Pivotal Moments in Plumbing History

History reveals that for the longest time, baths and toilets were reserved for the rich. But now, it would be absurd if homes in Columbus, IN didn’t have running water and other plumbing fixtures. We often take clean restroom facilities for granted, so it’s worth learning about all the trial and error that went into creating what we have today. Take a quick look at some of the inventions that paved the way for modern plumbing.

The world’s first water pipes

The earliest signs of plumbing date back to roughly 3500 B.C. in what’s known today as Pakistan and India. Mohenjo-daro was a town that drew their water source from wells and emptied waste into drains that lined the streets. Contrary to drainage systems invented centuries later, every single house in Mohenjo-daro had access to these water wells. They were constructed with masonry and don’t look too different from what you might see today.

Roman Empire drainage system

Modern plumbing wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the drainage systems of ancient Rome. The faucets, toilets and showers in your Columbus, IN home aren’t a far cry from the aqueducts that transported billions of liters of water into wealthy Roman households. Water from the countryside was stored in holding tanks until it was ready for use. Much like what we see nowadays, pipes connected these holding tanks to restroom facilities for instant access to fresh water.

Why toilets are called “the john”

You’ve probably wondered why people say they’re going to use “the john.” The answer is pretty straightforward—all the way back in 1596, a guy named Sir John Harington created the first flushing toilet—and it never would’ve happened if Queen Elizabeth I hadn’t banished him from the palace. Left to his own devices, Sir John built his very own home from the ground up, complete with a toilet design impressive enough to regain the queen’s approval.

A failed design for showers

Technically, the very first shower involved slaves dumping cold water on the heads of royalty around 710 B.C. Fast forward a couple thousand years through history to the English Regency shower patented by William Feetham. In 1767, he created a water tank that would dump water on a person’s head. The water collected in a basin, then a hand pump painstakingly carried the cold, soiled water back into the tank so you could repeat the process. The design wasn’t popular because it proved less efficient than asking someone to dowse you in water.

Public health breakthroughs

The plumbing systems currently in place aren’t due solely to technological advancements. Throughout history, people died from bacteria-related illnesses because no one realized bathrooms were a personal hygiene disaster. Entire civilizations felt the impact of lead poisoning and cholera before England in 1848 finally published the National Public Health Act. It served as a launch point for additional health codes all over the world and forever revolutionized hygiene.

Plumbing has come a long way and continuously changes as discoveries lead to better restroom facilities. Despite all these major breakthroughs, the pipes in our homes still have a tendency to break down. Contact the professionals at Barr Plumbing Service, Inc. in Columbus, IN to get your bathroom back up and running like normal.

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