World

A history of toilets

Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT) September 22, 2014
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Toilets have been re-imagined in a number of outrageous ways throughout the years. This picture, taken in Hong Kong, shows a solid gold and gem-encrusted toilet valued at 38,000,000 million Hong Kong dollars (4.8 million USD). Courtesy of MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images
The TOTO AC (Actlight) Washlet with self cleaning technology, pictured, has a toilet bowl covered with a special zirconium coating. The UV light integrated in the lid combines with the zirconium coating to trigger a decomposition process, making a toilet brush unnecessary. Courtesy TOTO
New Models/New Designs (What will the bathroom of the future be like?) - Alex Schweder, 'Bi-Bardon', 2001. Courtesy TOTO
Gold colored urinals are seen in the men's bathroom at The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. The now famous Robot Restaurant opened two years ago in Kabukicho area of Shinjuku at an estimated cost of 10 million U.S. dollars. Courtesy of Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Urinals in the toilets at the 'Rosenmeer' restaurant in the western German city of Moenchengladbach are pictured. The urinals in the shape of a mouth, created by Dutch designer Meike van Schijndel, were criticized for being offensive to women. Courtesy of VOLKER HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images
An old toilet is displayed during the 'Toilet!? Human Waste and Earth's Future' exhibition at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition focuses on how the toilet has changed our daily lives and discovers what the most environment-friendly and ideal toilet is. Courtesy of Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
Who wouldn't want a blinged-out toilet seat? A toilet decorated with crystal rhinestones is displayed with during the 'Toilet!? Human Waste and Earth's Future' exhibition. Courtesy of Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
'Mark 5', a conceptual space toilet, is displayed during the 'Toilet!? Human Waste and Earth's Future' exhibition. Courtesy of Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
Technology enters the home - Sanyo's Ultrasonic Bath and Washing Machine, Osaka World Fair, Japan, 1970 Courtesy TOTO
The beautification of the home (softening of the aesthetic) - Luigi Colani, bathroom series for Villeroy & Boch, 1975. Courtesy TOTO
The Rise of Flush water closet - 'The Dolphin', 1888. Reproduced in J. L. Mott Iron Works, New York. Courtesy TOTO