A Brief History of Plumbing
It might seem like a modern convenience, but plumbing actually stretches way back into history, developing along the way into the important modern health and hygiene system we know today.
Back in 1700 BC, the first plumbing systems were created to dispose of sewage and provide for drainage – even a flush toilet existed! The Roman aqueducts of 312 BC carried on the trend, bringing clean water to Rome over a long distance.
Americans played a large role in the history of plumbing, using pipe systems in major cities as early as the 1600s. Boston was the first USA city with waterworks to be used by its fire fighters, and in the 1800s, Philadelphia did one better and installed a cast iron pipe system, cutting edge at the time. In 1854, Chicago joined the masses of people involved in modern plumbing, installing a major sewer system within the city. In 1869, the city installed a water tower, the first of its kind. In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I had the first flushing toilet in England. It wasn’t until 1775 that the first patent for the flushing toilet was received, however.
As these technological improvements were happening governments and organizations were starting to understand the impact of proper plumbing. In 1848 England passed the National Public Health Act which stipulated the importance of safe water, and in 1868, New York’s board of health was formed and quickly discovered the ill effects of contaminated water.
People began installing water heaters and water closets in their homes, while water treatment systems came into effect to reduce contamination in drinking water. Plumbing improved with tank toilets, single handle faucets, and expanded clean water regulations over the next several decades.
These days, high efficiency, water conservation, and clean and careful consumption is on the forefront of people’s minds, both for consumers and innovators.