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The Evolution of Indoor Plumbing


If you are in need of urgent Houston toilet repair services, you may have a newfound appreciation for the convenience and comfort provided by your indoor plumbing fixtures. Tracing the evolution of modern plumbing from its earliest beginnings to present can provide you with the context needed to understand these advanced sanitation systems and their development over time.

Ancient Times

Archaeologists believe that the first water pipes were constructed sometime in the fourth millennium B.C. in the Indus Valley of what is now known as India. The ancient Egyptians used copper pipes to create rudimentary irrigation and sewage systems inside the pyramids. These elaborate tombs were often equipped with bathroom facilities to accommodate the needs of the dead after their burial.

The Roman Empire

Widely regarded as the originators of the modern plumbing system, the engineers of the Roman Empire built aqueducts, buried sewers and established public baths with piping and water channels. The power of gravity ensured the delivery of water to private homes as well as public buildings.

The 16th and 17th Centuries

The first flushing toilet was invented during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England and was put in place at her Richmond Palace. Sir John Harrington is credited with this innovation, which strongly resembles the commodes in place in many homes to this day. During the middle of the 17th century, King Louis XIV was responsible for the building of cast-iron pipes over the 15-mile distance from a centralized plumbing station to a fountain located in his palace in Versailles.

The Invention of the S-Trap

In the mid-1700s, Alexander Cummings was responsible for the first truly modern flushing toilet. Unlike Sir John Harrington’s previous model, the Cummings design included an S curve that trapped a small amount of water in the bowl of the toilet, preventing sewer odors from entering the bathroom area directly. This represented a major advance in toilet technology.

Indoor Plumbing Today

The array of choices available for homeowners and building managers in the plumbing field can allow real customization in the bathroom. From PVC piping to toilets that use sensors to flush automatically to water-conserving showers and faucets, the evolution of indoor plumbing is expected to continue for many years into the future. Your Houston plumber can provide you with added information on the best approach to your specific set of needs.

At Santhoff Plumbing Company, we take pride in offering the most comprehensive range of plumbing services for our customers. We are a trusted Houston residential plumber with more than 40 years of experience operating in this area. If you need expert help with your plumbing fixtures, call us today at (713) 360-2185. Our team of professional plumbers will be happy to help you resolve your issues quickly and in the most cost-effective way possible.

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