In our previous blog, Copper pipes and pyramids, Bosman Plumbing shared some interesting facts about the history and workings of sanitation and water relocation from the past. We have followed the journey through the Bronze and early Iron Ages, ancient Greece, the Roman empires as far back as the Jezreel Valley located in what is today known as Israel with hand-dug wells dated 6500BC.
Modern sanitation we have today has roots dating back as far as 6500BC. We overlook the amenities in the bathroom and kitchen we use 5 or 6 times a day. But the luxury of today advanced in leaps and bounds over the past 200 years.
Noteworthy advances can be dated chronologically, with the first as far back as 1596 – First flushing toilet (aka ‘The John’) created by Sir John Harington, godson of Queen Elizabeth I.
In the Mid-1600s – America’s first citywide water system was built in Boston. The waterworks on “Conduit” was mainly for domestic use but also purposed for fighting fires. Later in 1795, New York used the same hollow log system, but in addition, these pipes would be drilled into and then plugged up after use, creating the term “fireplug” used today.
In 1664 King Louis XIV of France constructed the first cast-iron water main and extended 15 miles from Marly-on-Seine to the palace at Versailles. This system was used for more than 330 years.
Jump another 100 years, and we saw the first “English Regency shower” manufacturer William Feetham in 1767.
Nearly 200 years after our first “John”, a Scottish inventor designed the prototype for the modern toilet.
From 1804 onward, we see our basic system grow, from the first cast iron pipes to the first commercially available toilet paper. In 1870 the first ceramic flushing toilet and water heater were invented by British pottery manufacturer Thomas William Twyford. Around the same time, water heaters appeared, improving cooking, cleaning, and bathing in the home.
Later in the 1950s, the first non-metallic pipes for plumbing were introduced. These first polyvinyl chlorides (PVC) water pipes were laid due to their relative stability and low cost, and metal shortages during World War II.
What an interesting journey plumbing and sanitation has taken.
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