Since the very beginning of the toilet industry, toilets have been largely manufactured of the same material; Porcelain. And centuries later it continues to be so.
It is another story about toilet seats though. Over time they have evolved from porcelain to vinyl plastic, resins, and in some cases, even wood. Vitreous China, that is, porcelain still remains the first choice of many brands.
Also, it would be a lie to say that toilets have not changed at all. The design and engineering have evolved massively. Steel toilets are now common in prisons. But apart from that, toilets have not undergone much change. So why is it that today also we find toilets made of porcelain mostly? What is it about vitreous China that makes it the favorite of reputed brands even after centuries? We will explain it all in detail in this article.
What is Porcelain?
Porcelain gets its other name Vitreous China owing to the fact that the material evolved and was refined to use in China. It is delicate but strong and can be modeled very well. Even before glazing, porcelain remains hard and impermeable. The glazing process is merely to make it dirt and water-resistant.
Porcelain is often made out of Kaolin and clay minerals. The process to get the right composition of porcelain is not an easy task. Even a small error in the amount of water can ruin the workability and the temperature has to be between 1,200 and 1,400 °C always.
This brings us back to our main question; if Vitreous China is not so easy to work with why do brands still use it to construct toilets? Let’s dive into the solution without further ado.
Why Are Toilets Made of Porcelain?
The first factor that vouches for Vitreous China as a toilet making metrical is its durability. Porcelain is sturdy and has been used as chamber pots since at least the third quarter of the 17th century. Found in many higher-class European households, glazed porcelain has been around for a long time.
Another factor that plays in the favour of porcelain is its inability to rust. This ensures that whatever you make out of this material will be durable and prove to be a good long-term investment. Toilets bear the weight of various people, from a toddler to an obese person. They need to be sturdy and strong enough so they do not give away under the weight of various individuals.
The next reason as to why toilets are made of porcelain is impermeability. Vitreous China after glazing becomes completely resistant to water and dirt. This is why it is easier to clean and safer to use.
In conclusion, these are the factors due to which toilets are made of Vitreous China:
- Inability to rust
- Hard and Impermeable
- Easy to mold accordingly
- Not sensitive to temperature changes
Why other materials cannot replace Vitreous China?
To answer this question, we must first list the alternatives that can be used for manufacturing toilets. Plastic, steel, and wood are a few of the options that people are curious about.
Plastic for starters is a common manufacturing material nowadays used to create multiple things, owing to its cheapness and easy availability. But making plastic toilets is burdensome work that requires a huge amount of money and time. For one thing, it is not easy to mold plastic. Also, though the material may be durable, it is not what one can call sturdy.
Another alternative is steel and while prison toilets are made of steel, they cannot be used to manufacture toilets on a large scale. The reason being its response to temperature shift. Steel may be sturdy and durable but it is very sensitive to extreme temperature. Also, it can ruin the look of your modern restroom.
Making toilets with wood is both impractical and harmful to the ecosystem. To manufacture toilets on a large scale, you will need a massive amount of raw material. And wood just isn’t a material that is available in abundance (unless you want to clear acres of forests). In addition, it is very tough to shape wood into a toilet with all the pipes and fixtures.
So, you see even though we have advanced technologically and done away with heavy plumbing, porcelain remains to be the chief toilet-making material. It is sturdy, sanitary, and water-proof.
A lot of delicate engineering goes into making toilets and their flushing system. Porcelain can be molded easily to fit various jetways, trap ways, and plumbing. Vitreous China is easy to clean and can withstand the pressure from both abrasion and chemicals.
One thing to note is that while toilets are made of Vitreous China, it is not the same case with bath tubs. They only have a porcelain enamel on a metal base. Maybe in a few centuries, innovators will find a new material to make toilets with. But till then porcelain toilets will remain the first choice of every brand.