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Putnam, J. Pickering (1847-1917.) IMPROVED PLUMBING APPLIANCES. New York: William T. Comstock, 1887. Hardcover First Edition


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First printing. The late 19th century was a time of revolutionary changes in a humble item often ignored - that is, a 'sanitary closet' or a flush toilet. This book, by the noted architect who designed such edifices as the Manhattan Beach Hotel on Coney Island (a hotel which was considered the considered the most elegant and fashionable hotel in the United States at the time it was built. It featured 258 lavish rooms, restaurants, ballroom and shops, and no less a personage than Ulysses S. Grant delivered the dedication speech for the hotel's grand opening on July 4, 1877) is devoted to explaining the simpler and more effective plumbing fixtures then available. A significant amount of space is given to Pickering's own invention, the 'Sanitas Closet' which worked on water pressure - while he cites 14 advantages of his new toilet, perhaps the most important was that it was noticeably quieter than the existing "thunder-boxes" - or as he put it, "it has hitherto been assumed that it would be impossible to combine noiseless action with a powerful and rapid water scour. Nevertheless, this has been accomplished... and the closet may be used in becoming secrecy, as is agreeable to civilized people, and without the usual 'flourish of trumpets' which so ridiculously proclaims the fact to the household whenever anyone has sought a moment of special privacy." Illustrated with 94 drawings. 129 pp plus 4 pp advertisements. Very good in brown cloth with gilt lettering on the front cover and spine - a few spots on the lower margins of the last few pages, some fraying to the head of the spine, but overall a tight and clean copy with only minor wear. A significant work on the topic, by an important American architect of the time. .

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