Learn Info About the History of Indoor Plumbing

When you think about your bathroom, you probably think about colors, finishes and style of your plumbing fixtures. But have you ever paused to think about what indoor plumbing was like years and years ago? Indoor plumbing has actually been a fixture in homes for thousands of years.

Indoor plumbing has actually been a fixture in homes for thousands of years. It’s interesting to learn about where plumbing started and to follow its evolution to the current form that we see today in Mesa, AZ.

The Very Early History of Plumbing

The earliest known piping dates back to about 3000 B.C. in the Indus Valley Civilization (today known as India). A network of earthenware pipes serviced buildings that had drains and wells. The bathrooms even had septic tanks.

A few centuries later in about 1500 – 1000 B.C., underground sewage and drainage systems were built in Crete. They are also credited with the first flushing toilet (although some believe that this invention happened about 1200 years prior in a Neolithic village in the UK).

Roman and Egyptian Advances

The Egyptians built bathrooms in their pyramids that that had irrigation and drainage systems. They had latrines that flushed with buckets of water, moving the waste down through pipes. They also built these bathrooms into the tombs.

This was done so that the dead would have the same comforts that they had while they were alive. The Romans built a complex system of aqueducts to carry fresh water to their famous bathhouses. The water moved using gravity and was heated by furnaces.

The bathhouses also featured steam rooms, which was state of the art for the era. The Romans were pioneers with piping material, switching to lead, which improved sanitary conditions a great deal.

Indoor Plumbing Continues to Evolve

Over the centuries, plumbing systems became more intricate and more common in households. However, one of the grandest “households” of all time- Marie Antoinette’s Versailles- didn’t have any indoor toilets, despite having a main sewer line installed in the palace. Not having toilets was a problem, as there were thousands of people on any given day in the palace.

The aristocracy used commodes, which were emptied collectively into the courtyards, which was not only smelly, but also created a vermin problem. For everyone else, they had to relieve themselves wherever they could, and that included in the gardens and in the hallways of the palace.

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Plumbing Technology Today

Our plumbing these days isn’t just about convenience. Given the high costs of water bills and the growing water crisis, our plumbing needs to be efficient in terms of how water is used.

One recent advance is the tankless water heater, which greatly reduced water waste, as well as energy and water bills, because you are using water “on-demand.” Eco-friendly plumbing fixtures also go far to reduce your water footprint, like dual flush toilets and low-flow showerheads.