It’s standard with our homes that there is indoor plumbing. But have you ever thought about what indoor plumbing was like in years gone by and in ancient times?
Like all of our modern conveniences, they started somewhere as an innovative idea and evolved over time.
Here is a brief snapshot of the history of indoor plumbing.
It all Started….
Believe it or not, the first indoor plumbing was discovered in ruins of a palace in India, with water pipes that were dated about 4000 – 3000 B.C.
Not too long afterward, in 1500 – 1000 B.C., the people of Crete developed sewage and drainage systems. What was most significant about this is that they were located underground.
This era also holds claim to the first flushing toilet, although there is speculation that there was a rudimentary toilet in a Neolithic village in the UK, which actually dated back 1200 years prior.
While indoor plumbing has continued to evolve for hundreds and hundreds of years, the Egyptian and Roman influences are considered the most significant, both for their innovation and for the intricacy of their design.
The Egyptians built bathrooms right into the pyramids and were ornate, given the living conditions of the era. They also built bathrooms in their tombs because they believed that the dead required the same standards that the living did, including food and bathrooms.
The Romans fashioned a complex system of aqueducts over many years. These aqueducts moved water with gravity and flowed into public and private bathhouses and other areas too. They are also accredited with constructed many of the first plumbing fixtures out of marble. The Romans also constructed underground sewage and drainage systems.
Marie Antoinette Didn’t Have Indoor Plumbing
Indoor plumbing was a luxury for many years, right? Wouldn’t you expect that a stunning palace like Versailles to be outfitted with something state of the art like indoor plumbing?
The court at Versailles was comprised of thousands of people, so not having indoor plumbing provided a pretty serious problem. People used the gardens and even hallways to relieve themselves.
Others had private commodes, which were emptied into communal courtyards, which, as you can imagine, created quite a bad odor. There is speculation that this is why Marie Antoinette was so enamored with floral fragrance and perfume.
Modern Advances Today
While plumbing has evolved in the last century or so to become standard in most houses, its function remains largely the same. With the constraints of water supply in the world, coupled with the high costs of household bills, indoor plumbing has had to evolve to meet those demands.
If you’ve got older plumbing fixtures, you may even want to consider upgrading to some of the newest designs that feature energy-efficient benefits. Low flow showerheads, motion-sensor faucets, and dual flush toilets use far less water. Tankless water heaters work on-demand, which reduces water and energy waste.