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20 Plumbing Milestones That Altered History

3,000 B.C.

Egyptian ruler Menes supports a thriving civilization spanning over 3,000 years by constructing basins, canals and irrigation ditches to hold floodwater.

2,700 B.C.

Water pipe are crafted from clay and chopped straw in the Indus River Valley of India

1,500 B.C.

Complex sewage disposal systems with rudimentary flushing toilets are credited to King Minos of Crete. Just 1,000 years later, lead-lined bathtubs began to appear in northern Greece.

2100 B.C.

Innovatice Egyptians fashion group toilets out of stone; toilets are also built in tombs as the egyptians believe the dead should be provided with everyday necessities in the afterlife.

52 A.D.

Rome boasts an estimated 220 miles of aqueducts, water channels, and pipes used to supply public wells, baths, and homes; Europeans later lose interest in sanitation and cleanliness after the fall of the Roman Empire, estimated 376 A.D.

700-1,500 A.D.

Considered the "dark ages of plumbing and hygenie," where disease, cesspools and human excrement abound.


Alexander Cummings secures the first patent for the flushing toilet.


The first modern flushing toilet is designed by Sir John harrington, godson of Queen Elizabeth; initially, the idea flops due to lack of sewage plumbing.


The English Regency shower is introduced, where water is plumbed through a nozzle and sprayed onto the shoulder. Water runoff is collected and reused as it is pumped through the shower again.


The first hostelry in the world opens with indoor plumbing at the Tremont Hotel in Boston. Soon, soap used during bathing catches on for hygeiene purposes


The importance of indoor running water is emphasized after Louis Pasteur publishes research on the dangerous bacteria.Homes are built with large, immobile cast iron sinks, inspiring the phrase "everything but the kitchen sink."


The White House is plumbed with running water on the first floor. Upstairs plumbing is introduced 20 years later when President Franklin Pierce is in office.


The New York Metropolitan Board of Health studies sewage, drainage, waste disposal, and water supply to pioneer modern plumbing and sanitation standards.


The first comprehensive sewer system in the US is built in Chicago. Homes still lack indoor baths; public bathing facilities charge five cents for adults and three cents for children.


Thomas Crapper updates the modern toilet by patenting his valve-and-siphon design


Toilet desigs shift from the elevated water tank into the more contemporary closed toilet tank and bowl.


American servicemen see company name Thomas Crapper & Co. stamped on European toilets; servicemen later spread the common US term for toilet "crapper," when they build American plumbing infrastuctures in the 1920s


The first two-ply toilet paper is manufactured by St. Andrews Paper Mill in the UK.


The first sensor flushing toilet is introduced in Japan.


Low-flow toilets are manufactured to conserve water, with both single and dual flush.

Low-flow toilets consume 1.6 gallons per flush compared to 3.5-7 gallons per flush i older models.

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