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John Harrington
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    (August 4, 1560-November 20, 1612)
    Born in Kelston, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
    Royal courtier, poet, and translator
    Translated Ariosto’s ‘Orlando Furioso’ into English (1591)
    Invented the flush toilet and had one installed in his manor in Kelston
    Described his invention in ‘A New Discourse Upon a Stale Subject: The Metamorphosis of Ajax’ (1596)
    He was frequently banned from court for his ribald humor.
    His toilet would be used only by a handful of rich people until cities began installing water and sewer systems two centuries later.
    His invention is often wrongly credited to Thomas Crapper.
    It is uncertain if his name was the inspiration for ‘john’ becoming a synonym for toilet.
    He was a godson of Queen Elizabeth I. (So were 101 other men, so it was not the most exclusive of honors.)
    He coined the epigram, ‘Treason doth never prosper: What’s the reason?/Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.’
    His ghost appeared in the South Park episode ‘Reverse Cowgirl’ to explain proper toilet use.

Credit: C. Fishel

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