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View Full Version : toilet bowls--why is the water level full to the brim?


chappachula
12-01-2004, 02:30 PM
virtually every toilet in America has a spherical-shaped bowl ,which is full to the brim with water maybe 10 inches deep. Why so full?

But there are un-American toilets where the bowl is deeper, and more of a cone shape, with steeper sides.The water is only about 3 inches deep, at the narrow bottom of the cone(which is about 6 inches wide). The walls (sides) of the bowl are exposed, extending about 10 inches above the water.

Result--you can pee without making so much noise! Males have plenty of open side-bowl to aim at, with no splashing.Women also make much less noise, because the water surface is very small.

It's just so much more... refined and classy. You can use the toilet and not worry that you are preventing the people in the next room from hearing the TV.So why do American toilets insist on being so rude? Couldn't the water level in the bowl be reduced?


(if it's relevant, the tank and flushing mechanism is the same on both the Amercan and un-American (McCarthyist?) toilets)

hey, it's been a while since we've had a good toilet thread! I had expected this to be a well worn subject, but a search of GQ titles didn't find any previous threads

Munch
12-01-2004, 02:37 PM
10 inches deep?!? 95% of the toilets I've seen have been no deeper than 6 inches.

And to the brim? Are you serious? Maybe it's been different everywhere but where I've lived in Kansas, Indiana and Mississippi.

brianjedi
12-01-2004, 02:40 PM
I don't know which toilets you've been using, but in my experience a toilet bowl is only full to the brim with water if it's clogged.

And if you're making that much noise while urinating, you must be moving a lot of urine.

kezami
12-01-2004, 02:41 PM
Here in Canada the majority of toilet bowls I've seen have only a few inches of water. It's a different story if they get plugged though.

SavageNarce
12-01-2004, 02:42 PM
I don't know if it's possible to reply to this without Too Much Information, but...

More water helps to prevent poo from sticking to the sides of the bowl, and helps dissolve any remaining "skid marks" after flushing. I have used European toilets that were a bugger to keep clean because of their "low water mark" design. It certainly wasn't a water conservation tool, as everyone seemed to flush the toilet 2 or 3 times before it became presentable. In one place in Austria, the design was so terrible I had to douse the toilet with a wastebasket full of water before it would flush effectively.

Gary Robson
12-01-2004, 02:45 PM
virtually every toilet in America has a spherical-shaped bowl ,which is full to the brim with water maybe 10 inches deep.
I've lived in America my whole life, and traveled extensively. Of all the toilets I've encountered, I've never seen one that was spherical or one that was full to the brim with water. There's always room to pee on the porcelain, and the bowls tend to taper toward the front somewhat. The only time I've seen one full to the brim was when it was plugged up.

I'll never forget when I got up in the middle of the night to pee when I was about 12. I aimed for the center of the bowl, as usual, and then went back to bed. My father appeared in the doorway and said,

"Water sprayed on water makes a sound that's plain to hear,
but water sprayed on porcelain falls deafly to the ear."

He went back to bed without saying anything else, and I've always aimed above water level since then.

Terminus Est
12-01-2004, 02:47 PM
If your toilet bowl is full to the brim, how do you keep your ass dry when you sit down to do #2?

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
12-01-2004, 02:48 PM
Without measuring, I have to say that I've never seen a toilet that had more than 5 inches of water(and that's being generous). And the toilets I've seen in various other countries have, for the most part, looked pretty much the same in shape.

Bippy the Beardless
12-01-2004, 02:56 PM
It is a problem for us male Europeans, when we sit down for a number 2 on an American toilet our todgers get a dunking ;). European toilets are made for accomodate for the European physique without getting our peckers wet.

Girl From Mars
12-01-2004, 03:46 PM
American toilets are different from those overseas, or at least in my experience -so noticably different in fact that on one trip there my friends and I actually took a photo of the toilet in our hotel (in Hawaii). The basin was a lot shallower and full of water than we were used to. (Apparently we think about this too much!)

Asteroide
12-01-2004, 04:26 PM
It is a problem for us male Europeans, when we sit down for a number 2 on an American toilet our todgers get a dunking ;). European toilets are made for accomodate for the European physique without getting our peckers wet.

I gotta go along with this - it leads to all kinds of absurd contortions and thigh squeezing.

OTOH good news - those fuzzy toilet seat covers seem to have died out - you know, the ones that prevent the seat from staying up, so when you were taking a piss, you had to lean forward with one hand holding the seat up and still try to aim straight ?

moriah
12-01-2004, 06:09 PM
Many home toilets are composed of a lower hemi-sphere(ish) part and a upper cylindrical part that extends the 'brim' of that hemi-sphere upward to the seat.

I'm guessing the OP meant the water was filled to the brim of the spherical shape, not the very brim of the seat. IOW, half full.

Peace.

Cunctator
12-01-2004, 06:45 PM
American toilets are different from those overseas, or at least in my experience -so noticably different in fact that on one trip there my friends and I actually took a photo of the toilet in our hotel (in Hawaii). The basin was a lot shallower and full of water than we were used to. (Apparently we think about this too much!)

This is something that Australians notice too. Nearly everyone I know, after visiting the USA for the first time, comments on the high water level in the toilets there.

nivlac
12-01-2004, 06:51 PM
I just replaced a toilet so I gained "intimate" experience. The water is only 5 or 6 inches from the bottom and less than half-way to the brim. You gotta have some water in the bowl to prevent sewer gas from seeping out of the toilet. And what's the big deal with making noise while peeing? That's why they call it taking a tinkle! Aiming right at the center of the bowl minimizes the "splash" effect during the act. I'll take a noisy pee job over a grungy toilet any day. I remember reading that the Japanese have invented devices that will create background noises (like water sounds) that will cover up the various noises as you do your business in the bathroom. I really hope that we don't get that prudish.

GorillaMan
12-01-2004, 06:53 PM
Something I've had the misfortune to discover is a problem with 'high water line' toilets is that it isn't always immediately obvious that they're blocked. That is, it's obvious for the person who's used to it, and knows where the water is, but for anyone else, it might just look like it's quite full. And while the bowl can cope with one cistern of water before overflowing, two isn't good. The British (and European, but there's differences there) toilet is very obvious if there's even a slight blockage - having the normal waterline at the end of the cylindrical pipe makes anything unusual into somthing very noticeable.

SmackFu
12-01-2004, 06:56 PM
More water helps to prevent poo from sticking to the sides of the bowl, and helps dissolve any remaining "skid marks" after flushing.What he said.

GorillaMan
12-01-2004, 06:56 PM
Oh, and just to take the TMI quotient through the roof.....isn't there an obligation on any urinating male to use his power to destroy any residual markings on the porcelain?

seosamh
12-01-2004, 07:01 PM
As GorillaMan notes, UK and indeed European bogs are rather different from Yank ones. The water level is far lower down from the rim of the bowl and the flushing action comes from above rather than (so it seems to me with Yank ones) from below. I find it very disconcering if the fruits of my labours remain so close to me after I've ejected them....

As someone with a touch of paranoia about blocked bogs, give me the British or European sort any day: you know where you are blockage-wise. There is far less danger of overflow with the latter.

racer72
12-01-2004, 07:21 PM
It is a problem for us male Europeans, when we sit down for a number 2 on an American toilet our todgers get a dunking ;). European toilets are made for accomodate for the European physique without getting our peckers wet.

I don't think my "todgers" any different that most Europeans and mine has never taken a dunking while taking a dump. And willy is always dry as a bone. The only way I could see someone getting wet would be if they forgot to put the toilet seat down. I would imagine the many folks have tried to climb the invisible ladder when you notice the seat is still in the upright position when they go to sit on the throne. And who can forget the experience of having a drop of water hit you in the sphinter just before your asshole slams shut.

Ignatz
12-01-2004, 07:26 PM
/slight hijack, but relevant/
Saw many deep-bowl toilets in Europe. I even peed in a bidet the first time I saw one. It was in a room all by itself with a sink, when I advised my hosts that I had to go to the toilet.

Many Mediterranean societies have had an alternative to the OP for many decades, or centuries. When visiting a lady doctor friend in a modern highrise apartment complex in a suburb of Istanbul (Bakirkoy), I needed to tap a kidney after dining. When shown the way to the toilet, I was surprised to see a small closet-sized room with a porcelain floor, resembling a shower stall except that there were two foot-shaped raised areas near the front of it and a hole in the middle, with the floor sloping up slightly to the perimeter sill. A pipe ran down the rear wall from the ceiling to a small fan-shaped outlet just above the floor. I needed only to aim into the hole. I then turned a handle to flush. Had I needed to do a number 2, I would have had to assume the position being careful not to let my trousers get in the way. I had seen other such facilities around the Med, but to see it in a modern highrise apartment complex really amazed me. No wonder we saw the Iraqis carrying commodes on their exit from Kuwait in the Gulf War.

Gary Robson
12-02-2004, 06:45 AM
And what's the big deal with making noise while peeing?
If the master bathroom is connected to the master bedroom, loud peeing in the middle of the night can wake up your significant other, even with the connecting door closed.

spingears
12-02-2004, 08:47 AM
virtually every toilet in America has a spherical-shaped bowl ,which is full to the brim with water maybe 10 inches deep. Why so full?
That is a very broad statement.
I agree with Munch.
Is this a Whoosh?
A bowl full to the brim won't flush. It will overflow!
Perhaps it it someone else that is full of something else!

JRDelirious
12-02-2004, 09:11 AM
virtually every toilet in America has a spherical-shaped bowl ,which is full to the brim with water maybe 10 inches deep. Right off the bat, a statement contrary to my own observations. From Maine to Hawaii and from Florida to Utah I have seldom seen a properly-installed American toilet that has "10 inches of water". But, on that, I will grant that to the outsider encountering older high-flush toilets it probably LOOKED like there's that much water in there, when really there ain't, just because of the difference (even less so now with the lo-flush models). Just like to us raised on American sit-down johnnies it looks like you'd need a &^%$# bombsight, AND to sew your trouser pockets shut, in order to use the hole-in-the-floor Mediterranean setup. And never once upon sitting on a properly-functioning American potty has anything taken an unexpected dip, in my experience.

BobLibDem
12-02-2004, 09:22 AM
Oh, and just to take the TMI quotient through the roof.....isn't there an obligation on any urinating male to use his power to destroy any residual markings on the porcelain?
Oh yes- and it's fun, too! Almost as much fun as aiming for dead flies and cigarette butts in urinals.

moriah
12-02-2004, 09:55 PM
That is a very broad statement.
I agree with Munch.
Is this a Whoosh?
A bowl full to the brim won't flush. It will overflow!

OK. You've repeated what others have said. Did you read post #12 which suggests what the OP may have meant?

Peace.

Askance
12-02-2004, 10:07 PM
Don't get too distracted by the hyperbole used in the OP. In spirit he is right - US loos have a much greater volume of water in them that ones here or in Europe, in my experience.

Not literally full to the brim of course, but so full that a man's hand can get wet when trying to wipe his bum if he's not careful. I know of Americans who stand up to wipe because of this.

It's true this prevents stickage to the porcelain, and also allows the deliberate swirling during the flush (the source of the "southern hemisphere" UL) presumably to reduce gurgling noises (while wasting a lot of water). IOW the whole thing stems from sensitivity about bodily functions, also demonstrated by the common euphemisms "bathroom" and "restroom" in use there.

roger thornhill
12-02-2004, 10:16 PM
Not literally full to the brim of course, but so full that a man's hand can get wet when trying to wipe his bum if he's not careful. I know of Americans who stand up to wipe because of this.
Struth! And I just talk sport and politics when I meet Americans.

Donovan
12-03-2004, 03:11 AM
Oh, and just to take the TMI quotient through the roof.....isn't there an obligation on any urinating male to use his power to destroy any residual markings on the porcelain?

I consider it my sacred duty.

spingears
12-03-2004, 08:16 AM
Many home toilets are composed of a lower hemi-sphere(ish) part and a upper cylindrical part that extends the 'brim' of that hemi-sphere upward to the seat. I'm guessing the OP meant the water was filled to the brim of the spherical shape, not the very brim of the seat. IOW, half full. Peace.
An example of miscommunication.
From another thread...................
A Most Profound Statement
"Because it is hard to ask questions when one knows nothing about what one is asking." js_africanus, Straight Dope Message Boards.

----- The original post question.
"Moving heat from mercury to water; raise water temp by X to lower mercury temp by 1
If I have equivalent amounts of mercury and water, and transfer heat from the mercury to the water, how much do I have to raise the temperature of the water to lower the temperature of the mercury by one degree?
Is there some sort of term or number that makes this easy to figure out?
Thanks much."

------ The original post and replies as per above.
<http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=289080>
The question hinges on: Just what are "Equivalent amounts of Hg & H2O?
===========
Questions should be clearly stated and unambiguous.
What did/does OP mean by full to the rim? I would understand that to be water standing up to the bottom of the top rim where some of the flush water flows down to wash the sides of the entire bowl.
moriah: You refer to an upper cylindrical part. I have never seen such a toilet in all of my experience with waste disposal. All toilets have a larger semi-spherical bowl with a smaller area at the bottom to contain water for sealing off the waste pipe.
Learn more about toilets. :)
Toiletology 101 (http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml)