Destroilet patent illustration Frank J La Mere 1963 - The Destroilet Incinerating Toilet
History of incinerating toilets, the Destroilet by LaMere, Its Features & Performanc

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Destroilet Incinerating toilet from LaMere:

The Destroilet, designed by Frank LaMere is described as the first commercially successful incinerating toilet. Here is a history of the Destroilet, a description of its features, and more information about this incinerating toilet design.

This article series describes the brands, properties, installation, and maintenance of incinerating toilets - a waterless system for onsite waste disposal where a septic system cannot be installed. Incinerating toilets use electricity or gas to produce heat which literally incinerates the waste. Here we list suppliers of incinerating toilets and compare models, features, and prices.

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Guide to the Destroilet Incinerating Toilet: where to buy, how to install, how to use, history of incinerating toilet designs

Destroilet incinerating toilet, Popular Mechanics December 1968 The Destroilet Incinerating Toilet from LaMere Industries

A little history of the Destroilet invented by Frank J. La Mere. The Destroilet was the first commercially successful incinerating toilet that saw widespread use as according to its inventor, Frank La Mere, earlier efforts were costly or otherwise difficult to keep working.

Reader Question: 1 Aug 2015 Dan Reilly said:

I'm involved in the restoration of a tug boat that moved barges of railcars on Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. In the Officers and Engineers quarters, their washroom had a "Destriolet" that incinerated wastes and was fed by diesel fuel lines that ran up from the engine room 2 decks below.

This tug was commissioned in 1948, is 90 feet long and about 22 feet wide. Do you know of any place I can get some information on this particular unit. I believe they are not made any more. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Dan Reilly, Okanagan Historical Society, Penticton Branch. Penticton, BC


Dan, the Destroilet was probably added to your tug in the late 1960's when marine sanitation laws in North America began to prohibit the discharge of raw sewage into waterways. More about some interesting marine toilets can be found at MARINE TOILETS. We did some more research including patent history for the Destroilet, from which I will cite below.

Frank J. La Mere's first patent related to toilets was issued on October 8, 1946 and describes a water closet ventilation system that was operated by the seat of the water closet itself.

It would appear that the "Destoilet" developed much later but had its origins in La Mere's earlier work on ventilating systems for toilets.

La Mere's Destroilet patents issued in the 1960's described an incinerator and disposal unit for human waste, first filed on 13 July 1961 Serial Number 123,784 and filing date July 13, 1961, now Patent No. 3,103,017 and on 10 December 1962 La Mere filed a patent improving on the original destroilet , "Incinerator and disposal unit for human waste US 3230913 A" granted 25 January 1966.

That the Destroilet was still in popular use in 1978 is evidenced by Lee Oertle's "Plan A Head", New boat laws may force you to change your marine toilet. Here's a rundown on the four basic sanitation systems now available", an article in the December 1988 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine.

Oertle's article described several toilet systems that might be suitable for marine application including the Corlon Commander recirculating toilet unit, Koehler-Dayton macerator-chlorinating toilet, the Raritan chlorinator flush unit, the Raritan Crown Head sewage grinder/chlorinator toilet, and the "Destroilet" described as a "self contained incinerating combustion unit operating on LP gas and electricity."

Below are some of the Destroilet illustrations from Mr. La Mere's original 1961 patent filing. I have a personal affection for these illustrations of the Destroilet incinerating toilet as they were actually registered with the U.S. patent office on 10 September 1963, my tenth birthday. [DF]

[Click to enlarge any image]

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a disposal unit constructed in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 taken along a generally vertical plane centrally of the device;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view or" the apparatus of FIG. 1 taken along a horizontal plane indicated at 3-3 in FIG. 2;

Destroilet patent illustration Frank J La Mere 1963 - Destroilet patent illustration Frank J La Mere 1963 - Destroilet patent illustration Frank J La Mere 1963 -

Excerpts from the La Mere U.S. patent US 3103017 A for his incinerating toilet published in 1963,

The disposal of human waste material presents increasing problems at the present time due to rapid expansion of population, Water shortages in many areas, and the necessity of disposing of human waste material while avoiding unsanitary conditions, pollution of water resources, etc.

These problems are particularly serious in many locations such as on boats and other vehicles, in camping and road work installations, etc., where economic or space limitations prevent the installation of conventional septic systems and the water supply and exhaust facilities normally associated therewith. in these serious locations, many types of chemical disposal units have been used heretofore, but these units have been very unsatisfactory from the standpoint of the user and the person who is required to service the unit periodically.

Some incinerator disposal units have been proposed for use in many of these locations, but they have achieved little success due to their inefficiency, their high cost, their requirements for objectionable maintenance, or their requirements for excessive amounts or" thermal insulation to prevent hazards of fire, etc.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of this invention to provide an incinerator disposal unit for human waste material which may be used in substantially all locafions and which possesses maximum efliciency in disposing of such material while producing a minimum odor in its exhaust and leaving a minimum amount of residual ash.

'It is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which will be inexpensive and simple to manufacture and which will require a minimum amount of thermal insulation surrounding it when it is installed.

it is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which is designed for efficient incineration of material and localization of areas of intense heat in the device.

It is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which is completely automatic in operation and which is reliable and trouble-free in use.

It is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which is extremely safe and prevents fire hazards from arising where it is used.

it is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which, while being automatic, may be used a plurality of times in sequence without requiring the completion of a cycle of automatic operation between uses.

It is another object of the invention to provide such a disposal unit which may be adjusted easily to adapt it to a variety of patterns of repetitive use and which may be manually adjusted to adapt it to any unusual single instance of use.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description read in conjunction with the attached drawings [given above].

By 1999 (or earlier) the Destroilet was no longer available and was commented upon by the US EPA in a study of incinterating toilets that we cite below. Curiously, Frank La Mere also invented a vegetable slicing machine.

Two of the six toilets used in the study were Incinolet brand units and the remaining four were Destroilet brand propane-fired toilets. Since the Destroilet is no longer on the market, and was significantly different in design from propane-fired toilets available today, findings related to the Destroilet are not relevant to this Fact Sheet.  - U.S. EPA (1999)

Patents can give helpful date ranges for when a product like the Destroilet incinerating toilet was produced and refined. See in particular the first three citation for LaMere.

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