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The Evolution of Bathing and Showers

Copyright (c) 2007-2023

The oldest known archeological example of plumbing systems for baths dates back to 3300 B.C. in India. We also know that in the Bible, bathing was an important component of the Hebrew tradition, although the Israelites were instructed to go down to the river for their baths.

Through history, various cultures gave credibility to the practice of bathing on a regular basis. The most notable example of government-encouraged bathing is found in the Roman Empire as early as 500 B.C. The Romans built public bathhouses in every Roman town and encouraged their citizens to attend the bathhouses on a daily basis.

Rome hosted a metropolitan-level, gravity-fed plumbing system that delivered water over long distances to major Roman cities. Rome also provided their citizens a gravity-fed sewage system as part of their sanitation infrastructure. Both Roman steam baths and the waters in the bathhouses were warmed through a system of furnaces located within the bathhouse plumbing systems.

The Roman Empire finally met its end, but the end of the empire did not signal the end of public bathing. Bathhouses continued to be viewed as an essential component to healthy living for several more centuries.

Bathes were considered a sound investment in one's health, until the rise of the Renaissance of the 14th century. People who lived during this era mistakenly believed that water-borne disease could be transferred through the skin into the human body. It was this time frame where bathing fell out of favor with the general public.

Mass-Production of Bath Tubs For The Average Person

Pedestal tubs of the modern-style have been traced back through history to Crete in 1000 A.D. The tub found in Crete was about five foot in length, was made of hardened pottery, and it rested on a pedestal.

The Chinese were responsible for developing the cast iron material, but it was the English who brought cast iron into the modern age. Beginning in the early 1700's England began to make dozens of products from cast iron, products which were shipped around the world.

By the early 1800's, American companies got into cast iron production so that Americans could save on the cost of shipping cast iron products from the United Kingdom of Great Britain to the United States. One of those early American cast iron products was the cast iron bathtub.

In the United States during the great western expansion, many entrepreneurs had purchased cast-iron tubs to carry with them on their trips west, bringing the sophistication of a clean body to the men of the cowboy frontier.

In the 1880's, American plumbing supply companies began to produce the new "clawfoot" bathtubs for customers around the world. The claw foot bathtub is the style that finally helped bring bathtubs into the homes of the average person.

Passage of Showers and Bathtubs Into Modern Life

During the early 1800's, people were devising their own plumbing systems to bring water into their bathroom and to take the wastewater back out of the room. In those early days at the dawn of modern plumbing, people were getting creative in an effort to bring water into their home. While water pipes were available in the retail market, many chose to cut corners in their plumbing in strange and unusual ways. Until the mid-1840's, people were frequently using hollowed out trees to bring water to their bathtubs.

In 1848, the U.S. government passed the National Public Health Act (NPHA) creating for the first time a government-enforced plumbing code. The NPHA was instrumental in bringing modern plumbing into the home and allowing the industry to set standards for bringing water into the home and carrying wastewater from the home.

As municipalities began to bring gravity-fed water pressure into the homes of their citizens and manufacturers were able to bring water heaters to consumers, other products such as the shower began to take off as well.

The major draw of the shower for consumers is two-fold. First, a shower is often quick and easy when compared to a bath. The second incentive for homeowners to have a shower is the savings that can be gained in water usage. A typical five-minute shower will use only half as much water as a half-full bathtub.

In 1921, only one percent of new homes built in the United States and Great Britain had a modern bathroom, comprised of a sink, toilet, bath and/or shower. By the 1960's, 100% of new homes in both countries had a modern bathroom installed when the house was built.

Your Personality In The Bathroom

The basic components of the bathroom have not changed much over the last eight decades. Improvements have been made of course, but those improvements have more to do with energy and water consumption and styling than the basic design.

The soft toilet seat has been a blessing for the backside of the people who use it. Spongebob Squarepants has also found a home in the water world of the bathroom. But, there is much more that people can do to enhance their bath or showering experience.

Believe it or not, someone has come up with an "electric shower". The electric shower is designed to pull water only from the cold-water outlet and to heat the water as it goes through the system. The advantage of an electric shower is more consistent water temperatures, more efficient heating of the water, reduced heating costs, and the elimination of a hot shower turning into a cold shower.

Shower booster pumps increase the amount of water pressure coming from the showerhead. With some shower booster systems, the water pressure can be increased by as much as twelve times over the amount of pressure released in a gravity-fed plumbing system.

A shower mixer is the official product description of the unit that mixes the cold water, hot water ratio coming from your tap. Shower mixers come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, colors, and metal types such as brass, aluminum, steel, and stainless steel.

Common shower accessories include showerheads, adjustable and detachable shower heads, brackets, bath taps, shower rod brackets, shower rods, shower curtains, shower seats, and the coolest shower accessory of all, body jets.

There are also different encasements one can employ in their shower. Older homes have the shower and bath systems in the same compartment. Many newer homes have separated the bath from the shower, with a garden tub and a shower tucked away in some out of the way location.

Some showers are spacious allowing a built-in shower seat for those who may be uneasy on their feet, such as children, people with disabilities, and older people. When slips and falls are a great concern, the shower compartments with the built-in seat are an ideal addition to the home.

Bring Imagination To Your Shower And Bath Configuration

Maybe you saw something on television or in a magazine that looked as if it would be a good match for your bathroom. Perhaps you have always dreamed of a bathroom that looked a special way.

If you bring imagination and creativity to your bathroom, you can create a bathroom that you will enjoy for years, and one that your friends and neighbors may envy.

If utility is your greater concern, there are components that can bring greater utility and lower operation costs to your bathroom environment.

We spend a great deal of time in the bathroom. We may only go into the laundry room once a week, but we go to our bathrooms several times in a day. So, why not make the best of your showering or bathing experience, by updating your shower or bath to a style that you really like.

About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Cecil Radmore writes about home improvement repair. If you live in Great Britain, please consider for your replacement shower accessories and bathroom accessories. Buy Plumbing UK has a wide selection of bathroom taps, shower mixers, shower boosters, and electric showers.

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Last Distribution Date:
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Internal ID: #4469

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