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History of Indoor Plumbing Guide For Homeowners

Plumbing inside a home is a pretty convenient but invisible part of a modern household. When it’s working, you don’t really think about or notice it, because it’s so effortless. Turn a faucet, flush a toilet and things just take care of themselves.

But it wasn’t always like this. And as invisible as indoor plumbing may be to us today, it’s an absolutely vital and important part of modern life not just for convenience, but also for health. It took a long time to get to where we are today, and it started with a lot of important steps that go back thousands of years.

The Egyptian Solution

It might surprise some to find that plumbing got its start with one of the most ancient, but advanced cultures of Africa, the ancient Egyptians. There’s a reason this area is known as the cradle of civilization, and it was the ingenuity of the Egyptians that helped them to realize that plumbing wasn’t just a matter of convenience, but of survival.

Because the Egyptians lived in a desert region, they had no choice but to stick close their most plentiful source of water, the Nile River. However, it was impractical for them to simply “hug” the river with a growing population, so they hit upon using clay to create and lay out the first early pipes. Eventually, as they grew more advanced in metallurgy, they switched over to copper pipes, a material used in some homes for plumbing even today!

Roman Innovation

The Roman empire is now known as one of the great cultures of Europe, and it’s not just for their conquest of the Western world. Roman politics and science had a huge influence on the rest of the world, and the same is true of their engineering.

Many people are aware of the aqueducts that carried water from remote sources to populated areas, but the Romans took things a step further. Aqueducts were also built to branch and divert water to specific destinations.

Some homes in Rome enjoyed water coming directly to the home. More impressively, Roman engineering experimented with early sewage control, creating systems of sewer pipes made out of hollowed out elm logs in order to control pollution from human waste.

Royalty Was Not Sanitary

This is why it’s all the more surprising that as we get to periods such as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, we see some steps backward in plumbing progress. Marie Antoinette, for example, is often regarded as a glamorous, tragic figure of royalty in French history. But what many people don’t realize from history books or films is that she and her palace smelled horrible.

Palaces being located inland didn’t benefit from aqueducts, and so, had no indoor plumbing. This meant that Marie Antoinette herself only bathed once a month, relying on perfume to hide her body odor. It also meant that royal palaces often had human waste left unattended in halls, on rugs, and in other parts of the palace, so it wasn’t a classy an environment as people imagine.

Modern Convenience

Thankfully, these days plumbing is far more integrated into our daily lifestyle, providing both easy access to drinking, cooking and bathing water, as well as having a safe and sanitary form of sewage control.

And companies like Falcon Plumbing have been hard at work in Miami, FL since 1986 to make sure things stay that way for you!

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