Ballcock

It sounds obscene, but it’s toilet talk –
an old mechanism for filling water tanks,
somehow invented by a priest in 1790.
A ball-shaped float rises in the tank
signaling the cock-stop. Not obscene. But obscene.


I have always been fascinated with the origins of words, name,s and phrases. That has led me to do occasional posts at another site called Why Name It That? on the etymologies and origin stories of things. (The names of rock bands happen to be the most popular.) I wrote there in more detail about the ballcock (also less obscenely known as a balltap or float valve). It is the mechanism in flush toilets that using a float stops the tank from verflowing by lifting a valve (cock) to shut off the water.

Leave a comment about this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s