient Painting of a Roman Bath, from Joly.
When proper cleanout caps have been arranged in the sink waste pipes, an obstruction can sometimes be reached and scraped out by proper tools; but such opportune openings are seldom found when and where needed, and the removal of this putrid matter is, at best, so exceedingly offensive and unwholesome an operation that it is usually deferred so long as possible, and the foul putrefaction goes on in the waste pipes out of sight.
Fig. 366a. Col. Waring's Flush-pot Sink.
The late Col. Waring was, I believe, the first to call attention to the need of constructing sinks on the principle of a powerful flushng tank, and he invented a sink which I have reproduced in section in Fig. 366a. It consists of a large flush pot which can be attached to a sink of any kind. Col. Waring describes it as follows: "The flush pot is an entirely new departure. It holds back everything, water and all, until it is filled. The pot under the sink holds six or seven gallons. Its contents are then discharged - the whole volume suddenly - with such scouring force as to prevent adhesion to the walls of the waste pipe. It is entirely simple in its construction and needs no special thought. When the water ceases to run from the sink, the cook knows that she must lift the plug of the flush pot. The strainer may easily be removed at will. The whole interior, then exposed to view, is within easy reach of a cloth, so that it may be kept as clean as a soup kettle. We thus secure the entire removal of the whole of this greatest source of foul decomposition before its putrefaction begins. In discharging the flush pot, the handle should be raised only until the stop strikes the lower side of the strainer. The strainer should not be removed except for cleansing. It should never be removed while refuse of any kind is in the sink."
Unfortunately the average cook is neither a philosopher nor a sanitarian, nor does she disturb herself about the distinction between the friendly bacteria of decomposition and the criminal classes of putrefaction, and she does not care about the bacteriological and chemical constitution of the air of sewers. Consequently she is too apt to forget all about operating the outlet plug, and there have been instances where this has led to a disastrous overflow of dirty water over the floor, and to a simultaneous outburst of language of similar complexion from the irate cook, followed by an unceremonious discharge by her of the Colonel's offending plug and its consignment for good and all to the demnition bowwows. She also takes this occasion to eulogize unconsciously the famous sanitary engineer and author of this device as she wonders how anyone could ever have been such a fool as to plug up a sink outlet, which of all places should be left wide open for the "instant and complete removal of waste matters into the drains as soon as they are formed," and to add insult to injury she lifts out the Colonel's strainer and brushes into the capacious flush pot all solid matters too coarse to pass through the strainer, seeing that the flush pot outlet has been kindly made large enough to save her all the trouble of removing them from the sink by hand.
The sink shown on Figs. 366b and 366c is one devised by Mr. Gerhard. It is divided by a perforated partition wall forming a strainer into two parts, a shallow and a deep part.
The shallow part is used in the same manner as an ordinary sink. When the deep part is filled to the overflow line of the standpipe it can be discharged as a flush pot by lifting the standpipe. This part of the sink serves the further useful purpose of enabling dishes, pots, etc., too large for convenient handling in the shallow dish to be effectively washed in the deep body of water furnished by the flush pot.
The chief difficulty in the mechanism of each of these devices is that they are not automatic in action and the users will not take the trouble required to operate them properly. They will not hold up the plug or standpipe while the water is escaping. There is too much work to be done elsewhere, and it is too easy to simply remove the plug or standpipe and let the water take care of itself. We must recognize this creditable desire of cooks and pantry maids to be always on the active rush and make the mechanism of our flush pot absolutely automatic if we wish it to become popular and practical.