The Evolution of Plumbing: From Ancient Egypt to the 1930s

Learn about how sanitary plumbing has evolved over time from Ancient Egypt to 1930s US.

The Evolution of Plumbing: From Ancient Egypt to the 1930s

Since the mid-1930s, U. S. legislators and medical professionals have recognized the importance of sanitary plumbing for public health. To ensure that everyone had access to this essential service, hygiene guidelines and plumbing codes were created.

In the 1940s, due to restrictions on iron, steel and copper, American manufacturers introduced cast iron and plastics to the world of plumbing, which are the materials most often found in toilets today. The history of plumbing goes back much further than the 1930s, however. The Hohokam people were the master farmers of the southwestern United States and engineers of large irrigation canal networks in the Salt River Valley. They first appeared around 350 BC.

C., and their canals spanned nearly 250 miles, stimulating trade and commerce between communities of hundreds and thousands of people. Archaeologists have even discovered baths in some tombs, which makes sense seeing death as the passage of life from one stage to another. In the 19th century, many doctors and the general public believed that sewer gases could cause serious illness and even death if inhaled. Master plumbers had developed trapping and venting methods to protect against contamination, but had no real knowledge of hydraulic principles.

It was not until King Louis XIV ordered the construction of a cast-iron main pipe that carried water 15 miles to the palace and surrounding grounds in France that plumbing began to take shape. The National Association of PHCC (formerly the National Association of Master Plumbers) first met in committee in 1883 at the former Astor House, a hotel that powered modern plumbing in 1834.Over the years, Sir John Harrington designed the first flush toilet for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth I, while other inventors made advancements in ventilation, plumbing works and sewers that brought indoor toilets into homes across America. In the 1960s, outbuildings declined steadily as indoor plumbing became more accessible and easier to install. Although new housing construction had to comply with regulations, many existing homeowners were slow to do so due to poor plumbing and stench from open sewer connections.

Plumbing has come a long way since its beginnings in Ancient Egypt. Thanks to certified and qualified plumbers, we now enjoy modern conveniences like indoor toilets and running water without fear of contamination or illness. The puzzle pieces of good plumbing have finally come together, making it possible for us to live healthier lives.

Angelia Padmanabhan
Angelia Padmanabhan

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