Interesting Historical Facts About the History of Plumbing in the Buildings of the Northeast
The origins of the first plumbing systems can be traced back to ancient civilizations where copper tubing has been found amongst ruins of palaces and temples. However, in the US, the modern convenience of having flushing toilets and running indoor water is a relatively new technology.
Up until the early 1900s, hollowed wooden logs were still being used to transport water.
Let’s take a look at a few highlights from the plumbing history of Northeastern America during the 1800s.
The Rarity of Indoor Plumbing during the Early 1840s
The early 1800s was really a time when civilians began to realize the health hazards associated with poor sanitary conditions. They knew that exposure to sewage could transmit diseases; however, the systems were not yet in place to carry away waste water and sewage in an efficient manner.
In fact, indoor plumbing was considered a luxury during the early 1840s. In 1829, the Tremont Hotel of Boston became the first hotel to install indoor plumbing. This was met with much excitement as only the wealthiest homes and businesses could afford this luxury.
Croton Aqueduct System is Completed in 1842
The Croton Aqueduct System of New York changed the way people received clean water. Previously, most people retrieved their own water from cisterns, wells and natural bodies of water. However, the booming population in Manhattan created pollution that affected waterways and clean water became harder to come by.
When the aqueduct system was completed in 1842, Manhattanites received fresh water supply from the Croton River, which was about 40 miles away. Now people enjoyed running water from the comfort of their homes.
Separate Indoor Bathrooms are Built into New Homes in the Mid 1850s
Sometime between the years 1845 to 1850, builders figured out a way to carry away waste water and sewage. Now all the systems were in place to enable indoor bathrooms.
If homeowners had the luxury of having an unused bedroom, it became fashionable to convert it to a separate indoor bathroom (much more preferable than the outhouses most people used during this time).
Starting in the mid 1850s, all new homes were built with separate indoor bathrooms to satisfy the growing demand. Now all homeowners could bathe and use the toilet within the comfort of their home.
Pipes Made from Readily Available Materials Such as Logs in the 1870s
Many plumbing systems and aqueducts used hollowed out tree logs as pipes to transport clean water and carry away waste water. These tree logs were reinforced with metal wiring to strengthen the integrity of the structure.
Wooden logs were often used to connect to city mains for use in fighting fires. Metal tubing wasn’t widely used for plumbing in the US until the 1960s.
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