We live such easy lives today, most of us. With technological advancements and the ease of doing practically anything at the push of a button. How about we look at how it was in the good old days when people had to do more work when they wanted to bathe. Let us look at when showers were invented.
When were showers invented: The Early Years
Our ancestors who were not privy to most of the modern advancements used to have a quick clean-up under cascading waterfalls. That is if they lived near waterfalls. The Egyptians are often credited for the use of jugs and a bucket to shower (around 3100BC). The rich had their servants tend to them as they poured warm water on them. Around this period of time, they were experimenting with soap as well. This allowed them to get cleaned in a hot and dusty climate. As you can see, people have enjoyed a shower for a long time. It can be relaxing and fun!
This involved a lot of work and didn’t provide a lot of privacy. The Greeks (12th century BC) and Romans had a pipe system to transport water. It made it possible to shower. They used gravity to pour water over them. They didn’t have water heaters but given that they lived in a warm climate, this was less of an issue.
These showers had to be shared as the plumbing was generally not available in houses. It was sometimes reserved for the upper class as well. The systems were still very expensive to build as they didn’t use copper or steel. There were probably also a lot of issues with blockages. Turning the shower off was probably also not possible.
Evolving Water Systems
In the 18th century people further developed pumps and this led to the wider use of showers. During the Victorian area, people become more aware of the importance of personal cleanliness. While they used a lot of perfumes, they also found it important to get washed properly. At that point in time, the servant or a friend still had to pour water over people. They could heat the water with wood-fired stoves but it was not ideal as it was difficult to get the temperature right.
It was until the advent of electricity in the 19th and 20th centuries that we could use automated systems. This has led us to use automated pumps and water heaters. A lot of things are needed to give us the modern-day shower: from electricity to pumps and pipes.
We also needed to develop cast iron pipes before more homes could get a shower. By the 20th century, more and more homes in America employed showers. At that point in time installing, plumbing indoors was a lot of manual work. With the advent of PEX systems, it has become a lot easier to do this.
After the Second World War, a lot of houses were destroyed in Europe. This led to the introduction of modern plumbing in a lot of houses as they needed to get rebuilt. It is only in the past few decades that we can enjoy a shower as we know it today. It is really a modern-day luxury!
Drains and sewage systems are also modern inventions. The wastewater used to flow in nature. Nowadays it is processed and cleaned so that the soaps don’t affect fish and water life.
People use water for a lot of applications and transporting it can be expensive. This is one of the reasons why a lot of cities were built close to rivers as it was easier to transport it. Nowadays we have powerful pumps that can provide water in the tallest buildings. This requires a lot of water pressure and the systems have to be designed so that everyone in a city can get access to it when opening the faucet. It involves a lot of complex engineering to make this happen.
Modern day showers
Showers have gotten a lot more comfortable. While we might run out of hot water, we don’t have to use labor to pump the water. You have to discuss with your plumber what water heater will fit your needs Common problems are a lack of water pressure due to the usage of pipes that are too small.
This is due to installation problems or because the needs of the homeowner have changed over time. It is possible that new pipes have to be installed if you want to get a rain shower. This type of shower has become very popular in the past few years but uses a lot of water.
We are seeing an evolution from using water heaters on natural gas to water heaters that use heat from the ground (thermal heat) or air. With the advent of solar panels and batteries, we are seeing that electric heaters can become more popular as well. The technology is still evolving a lot so it will be interesting to see how it will evolve.
The trend toward more comfort is clear and companies are working on ways to make showers more fun. For example, LED lights and heat lamps are being integrated into showers. This can make an experience out of showering. People spend more time in the shower than they used to. Imagine someone pouring water over you and how much effort this must have been.
There are flip sides, hard water or underground water can cause calcification as minerals deposit on the equipment. Getting rid of this is not as easy as we would imagine. Keeping the showerhead and the pipes clean is a necessity. It does require a considerable amount of time and effort.
We can add water softeners to get rid of the chalk in the water but these are quite expensive and make the plumbing system even more complex.
Showering is something that we often do without thinking about it. Little did we know that showers have evolved a lot over time! From cold shower streams in ancient history to the modern systems with water heaters. It is only fairly recently that we can enjoy the modern luxury of showering with hot water.
A hot shower needs a fairly complex system. The water is often heated with electricity or natural gas.