Thomas Crapper and the Etymology of “Crap”

crapperThomas Crapper turns 173 today (he doesn’t look a day over 135). Crapper probably has more rumors and innuendo swirling around him than any other plumber in the world. For one, there are many who believe that he invented the flush toilet. Not true. This from snopes:

Although Thomas Crapper took out nine plumbing patents between 1881 and 1896, none of these patents was for the “valveless water-waste preventer” he is often credited with having invented. The first ┬ápatent for a siphonic flush was taken out by Joseph Adamson in 1853, eight years before Crapper started his plumbing business.

Ok, but what about the fact that the word “crap” comes from Thomas Crapper? That has to be true, right? Alas, no. This from the online etymology dictionary. crap: (n.), from one of a cluster of words generally applied to things cast off or discarded (e.g. “weeds growing among corn” (1425), “residue from renderings” (1490s), 18c. underworld slang for “money,” and in Shropshire, “dregs of beer or ale”), all probably from Middle English (1100-1500 a.d.).crappe “grain that was trodden underfoot in a barn, chaff”