A Concise History of Bathing

Early plumbing systems date as far back as 2200BC when the first copper water pipes were discovered buried beneath somewhere in the Indus River Valley in India. The first personal bath tub, a five feet long pedestal tub made of hardened pottery, was found on the Isle of Crete. The bath tub is regarded as the forefather of the classic 19th century claw-foot bath tub.

Advances in bathing became even more evident during the Roman Empire. Around 500 BC, Roman citizens were confident enough to bathe on a daily basis in one of the many public baths. Private bathing rooms were elaborately decorated, generally resembling shallow swimming pools that encompassed an entire room. The Romans set the standard for personal hygiene with the use of marble for bath tubs, lead and bronze for the pipes and a complex sewage system for sanitation purposes. For more on toilet review check this site.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, bathing and sanitation became a lost practice. In fact, in the Dark Ages, people took to using perfumes instead of taking baths. Instead of properly disposing of waste, contents of chamber pots were simply thrown out the nearest windows. As a result, the streets became a sort of a sewer system. Because of this, personal hygiene and health declined, ultimately leading to the Bubonic Plague that overwhelmed numerous cities in Europe. The plague caused the death of nearly a third to a half of every city’s population.

The plague prompted some governments to spend money and resources on improving waste management. However, the world did not adopt modern sanitation systems until the 19th century. In the 16th century, Sir John Harrington published a book describing his invention, the toilet. However, peers and those in the plumbing industry ridiculed him and his invention.

Sir John Harrington built only two toilets. The third toilet (and succeeding ones) only appeared two centuries later, with the introduction of the water secret by Alexander Cummings in 1775. This was the start of the age of the modern bathroom. During this time, piping finally caught up with the more modern bath room fixtures. Up until the19th century, pips were simply constructed from hollow trees.

In the 19th century, cast iron manufacture in the United States began in earnest, eliminating the need to import cast iron from England. In 1848, the National Public Health Act was passed in the United States, which meant that a plumbing code was established for the very first time.

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