Fun Information About the History of Indoor Plumbing
It might be hard to believe that ancient civilizations had indoor plumbing that is almost as sophisticated as today’s bathroom fixtures, but Egypt, Greece, and Rome were known for their running water, attractive stone facades and sophisticated systems that could carry away waste.
1. The sinks in ancient Greece were set up on tall pedestals called louterians, indicating the Greek’s worship of running water.
2. Toilets in ancient Rome were ancient and communal with as many as twenty stone toilets located in one room, making it difficult to obtain a little privacy.
3. You sometimes risked your life while going to the latrine in ancient Rome as the buildup of gases from the human waste would spontaneously combust.
4. Statues of Fortuna, the Goddess of Good Luck, were often found in the latrines of ancient Rome and meant to help prevent users from catching a disease or being caught in an explosion.
5. The public toilets in Rome that were designated for use by slaves were painted white and red.
6. People who stood in long lines to use the toilets in ancient Rome scrawled messages and drew on the walls to pass the time.
The Challenges of Keeping Clean Without Indoor Plumbing
Unfortunately, by 410 B.C., Rome and most of the Mediterranean world was conquered by the Visigoths who had no interest in bringing any knowledge of Roman plumbing to the Gauls or Anglo Saxons.
This resulted in almost a thousand years of no bathing.
1. In the Middle Ages, people paid to have steam baths in public places, that were often infested with disease-ridden vermin such as rats.
2. In the 14th century, the self-indulgent Edward III had a wooden bathtub installed in his bedroom.
3. Henry VII had the first bathtub that had its own dedicated water heater.
4. The eccentric and impulsive Louis XIV installed water pipes at the Palace of Versailles to water his fantastic gardens but did not install plumbing in the palace.
5. Marie Antoinette invented a strong floral perfume to cover up the terrible odor at the court of Versailles.
Trivia About Contemporary Indoor Plumbing
The history of contemporary plumbing has some interesting moments:
1. The modern toilet is sometimes called “the crapper” because it was invented by Thomas Crapper.
2. Water pipes were sometimes made of lead, which delivered poison water to its recipients.
3. Wooden Water pipes in Montreal and Boston were sealed with animal fat and sometimes dug up by hungry creatures.
4. Germany was one of the last countries in the world to have indoor plumbing with many homes not having toilets until 1950.
5. The White House has 35 bathrooms all of them equipped with low-flow toilets.
Today’s smart toilets, like Duravit SensoWash Toilets, have heated seat, bidet and drying functions and can be operated by remote control. These posh toilets make one wonder what kinds of amazing innovations the plumbing industry has for us in the future.