A sanitary appliance
In the 1880s, spurred by public health reformers and a growing acceptance of “germ theory,” municipalities across the nation installed water and sewage systems. Flush toilets increasingly became more common. Wash-out water closets of the era had under-floor traps and dry bowls that often leaked odorous sewer gases. By the 1890s, wash-down siphon models became the norm: five to seven gallons of water rushing into the bowl pulled out waste; built-in traps kept a pool of gas-blocking water in the bowl.