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The History of Plumbing (the “Cliff Notes” Version!)

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a LONG article discussing the history of plumbing. Parts of it were actually quite interesting, but they were buried in paragraphs and paragraphs of text. So, those interesting plumbing history facts and tidbits were lost and more likely than not, I assume most folks did not take much away from the article.

While the article was not the best, the idea at the root of it was: discovering the history of plumbing. Plumbing is something we all take for granted and has taken a long time to get where we are. Also, with World Plumbing Day only being a week ago, I still had plumbing history on the brain for writing topics. Though personally, I’m more of a visual person so instead of an article I thought a “pretty” presentation would be better to represent the data.

So, in short, I ended up making my own infographic to describe the history of plumbing! I used some web sources, but did not end up using that original article for reference.

(Don’t Worry it’s only 1 page!)

Click to See our ” History of Plumbing Timeline”

Can’t view the PDF? Text version below


Plumbing History Timeline

4000-3000 B.C. 

1st set of copper water pipes in Indus River Valley of India

2500 B.C.

Egyptians use cooper pipes to build elaborate bathrooms inside the pyramids

1000 B.C.

Date of remains of an ancient plumbing system on the island of Crete (including a bathtub)


The first flushing toilet is invented by Sir John Harrington (godson of Queen Elizabeth I). Creates the toilets nickname “the John”

500 B.C. to 455 A.D. 

The Romans’ advanced plumbing systems include: underground sewer systems, private and public baths


First underground sewer is installed


Boston’s Tremont Hotel becomes the first hotel to offer indoor plumbing


First public toilets are introduced (London’s Crystal Palace)


First American City to have an all-inclusive sewer system (Chicago)


First installation of water heaters (in private home)


American service employees see “Thomas Crapper & Co.” on toilets in Europe. Later they are responsible for spreading the nickname “the crapper” in the 1920’s.


First plumbing code published and nicknamed “the Hoover code” after Herbert Hoover


Al Moen invents the single handle faucet (ability to control both hot and cold water)


All buildings and facilities are required to be accessible to the physically handicapped (including bathrooms)


Due to copper shortage, plastic piping is introduced for usage in plumbing systems


Japan introduces the first sensor flushing toilet


Delta Faucet debuts the Touch2O Tech (which allows user to activate a faucet with the tap of a wrist)

References and citations listed on PDF version

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