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William Elvis Sloan

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Title: William Elvis Sloan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Flushometer, Toilet, Timeline of United States inventions (1890–1945)
Collection: 1867 Births, 1961 Deaths, Inventors
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

William Elvis Sloan

William Elvis Sloan I (1867–1961) invented the Flushometer flushing mechanism, which is installed in millions of commercial, institutional and industrial restrooms worldwide.[1][2]


He was born in Liberty, Missouri.[2] In 1906, he founded Sloan Valve Company, which is now headquartered in Franklin Park, Illinois. With the exception of a period of time in the 1940s and early 1950s, Sloan Valve has been under the leadership of W.E. Sloan’s descendants. He had a grandson William Elvis Sloan II (1941–2001).[3] He died in 1961.


His invention, the Royal Flushometer, is a diaphragm-type valve which was the original product of Sloan Valve Co.[4] The valve’s fundamental hydraulic design and its working principle have not changed. Flushometer valves use pressure from the water supply system rather than the force of gravity to discharge water into the bowl of toilets and urinals. A topmost diaphragm separates a pressure chamber from the main water supply. A narrow passageway leads from the main water supply into the pressure chamber. It is the narrowness of this passage that meters the flow by slowing repressurizing of the pressure chamber after the action of a flush. The diaphragm technology allows the flush valve to open and let water into the bowl. A main cylinder valve operates up and down. A groove in this cylinder allows water from the main supply to flow through when it is in a mid position. The valve is shut off at both its top and bottom positions. A second valve, placed within the main cylinder valve, releases the water in the topmost pressure chamber when the flush lever is activated, sending the main cylinder valve shooting upwards. The topmost pressure chamber slowly refills through its narrow passageway, pushing the valve cylinder back down gradually. A flush occurs while it is in its open mid positions. Because the water is gradually shut off, slower water at the end of the cycle that will not activate the siphon serves to refill the bowl.

The valve cannot be kept open by holding the flush lever in the activated position, wasting water, because this only sends the main cylinder valve all the way up to its topmost shutoff position. A flush can only occur when the valve is in one of its mid positions.


  1. ^ "Sloan Valve continues to build on strong foundation". The Wholesaler. Retrieved 2009-08-04. Early in his career, Sloan was an apprentice pipe fitter in his native Missouri before moving to Chicago and working as a foreman, superintendent and, later, an independent contractor. His experiences and self-study led Sloan to a lifelong interest in inventing — over his lifetime, Sloan was credited with 64 inventions. 
  2. ^ a b "William Elvis Sloan (1867-1961)".  
  3. ^ "William Elvis Sloan II, 60".  
  4. ^ US 977562, Sloan, William, "Valve", issued December 6, 1910 
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