Using the bathroom or washing utensils in the kitchen is not an unusual task for many of us, but have you ever pondered upon the fact that if there never was any plumbing system invented, how these daily mundane tasks would have been such a hassle? The history of plumbing is an ancient folk that may amuse a lot of us.
Through different turns of events, simple plumbing changed into the shape of the modern drainage system of our society. It’s somehow involved in everyone’s lives, it is worth noticing how and when the progression of plumbing happened. From its invention to modern art technology, this article covers all the aspects.
Ancient History of Plumbing:
Let’s go back in history to find out when was plumbing invented.
The idea of plumbing has existed for thousands of years. Back in 3000 B.C. archeologists discovered the first water pipes. After its discovery in the Indus River, India, Egyptians thought of it as a way to accompany the advancement of civilization. They created canals and irrigation ditches to keep the water flowing to all the areas. The Latin word “plumbus,” which means “lead,” is where the word plumbing actually originates. For the purpose of supplying people with running water, the Roman water systems used clay and lead pipes. This was the first step taken to create an effective water system by which people could water their crops or do house chores easily.
After the discovery of water pipes, it was a requirement to create a piping system. The concept of plumbing was invented because Egyptians thought that the dead should enjoy extravagant comfort even in after the afterlife, so they made copper alloy pipes to install them in pyramids for the noble dead. The lead and clay pipes were transformed into copper pipes.
It was a time when King Minos had the reign, under his governance, the people of Crete had accomplished the creation of the first-ever flushing toilet with a wooden seat. A stone seat was put over a pipe-fed stream of flowing water in this toilet. The flushing motion might be performed with the use of a bucket or jug filled with water.
Around this time, the first drainage and sewage system saw the light of the day. The efficient engineers of Crete made a drainage system that would lead to washrooms, manholes, and sinks. Terra cotta was utilized for this purpose and this was the most progressive system of that time. Upon the king’s order, a terracotta pipeline was laid down under the floor of the palace so that the fountains and faucets of the palace could keep running effectively.
The idea of a shower was made up in 710 B.C. when Sargon the Great, an Assyrian king asked his slaves to pour the water over him while he was taking a bath, this gave the rough idea to create a showering system for the ease of people to bathe.
The engineers of ancient Rome are still given their due regard for creating the most impressive plumbing system in history. To bring water from the countryside into Rome, the Romans constructed aqueducts. These aqueducts once moved 57 kilometers of freshwater every day, or around 1.2 billion liters. The water was collected in tanks after it had traveled through the aqueducts, and then it was transferred to baths, fountains, and latrines via a network of pipelines.
Along with aqueducts, sewers, public baths, bronze and lead piping systems, and even marble fixtures, the Roman Empire created sophisticated ancient plumbing systems. Rome had an estimated 220 miles of aqueducts, pipes, and water channels that were used to serve baths, houses, and public wells in the year.
The Early Modern History:
About 500 years ago, somewhere around 1596 A.D. Sir John Harrington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I, designed the first flushing toilet for himself. Later on, upon orders he designed it for his grandmother in Richmond Palace. It was named “the John” and consisted of a flush valve that released the water from the tank.
French King Louis XIV commissioned the construction of a cast-iron water main that ran 15 miles from a pumping station at Marly-on-Seine to the palace at Versailles. For more than 330 years, the plumbing supplied the palace gardens and fountains.
Nearly 200 years after Sir John Harington created the first flushing toilet, Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming was granted the first patent for a very similar but improved invention that included a few significant upgrades. Harington’s toilet, which had failed to refill on its own or get rid of the foul odor, was improved by Cumming. Although Sir John Harrington’s toilet could flush, it lacked a water trap. The S trap in Cummings’ version allowed for some water to remain in the bowl by slipping between the bowl and the trap. As a result, the water no longer had a sewage smell, and the bowl was simple to clean.
The Modern Era:
Philadelphia was the first ever country that switch to cast irons for the usage of water delivery.
The Tremont Hotel in Boston became the first establishment of its sort to provide guests with indoor plumbing.
In 1833 A.D. the main floor of the white house was introduced to the luxury of the running floor. A complete plumbing system was installed later on.
Midway through the 1800s, Chicago finished building the Illinois and Michigan Canal and turned the trajectory of the Chicago River. The first city-wide sewer system was constructed by city engineers in 1855 to address the swampy conditions that kept making its residents ill.
Thomas Crapper simplified and improved the toilet by making a few design changes. Crapper invented the ground-breaking “U” shape trap that regulates sewer gas without the need for more intricate valves. The “S” bend shape, which tended to dry out and clog, was improved by his design.
The post-modern era is more smart and advanced with smart toilets that’ll require you to press buttons and it will do all the work itself. The drainage system in every country is far better than it could have ever been. By looking at ancient history, plumbing has taken many twists and turns to reach to its current progression. Now, clean water is transported with just the help of gravity and pressure. This progression could have never been possible without the discoveries and inventions of the past.