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5 Interesting Facts About Plumbing History


Hello and Welcome to Jennings Plumbing Services Blog! Please check out our home page today to find out more about Jennings Plumbing Service. In today’s post were going to reveal 5 interesting facts about plumbing history that you may not have ever heard before! Our goal is to make plumbing more fun and interesting to our followers and to spread the good word about the plumbing industry, how it came to be and to highlight the significance of plumbing in society today.

Plumbing History Fun Fact #1 – Plumbing Is Ancient History

Did you know that plumbing has a rich history and has been around for thousands of years? Prior to the invention of advanced plumbing systems most large developments created by man were centered around large bodies of fresh water or freshwater river systems that could supply the entire community with an abundance of water to survive and perform daily tasks. The first wells dug and prepared by man came into existence around 6500 B.C. but it wasn’t until 3000 B.C. that both freshwater supply trenches and sewer latrines began to be seen in the archeological records.

Plumbing History Fun Fact #2: The Oldest Plumbing Systems Still in Operation

As you can imagine, after discovering the rich history behind plumbing the next question that came to mind after getting over the awe inspired by our ancestors ingenuity was what plumbing systems were created thousands of years ago that are still around today. The answer to that question is The Cloaca Maxima. The Romans created a sewer system to transport waste and excrement away from their ancient capital city now known as Rome, Italy. This intricate sewer system started as an open air canal built by the Etruscans. The Romans gradually built over the open air canal and transformed the Cloaca Maxima into a covered sewer system. Eventually the construction of 11 aqueducts allowed the Romans to channel fresh water through the Cloaca Maxima and continuously flush any waste out into the Tiber river. Some parts of the Cloaca Maxima are still in use to this very day.

Plumbing History Fun Fact #3: Modern Plumbing Inventions

1596 – First flushing toilet (aka ‘The John’)

Now that you guys have been introduced to some ancient plumbing history let’s fast-forward to 1596, about 500 years ago, when Sir John Harington, godson of Queen Elizabeth I, created the first flushing toilet. I guess it is no surprise that royal families were the first recipients of most modern technological inventions. Harington, who had been banished from the royal court for telling risqué stories, built a home and created the first flushing toilet. After forgiving him, Elizabeth visited her godson and was so impressed by his invention that she ordered him to build one for her at Richmond Palace … and bathroom goers ever since have invoked the inventor’s name in “the John.”

Plumbing History Fun Fact #4: The Invention of Toilet Paper

In the year 1857 A.D American inventor Joseph Gayetty began selling “medicated paper” made of hemp material and aloe. He was so proud of his invention that each sheet carried a watermark of his name. The toilet paper was sold in packages of flat sheets and advertised as “the greatest necessity of the age!”.  Little did he know modifications to his invention would eventually lead to the need for drain cleaning services everywhere!

Plumbing History Fun Fact #5: The Truth About Thomas Crapper

If you have not heard of Thomas Crapper, he was a successful plumber and sanitation engineer. But, contrary to popular belief, he did not create the first flushing toilet — or the term the “crapper” which long predates his arrival on the scene. Crapper has been falsely credited with the invention thanks to his work on toilets, but his contributions to bathroom history were still significant: In fact, he opened the world’s first bathroom showroom in 1870. 

That about sums it up for our plumbing history fun facts. All of us at Jennings Plumbing Services hope that you found this information interesting or at least gave you a quick break from your day to learn some interesting new information and take your mind off things. Be sure to check out or home page for more interesting plumbing related articles and blog posts!

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