It’s not exactly a topic to bring up during Sunday brunch, but somebody has to do it – we’re talking about the history of plumbing!
It’s a topic that’s often overlooked but pretty interesting. Without further ado, let’s dive into the murky (but necessary) world of plumbing!
The Ancient Egyptians used early plumbing to transport water from one place to another. They used rudimentary plumbing systems made of clay and later copper pipes to deliver water to their homes and businesses. They dug wells as deep as 300 feet, which we know because these plumbing features were installed in pyramids!
The Ancient Romans are credited with many of the early innovations in plumbing. They created a system of aqueducts that transported water from nearby rivers and lakes into the city of Rome. This allowed them to have access to clean drinking water. They also heated water using wood furnaces. The big problem, however, was that their bathrooms (20 seats in a room!) would have water running underneath the floors, and although this was intended to be a sewer, it still ended up infecting the clean water supply.
OK, we promise to be less gross from here on.
Sir John Harington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I, is credited with inventing the first flushable toilet. It was installed in one of the queen’s residences and worked quite well! However, Queen Elizabeth was too scared to use it because it made deafening noises when it flushed!
Past the 1600s and into the 1700s, the first-ever city water system was created in Boston. The city installed water lines, with many pipes made from hollowed-out tree logs! How inventive! But still not very modern.
In the 1800s, more modern plumbing innovations were made, such as developing showers and tubs, public water mains, and the first city-wide sewer system in Chicago in 1865. World War II created a scarcity of metals, which led to the development of plastic pipes – and we’ve been using them ever since!
That brings us to today! Plumbing has come a long way since the early days, and we now have access to clean water and safe sewage systems. Here in Phoenix, 1.7 million customers are now served by the City of Phoenix Water Services Department! The only problem is the drought caused by the drain on the Colorado River, where we get most of our water. However, Parker & Sons offers efficient plumbing fixture installations to help you save water in your home.