Fun Facts About Plumbing in the White House
When the White House\’s construction was completed in 1800, it was with the current building technology available to its crews and architects. This means it went without lavish decorations, fountains, media rooms, and all the modern amenities that people enjoy today. Among the amenities added to the White House over the years, plumbing is one of the crucial ones.
This President\’s Day, homeowners should take a moment to appreciate how far technology has come by learning a little bit about the plumbing in the White House, shared by local Round Rock plumbers.
The First Running Water
The White House’s first occupant was President John Adams, but it wasn’t until years later, when John Quincy Adams became president, that plumbing would be installed. In the late 1820s, few homes had water that ran indoors. Most water was kept in reservoirs or drawn from well pumps. When President John Quincy Adams had plumbing installed on the White House grounds, it wasn\’t even to provide water to the White House occupants; it was to irrigate his gardens around the President\’s Quarters.
After him, President Andrew Jackson had the water piped indoors. He purchased a local spring and used hollowed-out logs for piping instead of the more expensive iron pipes. Water was filtered through sand and pumped into the plumbing system to pressure the indoor plumbing fixtures.
The First Flush Toilets
It\’s hard to imagine the US leaders handling their “presidential business” out on the White House Lawn, but until plumbing and sewer service entered the premises, there were few options. Privies and chamber pots were the tools of choice in the early 1800s. It wasn’t until President Millard Fillmore in 1853 that the White House got flush toilets. The sewer service was designed as a septic system that stayed in service until it was updated by President Chester Arthur 30 years later.
The toilet’s installation was predated by the creation of \”bathing rooms\” by about 20 years. The bathing rooms were luxurious at the time since they featured running water. But they were only on the first floor since no plumbing existed that could supply water above the second floor.
More Fun Facts
- While bathing in a tub was common in the early 1800s, John Quincy Adams preferred to dip in the Potomac every morning, weather permitting. On more than one occasion, someone made off with his clothes, and he was stuck naked until he could send someone to fetch more.
- President William Howard Taft was too big to fit in a standard tub, so he commissioned a gargantuan tub. Pictures exist of four men seated comfortably in the tub.
- President Harry Truman ordered a total gut and rebuild of the White House because the 150-year-old structure was so dilapidated that his bathtub was sinking into the floor.
About American Eagle Plumbing
American Eagle Plumbing, Inc. is a family-owned and operated plumbing contractor serving Round Rock, TX. Their certified plumbers keep their trucks stocked for quick turnaround times. Flat-rate pricing keeps their customers safe from unexpected costs. Call now for plumbing services!