Go Back

Indoor Plumbing History Tidbits


It’s difficult to imagine a modern life without indoor plumbing, right? Even if you’re living off the grid, it is important to have a form of water treatment in place.

This was the case even in the ancient days. Although our ancestors did not have the modern conveniences that we do, they did have sewage systems, running water, and toilets.

History of Plumbing

Plumbing systems have been in existence as long as humans have, and there’s evidence to support that. The first plumbing system dates back to the Neolithic era.

Around 6500 BC. People were digging permanents wells as a source of fresh water. Archaeologists discovered evidence of indoor latrines in Skara Brae as well as 2-channel systems for bringing in water and disposing of wastewater.

Archaeologists discovered copper water pipes dating to 3000 BC, in the Indus River Valley of India. Copper pipes have appeared in cultures throughout Greece, Egypt, and Babylon under Hammurabi law.

Roman Plumbing Innovations

The ancient Romans could be referred to as modern innovators. They not only had flushing toilets and baths in their homes, but they also had a comprehensive sewer system and public latrines.

Rome had plenty of aqueducts which supplied water within the city. Wastewater was drained into the Cloaca Maxima, which refers to the largest sewer.

Nevertheless, their plumbing systems were not quite efficient, as they had thought. Linking the toilets to the public sewer system would have invited rodents into the house.

Also, they never considered the danger that the waste in the sewers paused. Despite these drawbacks, Roman and Egyptian advances were excellent examples to the rest of the world.

When the Roman Empire collapsed during the 5th century, these plumbing methods were lost. Europe used outhouses and chamber pots instead of plumbing systems. This led to diseases like typhoid, cholera, and plague.

Modern Plumbing Advances

Plumbing and sanitation systems have greatly improved since 1855 when the first sewer system was built in Chicago. High tank water closets were introduced in the 1880s, tank toilets in the 1920s and the single handle mixing faucet in 1937.

The shower valve was later introduced in 1939. All these new systems required specialized knowledge to install, and this led to the formation of the National Association of Master Plumbers in 1883.

Today, you can find new technology and qualified plumbers IN Sydney, NSW to install and make the necessary repairs. Most homes are equipped with running water and indoor plumbing. Manufacturers have moved from copper to plastic when designing plumbing material. You can now find energy and water efficient faucets and showerheads.

Plumbing has advanced over the years. Future inventions are likely to be centered on efficiency and water conservation.