The Plunger – Part 1: History and Uses


April 11, 2013 by John Crapper

Plunger icon from SuperTuxKart

A plunger is a common device that is used to release stoppages in plumbing. The intent is to loosen or break up a clog.

Origins of the Tool

The exact invention date and inventor are not known.

A single use simple utilitarian tool – right? Actually plungers have been used in a myriad of creative ways some of which might surprise you. With just a little searching these are some of the alternative uses I discovered for this simple tool.

Plungers have been used to save lives. In the 1980s, toilet plungers were used to save lives. In California, on three different occasions, caregivers performed CPR using toilet plungers to successfully save the victims’ lives. In 2009, a Minnesota company called Advanced Circulatory Systems was working on a prototype shaped in the form of a suction cup that emergency medical responders could use to perform CPR.

In Oklahoma a woman used a toilet bowl plunger to fend off two burglars breaking into her home by hitting one of them and knocking the gun out of his hand.

Recently one man tried using one to rob a bank. His plan quickly crapped out and he was apprehended after a short chase.

Jazz musicians have made trumpet mutes out of toilet bowl plungers. The suction cup from a toilet plunger transforms the sound to make the music sound like a human voice.

A Plunger Mute for Trombone

Others have used it for wall art or to play a game of over-sized darts!


Still others have attempted to display it as yard art.


Not sure about this next picture but I assume it is being used to pop pimples!

Phnx with plunger

So as you can see the plunger can and has been used in wonderfully creative and extremely important ways since its invention.

You may have noticed we use the toilet bowl plunger as an integral part of our Church logo. It adorns every page on this site and plays the important role of holding up the Earth. In my next post I’ll tell you why this came to be part of the symbol of The Church of the Holy Shitters.

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