When Sh*t Got Stuck

September 15, 2016

When Sh*t Got Stuck

A brief history of the Toilet Plunger

by Carl Hickerson


First Plunger Patent

Let’s face it, we all have a love/hate relationship with our toilet plungers; That is until the Poo-Plunger came along! This practical tool helps move your stool and is a necessary addition to any bathroom. No one wants it until sh*t gets stuck, and then you love it when it’s within a quick arms reach.

But when and how did the toilet plunger actually come into existence? 

No one is certain on its exact origins, but after some quick cyber-sleuthing, we can paint a fairly accurate picture of the history of the toilet plunger.

The Plunger Closet

1777 - Samuel Prosser. This English inventor is often credited with the first use of the plunger system. He placed a plunger on the side of the toilet closet, which would allow the release of waste and water. This plunger was more of a device that was used to  flush the toilet, not unclog it.

The Toilet Plunger

1932 - Even though no patent records exist, American farmer Jeffrey Gunderson is often credited for inventing the modern-day plunger; however, popular theory suggests that the use of a synthetic rubber cup placed on the end of a wooden dowel was frequently being used sometime between 1850 and 1900.

The first actual patent for the toilet plunger wasn’t filed until Emanuel Torti submitted his design of a rubber cup with a valve on the handle that allowed pressurized water to assist in plunging. This patent was filed in 1987!

Surprising Summary

Needless to say, the toilet plunger is a tool invented out of necessity. It has been diligently hiding behind your toilet for centuries, selflessly waiting for you to grab it in a moment of crisis. 

Although the concept of a toilet plunger has been around for centuries, no one quite knows exactly when, where, or how it came into existence. Maybe this is because of the taboo nature of human waste, maybe it’s because no one wanted to be associated with such a dirty tool; just think about Thomas Crapper, the London plumber whose toilet branding led to the popularization of the word  How would you like everyone to curse your name every time they clogged their toilet?

...Maybe anonymity was a smart move.