Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Armitage Shanks Family Part 1 Pear-Shaped Squatting

I am doing a series on the Armitage Shanks family of toilets.Armitage Shanks seems to be very popular all over the world.Whichever country you go to,around the world,most of the time,you will see Armitage Shanks toilets.

Armitage Shanks is very significant to me,because it was the very first toilet I started looking into,at the age of 3.The photo that you see below is the exact model that I am refering to.

This model has been around since the mid to late 1970s.If you visit any building built in that era,you might still be able to find this toilet.

There are actually a few batches of this toilet.What you see in the photo above and below are the very first batch.This batch was manufactured between 1974 to 1983.As you can see,the brand logo is the earlier Armitage Shanks brand logo,with only the words.

Although the different batches may look the same,expect for the brand logo,they flushing sound is slightly different.

The later batches have a "sharper" flushing sound while this batch has a "smoother" flushing sound.

I will include 2 videos of the first batch here.Listen to them and compare with them with the later batch.

The video you just saw isn't exactly the "smooth" flushing sound because the cistern has been replaced.The next video will demonstrate the "smooth" flushing sound.

Can you tell the difference here?Next,I will be introducing the newer batch.The photo you see below is the 1985 batch.It is the newer batch.Look at the brand logo...this time,you can see the triangle-shaped logo.

In the old batch,there is no logo,only the words.The photo above was taken at the Kuala Lumpur old railway station.

The other 2 toilets were taken in Singapore,while this one was taken in Malaysia.I can't seem to find this batch,model and flushing system in Singapore.Those in Singapore are either flushed by valve or sensor.

It really affects the flushing sound.I compare cistern with cistern.It wouldn't be fair to compare a cistern flush with a sensor flush.

The pear-shaped squatting Armitage Shanks is extremely common in Singapore.During the early 1980s to the mid 1990s,visit any shopping mall or commercial building,you are highly likely to see this toilet.

However,as we moved towards the late 1990s,these toilets start to get replaced by other brands.

I have seen this type of squatting toilets in Malaysia and Hong Kong,though they are not so commonly found.It does remind me of Singapore when I see them in foreign countries.

Last but not least,I am going to include the video of the toilet in the photo above.I'm sorry to say that the video is very dark as the toilet was not well-lit.You can see the photo clearly because I used flash on my camera.

The aim in this video is not to see the toilet,but to hear the flushing sound.Enjoy.

Marco's 10 Quotes On Toilets

After around 24 years of experience in toilets,I have came up with some quotes and tips regarding toilets.Hopefully you can benefit from them when you are looking for old and rare toilets.

1."You Can't Judge A Toilet By Its Exterior."

This is a time-tested principle.There were many times,I thought a toilet was renovated from its exterior.But when I went in,I was surprised to find old toilet bowls in there.I'm sure if you are a toilet fan like you,you have encountered similar cases.

2."If you can't find what you want in a public toilet,try a private toilet."

We are living in the 21st century.Most of those old toilets are either renovated or demolished.Especially public toilets.Public toilets have the highest tendency to be renovated,because of wear and tear.

What do I mean by private toilets?Private toilets are toilets that are privately owned.Examples are home toilets,toilets from shops and toilets from individual offices.

If you can't find what you want in a public toilet,tendency is the toilet is already renovated.Try going to a shop and buy something.Then ask if you can use their toilet.

You might have to get out of your comfort zone to do that.

3."The Higher You Go,The Higher Your Chances Of Finding An Old,Original Toilet."

This applies to commercial buildings,offices and shopping malls.The reason for this is simple.The ground floor toilets are used the most often.They have the highest tendency to wear and tear,resulting in renovation or replacements.

The higher you go,the less people use the toilets.As a result,less wear and tear.Therefore it is likely that the toilet is old and original.

However,this may not be the case always.Some buildings renovate all their toilets at once.No matter which floor,it is all renovated.But if it is in the process of renovating,then they usually start with the lower floors first.

4."If You Can't Find The Old,Original Toilet In The Mall Itself,Try The Car Park Toilets."

There were many times this theory worked for me.The car park toilets are usually not used.Even if they are used,they are seldom used by the public.Usually only by the car park attendant.

Since only a few people use it,the management will usually not renovate it.

5."If The Exterior Of The Building Is Old And Run Down,You Have A 50% Chance Of Finding An Old Toilet In There."

This is not to be confused with the first quote.Basing on my experience,if the exterior of the building is old and run down,it means that the management is not very keen in upgrading and renovating.

If that's the case,the toilets are usually the old,original ones.

6."Leave No Toilet Unexplored."

I'm sure you heard of "leave no stone unturned".This quote is very true.When you comb the whole area,leave no toilet unexplored.You will never know what you will find.

There were many times I was so tired after exploring the toilets,I wanted to stop for the day.But it is usually that time when I start to find those rare toilets.No matter how tired you are,persist all the way,until you finish exploring every single toilet in the area.

When it comes to buildings,explore every floor.Yes,I mean it.Every floor.The most unreliable toilet is the ground floor toilet.That one has the highest tendency to be renovated and replaced.

Sometimes the highest floor may be renovated because it happends to be a restaurant or some "high activity" place.The original toilets may be on the middle floors.You never know.So my advice is to leave no toilets unexplored.

7."The Best Rare Toilets Are Usually Found In Places Where Few People Go."

You may already know where I am referring to.This is definitely not for the faint-hearted.You really really must be daring enough.But hey,if you are a toilet fan like me,you will brave everything in order to find your rare toilet.

Am I right?

Alright,I have went off tangent.The place where I found the best old,rare toilets are the cemeteries,crematoriums and columbariums.These places are usually quite deserted and they usually house those old and rare toilets.

Question is...Are you daring enough to venture into them?

I have ventured into them a few times,at different places.And I have encountered some "things" from the other world.I admit that I was scared then.But my mission of finding the toilets are more important.

I had to proceed despite the fear.I encountered those "things" twice in Hong Kong and once in Singapore.But those trips were worth it.I found what I wanted.

8."Industrial Buildings Have A High Chance Of Having Old,Unrenovated Toilets."

Another observation I made throughout the years.Industrial buildings and warehouses are not for people to view,unlike the shopping malls and offices.So it is ok not to renovate.

If you observe carefully,most industrial buildings and warehouses don't renovate their toilets.

9."The Lift Buttons,Floor Tiles,Fonts On The Signboards Of A Building Tells The Era Of The Toilet."

After many years of experience,I have come to a stage where I can easily guess what brand of toilets a building has.(Assuming it is in Singapore).

80% of the time,I am right.The flooring,door handles,lift buttons,fonts on the signboards are all hints to what era the toilet belongs to.

If you are looking for an old toilet,you won't go into a building with all the new designs.You are going to get disappointed.

However,it is not guaranteed that if you see old flooring,old door handles,old fonts on signboards,you will find old toilets in that building.It increases your chances,but it is not 100%.

10."If You Can't Find The Toilet,Smell It Out."

I was in Hong Kong last year.I was searching for a public toilet that was on the map.However,when I went there,I was unable to see the toilet.

There seemed to be no toilets there.I knew the toilet was there somehow,because the Food & Environment Department listed it on its website.

Due to the lack of time,I panicked.After a while,I had an idea.I started to smell the toilet out.

Later on,I discovered that I was standing above the toilet all the while.The toilet was below where I was standing.I was actually standing on a hilly road.

So if you can't find it,smell it out.

That's my 10 toilet quotes.Hope you find them useful.I wish you the best of luck in finding your dream toilets.:)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rare Squatting Toilet,Roca,Shau Kei Wan,Hong Kong Island

I don't usually take photos of new toilets.If you know me,I only favour old toilets.

I had to take this photo because it is really rare to find a squatting Roca.If you are a toilet enthusiast like me,you will know what I mean.Rocas are usually sitting toilets.

So here you are,a squatting Roca.

This toilet was taken at Tung Hei Road Public Toilet,Shau Kei Wan,Hong Kong Island.When I first saw the exterior,I wasn't impressed.It looked very new.I expected some Kimwares,Johnson Suisses or Armitage Shanks...

So the moral of the story is...:Don't judge a toilet by it's exterior.

Explore every single toilet,make sure you see everything before judging it.If not,you might regret your decision.

This toilet is flushed by stepping on a pedal on the wall.I believe the cistern is hidden,because I tried a consecutive flush and it failed.

I will try to shoot this on video this coming trip.Stay tuned.

The Lost Toilets...Squatting SP 1st Batch & Squatting JP

The 2 long lost toilets...finally captured on video.

Introducing...Singapore's Squatting JP and Squatting 1st Generation SP.These 2 toilets are actually side by side.They are taken from a coffee shop at Blk 212,Toa Payoh Lorong 8.

It's really great that they have not renovated the place.If not,these 2 toilets would really be lost.
First,let me talk about JP.The squatting JP you see here is actually not the original toilet.This toilet has been replaced.There are 2 things that show this.

One,look at the color of the mosaic,they are not consistent.Two,JP belongs to the mid 1980s era.This toilet belongs to the 1970s.

JP is only found in Singapore.I have not seen it in Malaysia or any other asian country.Surprisingly,JP does not have any sitting toilets,only squatting ones.

The first time I came across JP was also the same time I came across a Black Shires Cistern.That was back in 1984,at Funan Center.

I can never forget my first flush,that springy effect from the handle,the powerful flush.Sadly,Funan Center renovated its toilets twice,once after the refurbishment and the second time was recently.

The other place that also had JPs was Tekka Market,along Serangoon Road.That was the cheapest toilet in Singapore back then.Only 5 cents per entry while other toilets charged 10 cents.

Even during its era,JP was also quite rare.You can only find it in a handful of places.It is really a blessing to be able to shoot a video of this toilet at this era.

Next,it is the first generation squatting SP.Look at the brand logo,it is different from the Beauty World Center SPs.This is the very first batch of SPs.The logo looks a bit like Johore Pipe Company though.

This toilet belongs to the early to mid 1970s.They are a rare sight nowdays.From what I know,this is the only 1st generation squatting SP around.

The flushing sound is quite smooth,just like the next batch,with the new brand logo.The third batch is louder,not as smooth.But the third batch goes very well with the Black Shires Cistern.They are a match made in heaven.

I first came across this type of toilet in the late 1980s.That was at Shaw Plaza at Balestier Road.There was also a cinema there.However,the old Shaw Plaza was demolished and rebuilt.

The other place I saw this type of toilet was at a tailor's shop at Blk 7,Telok Blangah Crescent.That toilet had a Green Sky Cistern.The Green cistern was very common in the 1960s and 1970s.You can't find them now.

This is the 3rd Squatting 1st Generation SP that I came across.The photo is a little disguisting,but I had no choice,this is the clearest photo I have on hand.

Now,it's time for the videos.Coming up first,it's the squatting JP.There is something wrong with this toilet as the sound is a bit out.It doesn't sound like the olden days.

But this is the only JP I can find.If I can find another one,I will shoot it on video and you can compare their flushing sounds.Meanwhile,enjoy this first.

Next,you will look at the squatting SP 1st Batch.I have taken 2 videos because of the light factor.The first video is a little dark and difficult to see.Here it is...

Now for TAKE 2!This is brighter because I took it in Night Mode.The sad thing is this video is not as smooth as the last.But enjoy the flushing sound!