These days, we know how important it is to be clean. It is just important for physical well-being (bacteria and all) but social wellbeing as well. After all, no one wants to be the smelly friend. No one wants to be the smelly coworker. When you start your day, hop in the shower and clean yourself up. It’s a ritual we all do! But was it always like this? Have we always taken baths and showers or is this a trend that has changed through the ages? Let’s find out!
As we have discussed in previous blogs, the Greeks were centuries ahead of their time when it came to bathing, showering, and overall cleanliness. In fact, the Geeks were the first group of people in Western Civilization to invent showers! They used aqueducts and lead pipes to pump water into large communal showering areas. They may not have had privacy figured out yet, but at least they were clean!
The Birth of the Modern Shower
After the Greeks and Romans, showers disappeared for several hundred years. They started reappearing again in the late 18th century when the first hand-pumped mechanical shower was patented by William Feetham of England in 1767. The only problem with this shower is that it required someone constantly manning the hand pump.
In the 1870s, the French Army made a commitment to hygiene and installed the first independent modern showers in a few army barracks. These showers replaced preexisting paths which Francois Merry Delabost, a French inventor, and doctor, were less hygienic and less economical than the newly invent showers.
In the United States, showers are now considered essential, but this wasn’t always true. As early as the 1960s, homes more commonly had baths than showers. Times sure have changed.