Plumbing is an integral part of today's society, granting us access to clean water and appropriate waste removal for both residential and commercial buildings. However, its legacy can be traced back millennia.
From the Greeks to the Romans and all the way back to ancient Egypt, many past civilizations were known for their ingenuity - especially when it came to plumbing. Take Minoans on Crete as an example: they had indoor pipes in place by 1700 BC! Crafted from clay, these networks of tubes transported water from aquifers and springs into people's homes or public buildings. The ingenious Roman Empire was also renowned for its impressive engineering feats including sophisticated aqueducts that supplied running hot water even in communal baths!
Despite Europe's plumbing technology remaining stagnant throughout the Middle Ages, in the Arab world innovation was still occurring. Al-Jazari--an engineer of 12th century--created a wide variety of intricate water clocks and machines for raising water. His inventions signified an advancement in plumbing technology not seen elsewhere at that time period.
19th century plumbing changed the game for modern sanitation, starting with John Harington's 1596 invention of the flush toilet and Alexander Cummings' refinement in 1775. Unfortunately, lead pipes were used during this era even up until the 19th century, despite it being highly toxic to human health - leading to lead poisoning. Thankfully today we have discovered alternate materials such as cast iron and galvanized steel which has allowed us to phase out these dangerous lead pipes altogether.
Throughout the twentieth century, plumbing underwent an incredible transformation. Plastic pipes became commonplace, making this important service more cost-effective and available to a wider audience. Through technological innovations, low-flow toilets and showerheads were also developed that increased efficiency while reducing water usage.
And now plumbing is a vital part of modern society, providing clean water and safe waste disposal for homes and buildings. But its history stretches back thousands of years, to the earliest civilizations that recognized the importance of clean water and proper sanitation.