Model of the ‘Optimus’ water closet, England

Made:
1870 in England
maker:
Stevens Hellyer
inventor:
Dent and Hellyer Limited
"Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken 3/4 view with graduated grey background. "Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken, general view with grey graduated background "Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken 3/4 rear view. Graduated grey background

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

"Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken 3/4 view with graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken, general view with grey graduated background
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Optimus" patent water closet of 1870. Image taken 3/4 rear view. Graduated grey background
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Model of the 'Optimus' patent water closet, invented by Stevens Hellyer and made by Dent & Hellyer Limited, British, 1870

Invented by Stevens Hellyer in 1870, the ‘Optimus’ water closet or toilet was an improvement on earlier designs, flushing more efficiently and quieter. Raising the handle opens a large valve at the base of the pan and also turns on the flushing water. The flushing water runs for a time to ensure that the pan and valve are fully flushed. Keeping the flap clean was difficult but many toilets of this type were still used a hundred years later.

Hellyer was a campaigner for better plumbing, writing the textbook The Plumber & Sanitary Houses in 1877. Made by Dent & Hellyer, this model, which was constructed for a patent application, was donated to the Science Museum by the Earl of Cranbrook in 1961.

Details

Category:
Domestic Appliances
Object Number:
1961-32
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), ceramic (unspecified), copper (alloy), iron and wood (unidentified)
type:
model - representation
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
credit:
Rt. Hon. the Earl of Cranbrook.