The History of Plumbing

Out of all the modern amenities we can enjoy today, perhaps one of the greatest is modern plumbing. Without even thinking, we turn on a faucet expecting water on demand at a specific temperature. We flush the toilet without a care, and we think nothing of taking long, hot showers. We just expect that it will flow down the drain and out of the house – and we never have to think about it again.

However, there was a time when none of these luxuries were available. Modern plumbing is the result of a long history of technological advancement. During ancient times, plumbing systems ran water or waste products through pipes with the help of gravity. Today, rather than relying on gravity as much, we have the luxury of pumping technology. Water runs from wells or other outside locations and is pumped with high pressure to the parts of our buildings with faucets or other fixtures. We never really even think about it. However, we weren’t the first civilizations to have extensive plumbing systems. Although they weren’t quite as sophisticated as ours, some ancient civilizations had some pretty impressive plumbing techniques.

  • In 4000-3000 BC, the first known evidence of plumbing took place in India when archaeologists found copper water pipes in palace ruins.
  • As early as 2500 BC, the Egyptians were building elaborate bathrooms.
  • In 500 BC, extensive underground sewer systems, public and private baths, and lead and bronze water piping systems became a distinguishing technological advancement of Ancient Rome.

When we think of the greatest technological advancements of all time, we tend to forget about plumbing. But, it really is an extraordinary advancement. It brings life-giving water and prevents deadly health issues. As time goes on, our plumbing continues to become cleaner, more efficient, and even more decorative. Today, we can enjoy so many plumbing luxuries from kitchen sinks to jetted bathtubs and hot tubs, to no-dig pipe repairs and so much more. We tend to take plumbing for granted, but can you imagine a world without it?!