When Did Indoor Plumbing First Appear

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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A Quick Overview of Indoor Plumbing

Indoor plumbing has only been around for a short time. You couldn’t summon a professional plumber to your house a century ago since you were lucky if you had a water closet, let alone a functional toilet and pipes. Plumbing in various forms has existed for thousands of years, although it was not prevalent in American homes until the twentieth century now it’s a common thing everywhere including Salt Lake City.

The First toilet

Queen Elizabeth 1 was terrified of the toilet that her godson designed for her and refused to use it!

As far as plumbing fixtures go, it’s hardly surprising that toilets were among the first to be developed. Between 1500 and 1000 B.C.,  invented the first flushing toilet in Crete, where inhabitants developed sophisticated underground sewage and drainage systems. Egyptian tombs often contained baths and other plumbing systems. Another toilet, dated between 200 B.C. and 25 A.D., was discovered in a Chinese tomb for a Western Han Dynasty monarch.

However, most people in medieval times utilized chamber pots and disposed of their excrement in the open (sometimes just out of a window). For his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir John Harrington invented a flush toilet in 1596. According to legend, Queen Elizabeth avoided using the toilet because she was afraid of the noises. Alexander Cummings got the first patent for a flushing toilet from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1775.

Toilet Paper

It wasn’t until 1850 that toilet paper was invented. Before toilet paper was invented, people used maize cobs or magazines to wipe themselves after using the bathroom. The Farmers Almanac included a hole in it to hang on a bathroom hook. Joseph Gayetty created the first commercially produced toilet paper in 1857. Although it occasionally contained splinters, Edward, Clarence, and Thomas Scott manufactured and distributed toilet paper in the 1860s. Ouch! Companies offering “splinter-free” toilet paper introduced two-ply toilet paper in the 1930s.

Indoor Plumbing’s Integration

Until the 1800s, people realized the link between lousy hygiene and sickness. Indoor plumbing was only available in the homes of the wealthy until the 1840s. In 1829, however, Isaiah Rogers constructed eight water closets in Boston’s Tremont Hotel, making it the first hotel to utilize indoor plumbing. On the main level of the White House in 1833, flowing water was installed.The Chicago cholera outbreak of 1885 is one of the most renowned urban legends surrounding the invention of indoor plumbing.

A big storm in 1885, according to legend, drove sewage and other garbage from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan. The people got their drinking water from Lake Michigan, and legend has it that the poisoning killed nearly 90,000 people. In reaction to the massive loss of life, the city of Chicago founded the Chicago Sanitary District. However, this is not the case. The Sanitary District of Chicago was formed in 1889, but not in response to a severe outbreak. According to government statistics, an attack in 1849 killed 678 individuals, while another explosion killed nearly 1500 people five years later.

These figures, however, are far from the claimed 90,000 deaths, which would have accounted for about 12% of Chicago’s population at the time. This myth has been repeated time and time, most recently by the Chicago Tribune in 2004. The Chicago Tribune published a retraction in 2005 about reporting 80,000 to 90,000 deaths from aquatic infections in the late 1800s.

Plumbing in the 20th century

By the mid-1930s, legislators and medical professionals had concluded that clean plumbing was essential for public health: hygiene norms and plumbing codes aided in installing hygienic systems across the country. Alfred Moen designed the single-handle tap in 1937. After repeatedly burning his hands with the hot water from his two-handle faucet, Moen saw the need for a single-handle mixer tap, which he created and is still in use today. Due to wartime constraints on iron, steel, and copper, American businesses adapted in the 1940s.

As a result of the restrictions, cast iron and plastics were introduced into the manufacturing business, resulting in better plumbing materials. While most homes had indoor plumbing by the early to mid-twentieth century, some families didn’t have it until the 1960s!

The First shower

Showers are a relatively new invention. Showers have existed in various forms since Ancient Greece when the Greeks invented a forerunner to modern showers that sprayed the bather with water. Bathing was a method for ancient Romans to interact in public bathhouses. People paid to bathe at the town bathhouse in the Middle Ages. In 1767, an Englishman named William Feetham invented the first mechanical shower. The method functioned by pushing water into a bucket above a person’s head using a pump.

The user might then pull a chain to release the water all over them. However, this mechanical shower did not become popular because there was no means to pipe hot water into the system, and cold showers were unpleasant. Showers grew more popular with indoor plumbing and eventually evolved into the contemporary showers we use today.

The First Fountains of Water

Over the last century or so, drinking fountains have evolved. Early in the 20th Century, Halsey Taylor and Luther Haws designed the contemporary drinking fountain. After his father died of typhoid sickness caused by polluted water, Halsey Willard Taylor created a drinking water fountain. Haws, on the other hand, was a California plumber and contractor. After watching youngsters drinking water from the same tin cup linked to a faucet at school, he created his version of a drinking water fountain. He was concerned that sharing drinking water in this manner might result in a public health issue.

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