My 1975 Automatic Toilet Seat

I do not see that anyone has yet duplicated my automatic toilet seat of 1975, although I have seen a few high-tech efforts that were extremely expensive and complex, and which had many ways to fail.

I had realized that the weight of a person was always on a small area of floor just in front of the toilet bowl. More than that, I realized that a man who intended to urinate had the majority of his body weight on his heels, several inches farther out in front of the toilet bowl than when the user was facing outward, where the heels were much closer to the toilet bowl.

So I took a Router and made a 5/16 deep recess in that area of floor, twelve inches square. Laterally, across the exact center of that recess, I cut a 1/4 inch wide notch, 3/16 inch deep. I then dropped a 12 inch long piece of 1/4 inch steel rod down in that lower notch. The result was that I then had a fulcrum, upon which a 12 inch square piece of 1/4 inch plate steel could (slightly) rock back and forth.

I then used the router again to make deeper notches for two Microswitches, which were underneath this rocker plate. For ANY person's weight, if slightly more weight was on either side of the fulcrum, THAT Microswitch electrically closed. Because of the construction, only one of the two Microswitches could ever be closed at any moment.

There were TWO electrical circuits, each controlled by a different SPST Microswitch. The first senses ANY changes of either switch becoming closed, and it had a large electrical Capacitor in the circuit. This ircuit immediately activated a small air cylinder that lifted the Seat Cover, and the Capacitor in the circuit kept that Seat Cover up for about an additional minute after all movement ended.

The second circuit was where the Toilet Seat itself would be lifted if a man was facing the toilet.

This resulted in the toilet seat automatically moving to the correct positions for a man or woman or for whatever a man might need to do.

After the person left, about a minute later, the Seat Cover would lower down, and then the Flushing system was activated. That was both quieter than usual flushing and it also seemed 'classier'!

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Most of my then nine house dogs never approached the toilet, where previously, some of them seemed to think they got fresher (recently flushed) water from there rather than their two gallon water bucket in the kitchen.

But one of my dogs, Mimas, was a lot smarter than other dogs (and even many children!) and I sometimes saw her go into the bathroom to very carefully place her front feet to activate the toilet bowl lid. None of the other dogs seemed to ever learn from her about how to do that.

She had her own ideas about many things, including that. One other example was where I had bought a plastic squirt pistol, where I could seem to be 'pointing at' a dog that was misbehaving, and a small spray of water would hit the dog's face. None of the other dogs seemed to ever figure out that I had a hidden squirt gun in my hand, but Mimas certainly knew. Wherever I tried to hide the squirt gun, Mimas quickly seemed to discover it, and the next time I would try to squirt, I would find that 'SOMEONE' had chewed it to break the water chamber.

This came to the most impressive extreme when, in order to preserve my squirt gun, I had started storing the gun on a shelf inside the overhead cupboards, above the kitchen counters (which were securely closed. Mimas clearly had jumped up on the counter (which was always verboten) and somehow she opened the cabinet door, and the squirt gun, five feet up above the floor, was found in a puddle of water up there. I KNEW that there was no point in even accusing any of the other dogs, but when I looked at her, she had her well-established 'I am innocent' expression.

I actually soon gave up trying to find anywhere to hide a squirt gun, so I suppose she won that Round!


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in January 2014.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago