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Joseph Bramah

(1749—1814) engineer and inventor of locks


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(b 2 April 1749, Stainborough Lane Farm, nr Barnsley, Yorkshire; d 9 Dec 1814, Pimlico). English locksmith and inventor of the flush toilet. He trained as a cabinetmaker and in the early 1780s opened a workshop in Eaton Street, Pimlico. In 1778 he patented a design for a water-closet in which the traditional side valve was replaced by a hinged flap valve, which largely solved the problem of the system freezing in winter; in the next 20 years he manufactured some 6000 toilets at a Denmark Street workshop, and production continued throughout much of the 19th century.

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From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.


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