January 16, 2017
Last month we talked about our resolutions for the coming new year. Well, we’re a month deep into 2017, and we thought it might be fun to take a look back at plumbing through the ages. We mean way back. Like ‘6,000 years ago’ back. That’s right; it’s time for History with your favorite HVAC (and Plumbing and Electrical) guys! In November we talked about the History of the Toilet, now it's time to go bigger!
In ancient times, human settlements and civilizations could only develop nearby naturally occurring water sources. The development of systems to gather water and divert them to large communities allowed for the spread of humanity. Civilizations such as the Indus Valley Civilization shows some of the earliest evidence of public water sanitation systems. They contain the earliest known system of flush toilets, and most houses in the settlements had their own private wells.
Neolithic villages such as Skara Brae have wastewater systems dating back to 3180 BC.
In the Bronze Age, Babylonians created clay sewer pipes, circa 4000 BC, the earliest examples of which are found in the Temple of Bel.
Or so it would seem. With all the other marvels of engineering Rome, such as the Cloaca Maxima, they utilized indoor plumbing. Systems of aqueducts and lead pipes transported water (57 miles!) across the empire and ended in homes, public fountains, and well. While we wouldn’t recommend anyone to use lead pipes, the risk for the Romans was mitigated by several factors.
In addition to water-supply technology, the dynasties of ancient China also had sewer systems, existing in various cities across the country.
For as long as there has been civilization and human settlements, the work of plumbers has been needed. While we might not have lead pipes and no longer need to go to our own personal wells, the systems in place always need maintenance, and for that, we’re here! This was just a dip of the toe into the river of plumbing history past. Perhaps we’ll go deeper (or more recent as the case may be) next time. For now, don’t let your utilities and comfort go the way of the past and crumble to dust. Keep on the regular maintenance, and we’ll make sure your waterways work for you!