A brief history of plumbing

History of PlumbingWe all rely on plumbing for so many aspects of our everyday lives however very few of us understand how it works or how the technology we take for granted has evolved over the years.

Plumbing has gone through a wide variety of revolutions from wells, to water closets, public toilets, and chamber pots. Let’s explore some of these and see how plumbing has grown to where it is today.

In around 10,000BC humans started to use wells to collect their water. They would take their water home in vessels and this practice is still commonplace in many countries throughout the world today. It really has stood the test of time.

Fast forward a few years to 2000BC and the worlds first water closet was developed in India. This water closet had a pot of water which would be used to wash waste through pipes, into drains that were located under the streets.

Around this time we also have the first documented attempts to treat drinking water.

Moving forward to 691BC the Greeks developed the first known aqueduct, which was 34 miles long in Assyria.

In Greece around 500BC Hippocrates invented the worlds first known water filter using a cloth bag.

At 300BC we have the first Roman acqueducts placed 50 feet underground.

Just a few hundred years in 315AD later Rome had nearly 150 public toilets where everyone shared a sponge attached to wooden handle rather than the toilet paper we are used to!

During Medieval times chamber pots wer common place as were open drains in the streets through which sewage would flow.

Around 1600 we have the advent of the first flush toilet invented by Sir John Harrington.

In the 1700s washboards were created to clean clothes.

By the 1800s many large cities had pipe systems for personal use in homes.

The worlds first municipal water treatment plant was built around 1804 in Scotland to treat water for homes.

A cholera epidemic was caused in the 1830s when sewer systems became widespread but opened into local rivers.

The Brahmah was created in 1870 by Thomas Twyford. The Brahmah was a step toward a one piece toilet.

1880 saw the creation of the chain-pull on toilets in England.

By 1890 flush toilets were introduced but were not common until the 1920’s.

By the early 1900s processes were in place to soften water.

In the 1980s the worlds first sensor-flush toilet had been invented in Japan.

Today we have more portable, efficient toilets. As for the future of plumbing…where do you think it will go?

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