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December 22, 2011, 10:00 PM

Twyfords Victorian campaign water closet at Salvo Fair 2011

By Thornton Kay

Meynell Valves portable water closet [photo Maynell

Hertfordshire, UK - James Rylands describes the mahogany portable water closet or campaign karzi brought to Salvo Fair 2011 by Norman Cockroft of Alscot Bathroom Company as a taster for the Alscot clearance auction sale held by Wellers later.

The blue and white transfer-printed porcelain bowl was made by Twyfords, and was highly unusual in still having its counterweighted blue and white enamelled trap, together with the mahogany cabinet, brassware pump cistern and bucket which, as Mr. Rylands eloquently pointed out, the military owner's manservant would readily have emptied.

Norman Cockroft reckons the piece was made in the 1840s, and judging by its condition was probably never used on a campaign, but more likely as a portable convenience in a stately home.

The closet, estimated at 1,500 at the auction, did not sell. Although other portable water closets of this type normally sell around 500, Alscot is looking for 1,800 plus vat for this one because, as Norman said, of its superb museum-quality condition.

The earliest reference to a 'portable water closet' was in 1783 in the Bath Gazette, and the most active period of patents for portable water closets was the period from 1860 to 1880.

Salvo Fair

Alscot Bathroom Company
Meynell Valves Ltd: Claims that its (very similar) portable water closet predates Thomas Crapper

Story Type:  Fair Report

ID: 63743

Date Modified: January 05, 2012, 04:48 PM

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