Plumbing is a marvel that we can sometimes take for granted. It’s easy to forget that what we use dozens of times a day as individuals, was once considered a ground-breaking discovery that would change people’s lives in a massive way. Our Melbourne plumbers will take you back in time to the earliest known examples of plumbing all the way up to the modern marvel we know and love now.
Ancient irrigation and plumbing system’s
Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the first use of plumbing in an ancient civilisation around 4000 – 3000 B.C. This was in the form of water pipes located in India’s Indus River. The Indus Valley civilisation used these pipes to carry water from one place to another, as well as employed septic tanks below their homes.
The Egyptian King Menes was also responsible for the first canals and ditches that were created for irrigation purposes – in the hope that marshy land could be reclaimed. Basins were also dug so floodwater would have somewhere to travel. The city of Memphis that King Menes built upon the Nile around 2925 B.C and held within it many canals, dikes and sluices connecting it. These features stood and were used until 641 A.D – throughout the Roman occupation of the city.
Around 2500 the Egyptians also created copper pipes to form more complex irrigation and sewerage systems – including septic tanks – were installed in pyramids. Bathrooms were also installed within tombs as they believed the dead required certain essentials in the afterlife.
The first flushing toilet and the Roman influence
Under King Minos’ rule, the Minoans developed even more complex sewerage systems that ran below the city between 1500 – 1000 B.C. These systems included disposal and drainage systems. It was in this period that the first flushing toilet was discovered, which featured a wooden seat.
Between 500 B.C and 455 A.D, the Roman Empire made significant headway within the plumbing world. The Roman Empire was responsible for the creation of aqueducts – which were created for the purpose of bringing water in from outside sources. They also advanced pipes to the point where they were created from lead and bronze materials instead of just copper.
The Roman Empire had around 220 miles of aqueducts, pipes and water channels that were used to carry water to homes, public bathhouses and public wells. The plumbing of ancient Rome was powered purely by gravity.
The Renaissance era
Sir John Harrington created the first flush toilet with a cistern and all. This was somewhere between 1584 and 1591. His invention – which he called Ajax – was located within his own home. His godmother – Queen Elizabeth I – visited him in 1592 and was so impressed with the Ajax that she ordered him to make one for her. The idea of the flushing toilet did not gain widespread popularity as the general populace were still content with their bedpans.
1644 marked the year that King Louis XIV of France commissioned a cast-iron pipe to be built as the main plumbing line. The pipe carried water across 15 miles to supply palace fountains and other areas with water from a plumbing station. Later, in 1804, Philadelphia became the first city to switch all of the plumbing systems to cast-iron pipes.
In 1775, a Scotsman named Alexander Cummings patented a device that was similar to Sir John Harrington’s Ajax. The difference was that Cummings’ flushing machine contained a valve – the S valve – that was able to release part of the water into a sewerage system. Therefore, the water would not smell like sewerage.
1902 marked the year that the flush toilet was marketed with the water tank above the actual bowl – establishing the design that we still use to this day. Due to a copper shortage in the mid-1960s, PVC and plastic pipes were introduced as an alternative. Nowadays, toilet manufacturers work towards creating the most water and energy-efficient toilets in an effort to be eco-friendlier whilst retaining the efficiency of the product. In addition to this, toilets are becoming smarter with technological advances such as seat warmers and hands-free flushing being built into them.
Looking for plumbers in Melbourne?
If you’re looking for Melbourne plumbers, then JPG Plumbing is the business for you. We offer fully trained and experienced plumbers within the Melbourne area that are able to administer a variety of services that will suit whatever your plumbing issue may be.
If you would like to know more about our Melbourne plumbers, then please give us a call on 0400 978 442 or fill out the enquiry form on our website.