To spend a penny pull the vintage pull and let go!


Nowadays bathrooms and sanitary ware are perfectly designed, whether you go all modern, or go for the genuine vintage touch of adding character, including the Victorian style ceramic high level cistern chrome flush pull toilets. Houses built with several en suites, will sell quicker than others, en suites are “in”. We’re a long way apart from the old days and yet not that long, I still remember the scary outdoor toilet at my gran’s old farm…

An extremely personal subject to tackle when you have this vintage object to talk about: an original Victorian style ceramic flush pull handle. Top and bottom are brass, the main body is porcelain. People are quite conservative about such things, did you know that the first toilet flushing only showed up in the 1960’s film Psycho.

When we decided to redo our bathroom, I had to have the modern version of these high level cistern, chrome flush pull toilets.


Luckily it works a lot better than the original ones, being noisy and one often had to pull the chain more than once to flush. I wanted my very special sink as well,


made out of a river stone:


We’ve come a long way from the chamber pot. People shared one deep pit outside in the yard, the lucky ones had toilet seats provided. A bath, taken once a week, was simply a tub put in front of the fire in the Victorian era. The rich ones had servants running about with hot water, so why would they be interested in anything else. The middle class gents (oldest first) used the old tub in front of the fire, then the females and at last babies got a chance, can you imagine the water…

Bathrooms were only standard from the 1880’s, they were simple and functional and above all small, as they were not considered important but the bare minimum. In those days you could find the high cistern with the flush controlled by a pull handle on a long chain. Flush toilets were first to be found in Britain and called “water closets”. The growth of the sewage system, together with health and sanitation reasons, gave them the final push.

The first public toilets called “Monkey Closets” were “the” thing to see and use. For a penny you got a clean seat, a towel, a comb and even a shoeshine, hence the expression “to spend a penny” used for a visit to the toilet.

The French Christophe des Rosiers invented the “bidet”, a bowl to squat over and rince yourself after toilet, every house had to have one. The first written reference is only from 1710 and tells about the “bidet à seringue”, it had an upward spray of water with hand pump, toilet paper only had a drying function. The bidet would be found in the bedroom not far from where the chamber pot used to be. Nowadays Japan is the leading producer of bidets and they are used a lot in nursing homes, very high tech objects, with jets of flushing water and even a warm air dryer, omitting all toilet paper.

The composting and moldering toilets popping up in recent years, use no water, no electricity and their composting process produces no waste, thus no stress on our ecosystem, although not many modern people would want one in their house.

Looking at this vintage pull, one can’t help wondering about its history, the world apart it comes from, compared to our stylishly designed, luxury, modern bathrooms, being private heavens where we can indulge in relaxing moments.


They are stunning havens with their freestanding baths,


creating a spa-like ambience with upscale amenities, inspirational designs to extravagantly pamper our senses. Opulent designs ensure style, substance and splendor with their glass shower enclosures, extravagant Jacuzzi sections, remote controlled panels controlling different relaxing water flows and often, wonderful views of nature outside. No clutter allowed but in slim line cabinets, in order not to disturb the flow in this space of leisure.

Even the current trend of modern minimalism, creates an atmosphere of serenity, less becomes more. Self-indulgence has become “the” word!

Tastefully elegant with ingenious style and trendy sophistication, these bathrooms will alas cost more than a penny!

Going for a comforting soak in my very own paradise bathroom, will have a whale of a time







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