Plumbing is one of those trades that we might think about often, but we can barley live without. A plumber in an emergency should be considered as one of the emergency services! Imagine your existence without the ability to have a hot shower or not being able to flush your toilet. Even though we tend to think of plumbing in modern terms, the concepts have been around for thousands of years.
Four thousand years ago in Crete was where it all began. The oldest known structure on earth to have had water pipes and sewerage systems was the Minoan Palace. The pipes were tucked away in walls (just like today) and taps ran both hot and cold water! They even had a flushing toilet.
The Romans were also famed for their clever plumbing abilities. They supplied great urban dwellings with water pipes called viaducts and built huge sewerage systems underneath the cities that were sophisticated and effective. The word ’plumbing’ comes from the Latin word ‘plumbum’ meaning lead. The first pipes that proved effective in the Roman era were made from lead.
Why did we not have better plumbing before then? Well, sadly most of this technology was lost after the fall of the Roman Empire and we would have to wait until the 1500s before public water supplies and sewerage systems were rediscovered as concepts. It wasn’t until the 1700s that the first recognisable toilet was patented, and some houses began being connected to a main water supply and sewerage system.
During the 18th century, it finally dawned on public health officials that something needed to be done improving waste disposal methods to stop or contain the spread of disease epidemics. Prior to this, waste was simply poured onto the ground or into rivers! Thankfully, the introduction of a proper sewerage system and underground water supply put an end to open sewage ditches and cesspools.
Our cities and towns today pipe waste to sewage treatment plants, where it is separated and partially purified before being pumped back into streams and rivers. Lead is no longer used in the piping of water as awareness grew in the 20th century about the hazards of lead poisoning. Copper pipes were introduced instead, making safer and more effective pipes for transporting water. This meant creating extra jobs and using tools in warehouses like Bending Machines to get the right angles which now can be sourced from places including https://www.cotswold-machinery-sales.co.uk/euromac/bending-machines/.