Lodi High School was not prepared for what rolled onto campus Friday morning. At first glance, it looks like any other toilet. But unlike a normal commode, this one has wheels, handlebars and a motor that can propel it up to 20 miles per hour.
"It got a lot of stares," said Zechariah Hogarth, 15, the sophomore who built the motorized toilet over the two-week break. He said the best part was seeing it actually run.
Hogarth thought up his creation after teacher John Stroh gave his world history class an assignment to invent something. After tossing ideas around with his mom, Melissa Hogarth, he settled on creating a vehicle of sorts, using the toilet in his grandfather's garage.
The class studies Napoleon Bonaparte and Attila the Hun. Why not Hogarth and his driveable toilet?
Lodi Auto Wrecking donated a starter after Hogarth walked in to tell them about his idea. Hogarth's dad helped by providing the circuitry and tension lines. Some spare wood around the house turned into the base, then it got a coat of light green paint. After a fierce scrubbing, the throne was mounted on top. An old set of bicycle handlebars was secured to a pole and connected to the axles for steering. The toilet tank serves as a handy toolbox.
The final cost was only $30 for the axles, bearings and plastic wheels.
Hogarth was a little nervous to bring his invention to school.
"He thought he was going to be in trouble," said Melissa Hogarth. Instead, he had a very busy day wheeling the contraption around to all the different classrooms that wanted to see it in action.
One student offered to buy it, but Hogarth said no, thanks. After all that work, he just couldn't see it go.
Sadly, the little cart didn't quite make it through the day.
"We hit a pothole earlier, so the wheels are a little warped," said Hogarth with a shrug.
When Hogarth tried to start it up after school, the belt slipped off and the motor puttered to a halt. That's OK. Now the inventive young man has something to tinker with.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.