I dedicate this blog post to Mr. Cohen, who's products I believe were ahead of their time. I think more people should know about the man who started it all.
Several years ago I stumbled upon www.bidets.com. It was that day that began my fascination with bidets. The more I read about bidets the more I wanted one. I thought the idea was brilliant. Bidets.com is owned by Arnold Cohen, and he is the original inventor of the bidet toilet seat. Over a year ago we had our first communication. I introduced myself and told him I was interested in his website and his products. Mr. Cohen owns numerous domains, and the one I wanted was www.bidet.org. Our talks went nowhere, so I left it several months and then I continued discussing some of his domains. The more I talked to Mr. Cohen the more I learned about the man, and his past is pretty amazing.
Arnold Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, and his family had money. By the time Cohen was 19 he had already established a successful advertising firm at a prestigious Fifth Avenue address, and he did have some help from his wealthy parents in order to achieve this. The gratitude and love that Arnold felt for his parents caused him to invent the American bidet system in the early 1960s. Cohen's father had a medical condition that caused pain in the rectal area, and Arnold wanted to make life easier for his beloved parent.
It took two years for Arnold Cohen to design the American bidet system, using odd parts and odds and ends to create a toilet seat which washed and dried the behind to help his father. The new seat also included a hose, which was very useful for colonic irrigation and douching, and a foot pedal for operation. When the device, originally named the American Sitzbath, was first available Cohen realized that few people wanted to discuss their bathroom needs. In 1964 Arnold patented his design and started marketing the innovative bidet product by using large ads and attending trade shows.
In 1964 Arnold Cohen started the American Bidet Company, but North America sales were few and far between. Many considered the topic vulgar, and few wanted to run the ads that Cohen produced. According to Arnold “I installed thousands of my seats all over the suburbs of New York, and we had offices all across the country. But advertising was a next-to-impossible challenge. Nobody wants to hear about Tushy Washing 101.”
Cohen did not let this attitude stop him. Since North America was not yet interested in the benefits that the American Sitzbath offered Arnold licensed his invention and patent to the Toto Company in Japan. The original American bidet model was upgraded by the company, and by 1989 the Washlet Sleek was introduced. Today bidets can be found in almost every home improvement store in the USA, with prices that are very affordable for typical consumers. Without Arnold Cohen and his incredible efforts to assist his father the bidet as Americans know it today would not have been possible, and this man has truly earned the title Bidet King extraordinaire.