Were You Aware of These Real (and Fun) Plumbing Facts?
Plumbing has come a long way since humans invented its earliest forms many centuries ago. From the most basic irrigation and sanitation systems of ancient times to the vast infrastructures and “smart” fixtures of today, plumbing technology has seen many changes. And though it’s a relatively young nation, America has been home to some of the most incredible and groundbreaking of those changes.
So to commemorate Independence Day, here are some fascinating plumbing facts from America’s past – and a few from the present to illustrate how far things have come.
Great Moments in American History: Plumbing Edition
One great advancement in plumbing came in 1829 when an architect named Isaiah Rogers designed the first hotel with indoor plumbing in Boston. The hotel, called the Tremont House, featured a rooftop storage tank fed by a steam-powered pump. Once in the tank, water could be delivered via a network of pipes to taps, baths, and toilets (then called water closets), using nothing but gravity.
The Tremont was ahead of its time – even the White House didn’t get running water until 1833 and didn’t get a flush toilet until Millard Fillmore’s term nearly 20 years after that. President Fillmore also reportedly ordered improvements to the plumbing systems in the residential quarters. Another major innovation came in 1857 when an American inventor named Joseph Gayetty marketed the first commercial toilet paper – though it was initially sold as a medicated anti-hemorrhoid product with aloe.
All About Toilets
Though America has seen plenty of toilet innovations, flushable toilets were around in some forms before America was even a nation. Funnily enough, the first patent for a flush toilet was filed in the UK in 1775, just a year before signing the Declaration of Independence.
But today, America is one of the leaders in terms of sanitation systems and widespread toilet access. In many parts of the world, televisions and mobile phones are in higher abundance than toilets. It’s even estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to proper toilets. This 4th of July is a perfect opportunity to celebrate such a basic necessity that’s so easy to take for granted.
More Plumbing Fixture Facts
America’s abundance of toilets and excellent sanitation systems aren’t the only plumbing advancements to be grateful for, however. Lead poisoning used to be a fairly common occurrence due to the lead pipes used for water supply lines throughout the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Lead has since been banned and replaced with copper, steel, or PEX piping – in fact, in the last 60 years, over 28 billion feet of copper piping has been installed in America.
Irrigation systems have also come a long way. The first modern-style sprinkler was patented in 1871 by an American inventor named Joseph Lessler. In 1932, a citrus farmer in California named Orton Englehart created the impact sprinkler – the design still used for many lawn sprinkler heads today, to the delight of playful children in backyards all over the country!
Plumbing has also become more environmentally friendly. Older toilets use around 6 gallons of water with each flush, while new low-flush models use only 1.28 gallons. Since toilets account for about 30 percent of the average home’s water usage, that’s a big impact. Water-saving faucets and shower heads can also save tens of thousands of gallons every year. But despite these advancements, household water leaks still waste around 1 trillion gallons of water in America every year. So it’s crucial not to let any leak wait, no matter how small!
About American Eagle Plumbing
American Eagle Plumbing, Inc. has been serving Round Rock, TX for years. As a family-owned and operated small business, they have earned numerous awards and 5-star reviews with their honesty and superior service. They offer flat-rate pricing, financing, and membership perks. Call now for plumbing service!