I gave it to a woman to test it yesterday, and when we showed it to her she started laughing and dancing around. People laugh, but then they say, ‘That's a really good idea.'”
What product inspires this kind of delight in its public? The Big John Toilet Seat. “It's an idea whose time has come,” says Aitan Levy. The Big John is the brainchild of Levy, a veteran of the plumbing industry who made a name for himself crafting high-end plumbing fixtures for hotels and custom homes. He found that many of his clients were in need of a little extra support when heeding the call of nature. “I thought it would be a great idea if someone made a bigger seat with a larger sitting surface for larger people.”
Levy crafted a wooden prototype after asking some of his larger customers what kind of issues they had with standard-sized toilet seats. He and partner Gary Morgan made more prototypes, and Morgan, whose background is in the film industry, had a casting agent send some appropriate test subjects in to check them out. Adjustments were made, and the Big John Toilet Seat was born.
The final model is constructed of anti-microbial plastic and is ergonomically contoured, with four more inches of sitting surface than that of conventional models. It also has a larger opening — 21/2 inches wider. The company promises that the seat, which is equipped with rubber “bumpers” that grip the porcelain, will fit any toilet bowl.
The Big John seat joins another bathroom product designed for the “growing” American population — the Great John Toilet. The two-piece toilet is ceramic tested to 2,000 pounds. The company is calling the new size “extra-elongated, extra wide.” The seat and bowl have more than six extra inches in the front, and the toilet's 17 1/2 inch height complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Levy agrees that you have to have a sense of humor when you're talking about big toilets. Even the company's PR agency embraces it, with lines like “Big bottoms were being rear-ended” in their press release.
Levy says that sales have been growing steadily since the product debuted — and financial rewards aren't the only accolade. “I just got off the phone with somebody thanking me for making the product. We get a lot of calls like that, because large people have to be so careful. Now they can sit with confidence.”