Indoor Plumbing History Information

Today’s advanced systems of flushing toilets, cold and hot running water, ingenious faucet systems and innovative drainages exist courtesy of a long history of indoor plumbing.

Thanks to these amenities, our lives at home, in school and at work are easier and more comfortable. It is therefore prudent to understand historical milestones that have shaped the plumbing industry.

Early History of Indoor Plumbing

The Roman, Persian, Greek, Indian, Chinese and Egyptian civilizations are the oldest places where plumbing has been documented. The word ‘plumbing’ is a derivative plumbum which is the Latin equivalent of lead, the material mostly used in the construction of water pipes in ancient Rome.

Crete Island off Greece’s coast was home to perhaps the earliest instance of plumbing. The Minoan Civilization around 2700 BC developed networked systems to convey water for sanitation and to drain wastewater. The people used natural gradations of their land’s terrain to direct water with little if any artificial additions.

Roman and Egyptian Advances

A historic plumbing climax was witnessed in ancient Rome with workers using large aqueduct systems, wastewater removal systems made of tiles and massive utilization of lead pipes.

Ancient engineers discovered the need for systems to provide public baths with water and to remove wastewater from their dwellings.

They discovered lead as the most appropriate material because it is highly malleable to the desired shapes and sizes. Asphalt was used in joints to prevent leaks, especially in urban townships.

The fact that these two natural elements do not dissolve in water heightened the purity of drinking and cooking water.By 52 AD, plumbing had become a common phenomenon in Rome with the city being serviced by 220 miles of aqueducts. Latrines, public baths, and fountains were fed by these systems. Interestingly, the Cloaca Maxima and other sewerage systems built by ancient Roman plumbers are still in place today.

Latrines, public baths, and fountains were fed by these systems. Interestingly, the Cloaca Maxima and other sewerage systems built by ancient Roman plumbers are still in place today. Ancient Egyptian families stored rainwater for bathing, cleaning and cooking in earthen pots and tanks. Later, skillful construction workers developed clay pipes for drawing water from River Nile and into smaller reservoirs made in the ground. Clay pipes would then supply water to homes.

Clay pipes would then supply water to homes. Similar pipes withdrew sewage from homes to underground tanks. In Egypt today, museums curate marvelous ancient stone-carved baths with drains and sides artistically plastered for durability and functionality.

These systems were later replaced with copper pipes, leading water more conveniently to their desired points of use. Archeologists and historians have discovered numerous and sometimes sophisticated plumbing systems in ancient Egyptian cities and towns.

Modern Plumbing Advances

By 1900, the headache of sewer management in North America and Canada had been solved. Modern plumbing advances in homes and hospitality establishments introduced plumbing pumps that elevate water to high floors.

Today’s indoor plumbing allows people to use and dispose of water as they please. Our modern neighborhoods such as North York, Ontario boast of highly sophisticated systems such as movable and hand-held showerheads for people’s convenience.

The market in Ontario today is flooded with sophisticated self-cleaning toilets that eliminate the need for maintenance and labor. Bluetooth-enabled showers are now commonplace.

Modern advances have toilets that come with sinks to drain hand-washing water into the toilet’s water closet. You can even switch a shower on and off by a voice command. These unprecedented systems add to the quality of life in homes, schools, hospitals and hotels.