History of Plumbing: A Brief Overview

by Suzana Mikolova

Have you ever used your kitchen sink and had to clean up a clog in the pipping? Have you ever thought about calling a plumber to simply fix the sink or even gone out to buy a solvent that might possibly do the trick as well? If this is the case, then you might want to look into the history of plumbing as well. Plumbing and pipping have been around since the Neolithic era with humans creating water wells. Plumbing is something that is easily overlooked in our day and age and deserves some respect for how it helps us sustain our way of life.

Before you go looking up any plumbers concord ca, let’s take a minute to look at a brief overview of the history of plumbing. Dating back all the way to around 6500 BCE, water wells were found in the Jezreel Valley near ancient human villages and settlements. Other examples of ancient uses of plumbing stem from the Indus Valley Civilization where areas of both sanitation and public water systems were found. In the city of Lothal, each and every house had a toilet that “flushed” to a network of sewer lines made of brick and mortar that would lead to cesspits to be cleaned and emptied at a later date. Ancient civilizations also developed the practice of using wastewater for other purposes besides throwing it away. The wastewater had other uses in fertilization, disposal, and irrigation. This method was used by the Romans, Hellenic cultures, and also Ancient China where the waste was mainly used for fertilization of crops.

As the Bronze age came around, cultures such as Ancient China and Ancient Europe continued to develop the practicality of plumbing. Ancient China would go on to dig deeper wells for water in a systematic way with wells being built in the same location but separating the uses of the wells between irrigation and drinking. Pulley systems were also used in the plumbing to make the ability to well water much easier on the user. The citizens of Ancient Rome were also on the forefront of plumbing innovation. Still intact today, Roman aqueducts were large structures used to deliver water from areas miles outside of civilization to the homes and public areas of the Ancient Romans. This water was used for fountains, wells, and private toilets. Despite the engineering innovations used, Rome made their pipes out of lead which would lead to lead poisoning across the empire of Rome. Fast forwarding to the 17th century, plumbing was still continuing to evolve. The first cast-iron pipes for plumbing was constructed in France under the reign of King Louis XIV. The pipes were capable of bringing in water from 15 miles away in 1644.

Plumbing is not just a simple job with no background or art to it. Civilizations across time have collectively improved upon the plumbing systems in order to further their people. Plumbing has a rich history that should not be overlooked the next time that your sink clogs.