THE HISTORY OF THE TOILET: SANITATION’S UPS AND DOWNS

 

THE HISTORY OF THE TOILET: SANITATION’S UPS AND DOWNS

Would you have guessed that the flushing water-closet is already several thousand years old? Even though it may not yet have been conclusively established whether it was 4,000 or 5,000 years ago that the Indians, the Chinese or the Sumerians used the first flush toilet, one thing is completely certain, and that is that the Greeks possessed toilets and sewage systems as early as 2500 B.C. Around a thousand years later, the Romans built the Cloaca Maxima, Ancient Rome’s huge drainage system. In addition, the Romans had latrines, the use of which was reserved solely for the rich, who met in these informal setting to discuss and do both their big and small business.

The fall of the Roman Empire also marked the end of this early sanitation culture. As flush toilets and sewage systems didn’t exist in medieval Central Europe, it stank to high heaven. Calls of nature were answered al fresco, or the faeces were simply poured into the gutters.

This situation didn’t change until the end of the 16th century, when the English poet Sir John Harington invented the first “modern” water closet – an undertaking assigned to him by his famous aunt, Queen Elizabeth I. Harington’s fellow countrymen ridiculed the invention as a sick joke, and although Harington drew up a precise construction manual, the first water closet of our modern age fell into oblivion.

Then, around 200 years later in 1775, the Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings invented a water closet which presented the S-shaped trap still used to this day, and was awarded the patent for it.

From then on, there was no stopping the triumphant advance of the “Water Closet”.

 
 

In the second half of the 19th century scientists, such as Louis Pasteur, began to recognise the relationship between disease and hygiene – as a result, the demands for more hygiene became increasingly louder. At a very early stage, ceramics specialist Villeroy & Boch saw the market potential of the sanitary-ware sector with its bathtubs, sinks, toilets and tiles. By 1870 Villeroy & Boch was already equipping public swimming baths, private bathrooms and hospitals with easy-care tiles. As early as the mid 1870s, the company was offering a small range of urinals and toilets. Developments made in the area of production methods and materials soon facilitated industrial production. Thanks to fireclay, Villeroy & Boch was able to produce sanitary ware and so-called “washing ware” in such large quantities, that these items became affordable for broad strata of society by 1899. Bathing culture and hygiene were thus democratised.

 Despite this fact, however, around 1950, the majority of homes in Germany didn’t have an own toilet, at best a washing room.

This situation remained unchanged until the 1960s, when bathrooms were equipped as functional wet cells for personal hygiene and concentrated primarily on practicality and space-saving measures.

In the 1970s people began discovering the bathroom as a place to regenerate. In 1975 Luigi Colani created an absolutely revolutionary bathroom concept for Villeroy & Boch. This was the first time a designer had actually focused on bathroom products and the toilet. Taking into account ergonomic standards, Colani’s designs displayed soft shapes that were created to accommodate the body perfectly.

 Today, a wide selection of toilets can be found in a great variety of shapes and colours and offering additional comfort. They can be floor-standing or wall-mounted; a combination of toilet and cistern, or with pre-wall installation systems; washout toilets with ceramic ledges, or washdown toilets with direct access into the trap water. And there’s even more: in recent years a whole series of innovations have been developed particularly in the area of WC comfort. In view of the increasing scarcity of water resources, Villeroy & Boch now offers modern, environment-friendly flushing systems, such as Omnia GreenGain orAQUAREDUCT, which function with as little as 3.5 litres to 4.5 litres of water per flush. Extremely convincing qualities are also displayed by the ceramic surface finish, CeramicPlus. Its easy-care properties help reduce the amount of water and cleaning agents needed. The PurAir WC opens up a totally new dimension in WC comfort. Thanks to its integrated technology, it is able to actively combat and banish bothersome odours.
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kbbreview · October 2013 talks to Grant from Aquarooms Barnet

kbbreview · October 2013

“From inspiration to installation”

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 11 12.22

 

David Harris talks to Grant Bliben of Aquarooms in north London who has downsized and gone back to the old-fashioned values of service and installation rather than trying to slug it out on price with online traders
 
 

How do you beat the internet? This is not a new question, but it is arecurrent one. Nearly every traditional retailer in the country has had to face it in recent years. The reason is almost always the same: online sales sites
offer the same products at discounts that bricks-and-mortar shops find difficult or Impossible to match. For many bathroom and kitchen shops, the answer has been – if you can’t beat them, join them. They have gone online themselves, so that they operate directly against the web-based competition. Nothing wrong with that, but is there anything else to be done? In particular, is it possible to develop an approach that the internet will find as threatening against them as ultra-low prices are to traditional retailers? Grant Bliben, a lifetime plumber and owner of north London bathroom shop Aquarooms, thinks there is.
He has nothing against the internet. Indeed, he calls it “one of the greatest tools I have ever had at my fingertips”. But he also believes that the real edge that retailers can develop over internet rivals is not so much about embracing the future as looking to the past. He argues that one of the problems with internet sites selling cheap bathroom equipment is that, however cheap they are, they can’t accomplish the same design and installation work as an established retailer with a local showroom. So his answer for how to compete in the future is to go back to old-fashioned service  and reliability to make a point of difference, compared with impersonal websites that offer low prices, but little accessibility and accountability. He explains: “The only thing we are guaranteed that we can hold margins on is people.ScreenHunter_03 Oct. 11 12.23

Installation and design service holds the key for us and 80% of our sales come from providing the full service – from ‘inspiration to installation’, as I call it. Margins can be eroded on products, but never on service.” Grant’s chance to put his philosophy into fuller effect came last year after Tesco said it wanted to set up a shop in Aquarooms’ old showrooms in north London. This was a stroke of luck in more ways than one. Not only was he able to sell the supermarket giant a 20-year lease on the 5,000sq ft space in Southgate, so that it could be turned into a Tesco Express, securing a solid income for the future, but it also allowed him to set up a new, albeit smaller, showroom in another part of north London. Aquarooms moved to High Barnet – in a 1,500sq ft site just a few minutes’ walk from the tube station on the end of one branch of the Northern Line. And since selling the lease to Tesco, he has  had more than one offer from property investors who want to buy the freehold on the Southgate building so that they can take advantage of the solid income stream. Buildings let out to supermarkets are highly sought-after by property investors, because companies such as Tesco are among the most reliable tenants. But so far, Grant has held on to the freehold for Aquarooms’ old building, which is even more valuable because it has several flats above it that are also rented out. Aquarooms may have left Southgate, but it did so with a solid and continuing revenue stream firmly in place. This left Grant free to develop a new showroom in just the way he wanted. One of the first things he did on opening the new shop was to sign up seven fitters so that the emphasis of the new showroom was on selling products that its fitters installed. Grant says: “We’ve gone backwards with gusto. Before this, we found we were losing a lot of the small sales – shower trays and taps, for example – mostly to the internet. That changed once we started fitting them as well as selling them.” Most of Aquarooms’ business is in a geographical arc around the showroom, including places such as Barnet, Hadley Wood, Totteridge, Potters Bar and Brookmans Park. The company also has its own warehouse in Hadley Wood. Aquarooms is sometimes approached to do work further away from its north London heartland, but Grant feels he can’t provide the service he wants, and that customers need, if he has to take account of too much travelling time for his fitters. The formula of selling and fitting relies on Aquarooms taking full responsibility for each job.This could be as small as replacing a tap, but it is likely to be an entire bathroom and Grant is obsessive about having complete control. “We do the lot – painting, decorating, tiling,underfloor heating – we don’t want another tradesman in there. What the customer is worried about is overall cost,” he says. Having a shop also matters, he adds, because customers are reassured that responsibility for the work lies not just with a company, but with one company in one place. Grant adds: “If you want a plumber nowadays, you are mostly relying on mobile phone numbers, most of which are unaccountable. Because we are in a shop, people know where to find us all the time.”   

ScreenHunter_10 Oct. 11 12.24

The measure of the success of the new Aquarooms showroom and Grant’s fresh approach is in the figures, which seem to underscore the fact that whatever else the internet can do, it can’t install bathrooms. Last year, turnover had dropped to £1.5 million, down from £2.5m five or six years ago – the same sort of fall experienced by many retailers. More importantly, the company was doing no better than breaking even last year –clearly not what any business wants. This year, things have been different. Since the move in December, Aquarooms has been making a margin of 30% on increased revenue – a turnaround Grant attributes almost entirely to the return to an old-fashioned “designed by us, bought from us, installed by us” approach.

ScreenHunter_06 Oct. 11 12.23Record profits “We are now getting the highest profits we have ever had,” he says. Customers still sometimes ask about the price of individual products – say a toilet – which they can find for 5% or 10% cheaper on the internet. Grant’s response is polite, but robust – “Yes, but they won’t fit it for you”. Aquarooms’ business now breaks down into 50% design and installation, 35% working for architects and just 15% straight retail.This is one reason why Grant remarks that while Saturday used to be the busiest day of the week for the showroom, it is now the quietest. One other consequence of moving to a new but smaller showroom was that Grant had to look long and hard at what products he offered, because he no longer had the space in the shop for as wide a range. The leading brands the firm now concentrates on include Villeroy & Boch and Duravit, although Grant does try to widen traditional choices with some unusual Italian specialist manufacturers such as Hidra and Artceram. This allows customers to make their bathrooms different with one or two unusual pieces, if they wish. But whatever they choose, Grant is not only happy to fit it, but much prefers to do so. In a very literal sense, he is acting out his dream of beating online prices by selling something that the internet finds much more difficult to match – old-fashioned service.

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Aquarooms Barnet now OFFERS a full Maintenance service including Plumbing & Heating Repairs:

You may not be aware that Aquarooms now OFFERS a full Maintenance service including Plumbing & Heating Repairs:

For A limited Time  I am offering a special price  to existing and past customers only. 

Central heating Problems!!!

If your central heating system has not been cleaned within the last 5 years you need this service NOW. I was amazed at the amount of scale and sludge we were able to remove from the system.

Be prepared  this winter Aquarooms are offering a Central Heating Power Flush Service using the latest technology of the kamco power flushing pumps  a highly effective method of flushing heating systems. Heating systems can be purged of sludge, scale and corrosion deposits with minimal dismantling and disruption.

Strange and unpleasant, noises from the boiler or Pumps, particularly when working at it’s hardest, cold spots on radiators, these can be cured.

Any of the above symptoms could indicate that your system has circulation and flow problems resulting from internal corrosion and subsequent formation of rust, sludge and scale deposits.

CF400084med

The objective is to restore systems with circulation and boiler noise problems (caused by sludge and corrosion deposits) to optimum operation. Power flushing removes these deposits and the problems that they cause and restores heat output to radiators and overall  system efficiency.

The CLEARFLOW power flushing pump is simply connected into the heating system, the powerful flow, combined with the CombiMag powerflush filter quickly removes circulating black iron oxide contamination from the flushing water,

FX2man

Power Flush FX2 enables our engineers to thoroughly cleanse a heating system in just one visit, a significant benefit when so many households have both partners working full time.

 

 

 

The Combi Mag using

kamco-combimag-power-flushing-filter-

the power of a rare earth magnet to snatch the debris from the water flow, instantaneous flow reverser device, will dislodge and mobilise deposits and corrosion which resist traditional system cleaning methods.

Once the corrosion and sludge deposits have been loosened and mobilised, fresh clean water is forced through the heating system, pushing the contaminated water out through a full bore dump valve to waste. During the CLEARFLOW process, radiators are individually flushed, without removing or disconnecting them from the system, by directing the full output of the pump through each radiator separately.

DMlarge

The system is then treated with SYSTEMSAFE-DM, a balanced blend of corrosion and scale inhibitors, formulated to provide complete protection against system corrosion and scale formation.  It gives long term protection to central heating systems, preventing internal corrosion, scale deposition and boiler noises, and extends the life of the system and maintains its operational efficiency.

The complete process normally carried out in less than six hours Our Normal Price is £420.00 + vat

Introduction Price £360.00 + vat

System flushing will not remedy design or mechanical faults, which should be rectified, but in many cases it will cure the problems caused by these.

The reason for the reduced price is I am training my son to carry out this work who is a qualified plumber,

So Me and Sam will both be onsite carrying out this work

all the best

Grant

please call 0208 440 1106 Limited time period offer ( we can only do 1 job a day and are already booked up for 2 weeks next date available 4th Oct

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Hansgrohe ShowerSelect products available from Aquarooms Barnet in October

hansgrohe

One touch technology has finally found a home in the bathroom. The simplicity and convenience of Select technology is again set to revolutionise the bathroom industry. Hand showers, overhead showers, showerpipes, exposed and now concealed thermostats offer a comprehensive product range covering every aspect of showering.

ShowerSelect – the future of showering
The iBox Universal was an iconic milestone in the evolution of bathroom design, and the brilliant simplicty and classic engineering of the ShowerSelect technology is set to again revolutionise the industry. Select offers a genuine alternative to digital solutions, thousands of button push tests have confirmed it: using ShowerSelect concealed thermostats is so intuitive that you understand it from the start. 

The iBox universal hides the shower control inside the wall which leaves even more space for showering pleasure. It is the standard basic set for all Hansgrohe bath and shower mixers and concealed thermostat solutions, including the new ShowerSelect finish sets. The ShowerSelect push button technology brings all the advantages of Select to concealed thermostats and valves. They are not only easy to operate thanks to the integrated Select buttons, they are just as easy to clean, and thanks to their rectangular shape, they also blend perfectly in a tiled bathroom.

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Central Heating Power Flush now available from Aquarooms Barnet

Central heating Problems, Strange and unpleasant, noises from the boiler or Pumps, particularly when working at it’s hardest, cold spots on radiators, these can be cured.

Be prepared  this winter Aquarooms are offering a Power Flush Service using the latest technology of the kamco power flushing pumps  a highly effective method of flushing heating systems. Heating systems can be purged of sludge, scale and corrosion deposits with minimal dismantling and disruption.

Any of the above symptoms could indicate that your system has circulation and flow problems resulting from internal corrosion and subsequent formation of rust, sludge and scale deposits.

CF400084med

The objective is to restore systems with circulation and boiler noise problems (caused by sludge and corrosion deposits) to optimum operation. Power flushing removes these deposits and the problems that they cause and restores heat output to radiators and overall  system efficiency.

The CLEARFLOW power flushing pump is simply connected into the heating system, the powerful flow, combined with the CombiMag powerflush filter quickly removes circulating black iron oxide contamination from the flushing water,

FX2man

Power Flush FX2 enables our engineers to thoroughly cleanse a heating system in just one visit, a significant benefit when so many households have both partners working full time.

kamco-combimag-power-flushing-filter-The Combi Mag using the power of a rare earth magnet to snatch the debris from the water flow, instantaneous flow reverser device, will dislodge and mobilise deposits and corrosion which resist traditional system cleaning methods.

Once the corrosion and sludge deposits have been loosened and mobilised, fresh clean water is forced through the heating system, pushing the contaminated water out through a full bore dump valve to waste. During the CLEARFLOW process, radiators are individually flushed, without removing or disconnecting them from the system, by directing the full output of the pump through each radiator separately.

DMlarge

The system is then treated with SYSTEMSAFE-DM, a balanced blend of corrosion and scale inhibitors, formulated to provide complete protection against system corrosion and scale formation.  It gives long term protection to central heating systems, preventing internal corrosion, scale deposition and boiler noises, and extends the life of the system and maintains its operational efficiency.

The complete process normally carried out in less than six hours from £360.00 + vat

System flushing will not remedy design or mechanical faults, which should be rectified, but in many cases it will cure the problems caused by these.

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Aquarooms Bathrooms makes major changes to keep ahead of the field:

120_2012“The future starts now ” may sound like the title of a new Sci-Fi movie, but Grant Bliben (pictured), the managing director of Aquarooms,
is using this mantra with good
reason as he extols his vision for
the brand and its store.

The change of strategy came largely with the move of its showroom from Southgate. After being at the Hampden Square, Southgate showroom for over 25 years it was time to move, to a new showroom in Barnet with a high street  position, easy parking and a large shop frontage.

Starting again with the latest in European products and using the manufacturers with the best back up and support.

So why a change in branding? “The market is split between different buyers now. There are those who will buy by price regardless of the quality or make, we will try to match prices with our price promise, so even the internet is not always the cheapest option, sometimes it’s cheaper locally.” The thrust of this strategy, as explained by Grant, is to openly reposition the Aquarooms brand locally more towards the “design installation and maintenance aspects of the business”.

But “Aquarooms is on a journey to get from being among the pack of Bathroom Showrooms to a place where we’re a business that leans towards firmly being a local bathroom specialist.” Grant declares. “The high level goal of the Aquarooms is to create a locally respected brand for its customers. A place where professional advice and help is given backed up by a team of professional general maintenance services.”

Grant the owner has over 30 years of plumbing experience, and aided by the conceptual designs of leading manufactures has brought in a completely new look showroom within the bathroom industry. Whether your room is bijou or spacious, there are settings to suit all
needs and life styles.
The Aquarooms studio has fully tiled shower trays and wet room floors, which have been produced using Elements, environmentally friendly waterproof structural foam. The unique properties of this product have enabled tiled curved shower walls, seats & decorative mosaic features to be incorporated into designs. Aquarooms still show over 22 fully tiled Bathroom settings with a large selection of accessories, mirrors and cabinets with the showroom emphasis on Design and Installation.
So how is the showroom changing? “The new showroom has been a great success for us, our focus is service 1st and retail 2nd. It’s our customers that are guiding the brand towards its new goals.” “Our main customer wants an experience there, to enjoy an
environment, that’s as much about inspiration, service and expertise as it is about price value and availability – We want to be a design partner with our customers.”
Grant, believes that this new approach sets them off in the right direction and it already seems to be having a positive effects on business in there new Showroom and its customer satisfaction scores go along with the theory. We’re proud of what we do and believe it’s
great value and we’re happy to have it compared in a valid way.
Aquarooms new approach is undeniably impressive. They offer differentiation from its nearest competitors, by raising the game on service and quality for their customers.

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Aquarooms Bathrooms Barnet Summer Price Crash Sale

Aquarooms summer price crash sale brochure is now ready for Download.price crash

32 pages of Unbelievable products a there lowest prices

Shower doors from £185.00, Triton electric showers From £150.00

Fantastic deals on Baths, Designer Quadrant showers ONLY £175

Money saving Space saver Suites, Bathscreen Savers and Brassware Bargains

Designer white Italian Furniture, Down load your free copy now or call 020 8440 1106 for your free Brochure. click here Aquarooms price-crash

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