Today’s Modern Plumbing Has a Rich History

Modern plumbing is nothing short of a miracle. With a simple turn of a knob or press of a lever, germs from your hand and body are sent down the drain leaving your bathroom clean and healthy. Mac Plumbing offers you a brief history of plumbing.

4000 BC – Prehistoric Plumbing

  • The earliest water pipes were created out of baked clay and straw around 4000 – 3000 BC.
  • The first sewers were discovered in what is today modern-day Pakistan and India.

2500 BC – First Copper Pipes

  • The Ancient Egyptians developed early piping systems and devised techniques to create copper alloys in 2500 BC.
  • They made and used copper tools and pipes for their irrigation systems. They dug wells as deep as 300 feet and invented the water wheel.
  • In 1994, archaeologists discovered a copper plumbing and drainage system in the pyramids that dated back to 2500 BC.

500 BC – Roman Plumbing Systems

  • During this time, the Romans improved these basic plumbing structures, developing extensive systems that carried water and are regarded as the models for the sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and drains we use today.
  • Ancient Romans were the first to build channels carrying water from the mountains to the city, which distributed water underground with lead lines.
  • Public bathrooms had many seats in a single room while water ran beneath the room and carried waste to the nearest sewer. Unfortunately, the waste caused outbreaks and diseases.
  • Tragically, Ancient Romans built their systems with lead piping, which contained toxins and caused numerous deaths. Learn more about lead poisoning deaths.

1596 – First Flushing Toilet (aka “The John”)

1775 – Prototype for the Modern Toilet

  • Almost 200 years after Sir John Harington’s invention, Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming improved the device, creating a few crucial additions.
  • Cumming’s prototype featured a device that linked the water inlet valve to the flush mechanism. This inlet valve allowed the pan to be emptied and refilled, which eliminated the horrible smell left by Harington’s invention.

More fun facts about toilets:

  • More toilets in the U.S. are flushed during the Super Bowl halftime than any other time during the year.
  • The average person spends three years of their life sitting on the toilet.
  • Americans use an average of 8-9 squares of toilet paper per bathroom visit and an average of 57 squares per day.
  • Statistically, the first stall in a public restroom is the cleanest, because it is used the least.
  • The most expensive toilet in history is the one on the International Space Station, which cost $19 million.

We hope you enjoyed this brief history of plumbing. So, how is your toilet running? If you find yourself with plumbing problems, contact Mac Plumbing here or call us at (931) 552-5555.