A toilet seat is the seat and lid of a toilet bowl. It consists of the seat itself, which is contoured for the user to sit on the toilet, and the lid, which covers the toilet when not in use. The lid when down serves as a seat for other purposes, such as a seat to sit on while one is warming up a shower, or cutting toenails. The seat can be lifted in order to protect it from spatter during a male's urination, or when cleaning the toilet. Urinals help to prevent this inconvenience.
Toilet seats come in a wide variety of shapes, from the normal molded wood to the more expensive plastic oval seat to the opened-front seat often seen in public restrooms. They can be made of porcelain, plastic, steel, ivory or molded wood. Some metal toilets, such as those in many jails and prisons, have built-in toilet seats that do not lift so that the inmate does not fashion it into a weapon or escape tool.
In most common toilets, the seat can be raised. This can be done to facilitate cleaning, but most often when a male urinates while standing. Because females do not typically raise the seat for anything other than cleaning, this generates debate among cohabitating members of the opposite sex. Frequently, the male(s) is expected by the female member(s) to ensure the seat is always lowered after use, and criticize him if he forgets. There are generally two justifications:
There is debate over whether each justification is fair or reasonable. An efficiency study on whether the seat should be left up or down after use is available at: The Troublesome Toilet Seat: Up or Down? Three Schemes
A line of reasoning holds that the appearance of the toilet, and by extension the bathroom, is more esthetically pleasing when the lid is left down between use. This not only puts an end to the seat up/down debate, but may have health benefits as well. According to research by Dr. Charles Gerba, a toilet sprays droplets of the toilet's contents when it is flushed. He used a strobe light to shoot a time-lapse photograph of a flush and captured the evidence. More information can be found in the New York Times article available at: Basically, A toilet seat comes in a multiple styles depending on the style of the toilet itself. Also toilet seats are also built to the size of the toilet bowl, two examples of this are the elongated bowl and the regular bowl. So there are a range of different styles and colors. Kohler Company has actually a range of 3,000 different colors you can choose from. You can buy them almost at any store that has any plumbing products. They can be really cheap like $20 to sometimes more than $100.
The toilet seats commonly seen in public washrooms are designed differently in order to ensure better sanitation. They are usually made with a gap in the front-center, which reduces the amount of spatter and eases the job of cleaning for janitorial staff.
In the early 20th century, it was fairly commonplace for toilet seats found in public restrooms to be black. This added a touch of style to the design of the washroom. However, since the second half of the century, the general preference in the United States has been to construct public restrooms with white toilet seats, thereby giving a brighter appearance. While some black toilet seats in the U.S. remain in some older restrooms, some U.S. jurisdictions, including the states of Maryland and Florida, have banned them from being installed in new restrooms, or from being used as replacements in existing ones, as they have been found to mask unsanitary conditions. Some places have actually considered laws that would require black toilet seats in public restrooms to be retrofitted with white ones. But these laws have been opposed by restroom owners for being costly. Still, black toilet seats remain commonplace in other U.S. states, such as Pennsylvania.
In Canada, however, the preference for toilet seats in public washrooms continues to be black. Even newly built modern washrooms in most of Canada usually feature black toilet seats.
In 2004 Senator Chuck Grassley (R Iowa) said: "I exposed the spending scandal in the ‘80s when federal bureaucrats saw no problem in spending $600 for a toilet seat . . ." Some now claim that neither that nor his also famous revelation of the Pentagon spending $400 for a hammer actually ever happened. Others say the prices paid were fair and justifiable.
The $600 dollar toilet seat was determined to be "fair and reasonable" by a Naval Contracting Officer, based on his detailed knowledge of the manufacturing processes and degree of effort known to be required from the vendor, to manufacture this item.
The United States military services are often in the position of making equipment last decades longer than originally designed. For example the B-52 bomber is more than 50 years old and expected to be useful for another 20 years. The famous toilet seat came about when about twenty Navy planes had to be rebuilt to extend their service life. The onboard toilets required a uniquely shaped fiberglass piece that had to satisfy specifications for the vibration resistance, weight, and durability. The molds had to be specially made as it had been decades since the planes original production. The price of the "seats" reflected the design work and the cost of the equipment to manufacture them.
The problem arose because the top level drawing for the toilet assembly referred to the part being purchased as a "Toilet Seat" instead of its proper nomenclature of "Shroud". The Navy had made a conscious decision at the time, not to pay the OEM of the aircraft the thousands of dollars it would take to update their top level drawing in order to fix this mistake in nomenclature.
Later some unknown Senate staffer combing lists of military purchases for the Golden Fleece Awards found "Toilet Seat - $600" and trumpeted it to the news media as an example of "government waste." The Senate then wrote into the appropriations bill that this item would not be purchased for anything more than $140.00. The shroud has never been purchased since, as no one can make the shroud at that price.
President Reagan had actually held a televised news conference, where he held up one of these shrouds. During the press conference, he explained the true story. The media of the time, and still today, incorrectly reports that the Pentagon was paying $640.00 for a $12.00 toilet seat.