22 Weeks of Summer – Post #7: Cool Plumbing Facts from the History of the Human Race


Guess what? Plumbing has been around a long, long time. (Hey, there’s always been a need, right?)

In today’s post, we have some weird, wacky, cool and innovative plumbing facts from around the world!

  • Ancient civilizations (e.g., Minoans, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians) all had drainage systems, although they were not always accessible to the general public.
  • The idea for the flushing toilet is credited to Queen Elizabeth I’s godson.
  • The patent for the toilet was issued a little over 200 years ago.
  • We say “plumber” because the Romans used pipes made from lead, or “plumbus”.
  • Roman public and private baths were a true “hit” with the population. Alas, the Romans didn’t understand how to sanitize them, so they occasionally became rather “ripe”.
  • In the Dark and Middle Ages, it was considered unsanitary to bathe regularly.
  • Not many generations ago, it was commonplace for first-world cities to dump their wastewater into streams and rivers. Thus, the Thames in London became known for its noxious fumes.
  • The majority of people living in the United States just 100 years ago would never have the pleasure of indoor running water. Chamber pots were still the norm.
  • New York city installed the first public water main in the early 19th century to assist firefighters.
  • Plastic plumbing pipes were not used until the mid-1960s.

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