Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Amazing Toilet

From time to time, I am obliged to fix our toilet. It's one of those wonderful duties that come with home ownership.

And each time I do, I am impressed by the simplicity of this most utilitarian of devices.

I think about that simplicity as I try to fix the damned thing, which I just did the other day. I replaced the ballcock and float cup, and replaced the flapper. I installed a new chain. It all required me to shut off the water and drain the tank.

Always, there are a few moments of wonder, as I stare into that apparatus and marvel at its simple design. Toilets, by which I mean the common household commode, haven't changed much over the years. Remarkable! How did some clever soul ever invent it?

Think of it: the float ball. The lift wire. The pull rod. The shank. The bonnet. All working in common cause to flush away our waste!

In modern potties, the float cup has replaced the float ball, but its function is essentially the same. Oddly, on the float cup I just installed, someone tried to re-invent the wheel: there was a new device on it, affixed by a hinge. It was some kind of water-saving feature but it wouldn't work right, so I removed it.

The toilet now works like new. This was an easy fix, and due to the simplicity of the amazing toilet, I was able to do it myself. Usually I'm all thumbs. With more complicated problems, I call a plumber.

Here ends my discourse on Toilet Appreciation.

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