The history of plumbing goes back hundreds of years, originating in ancient civilizations. The Romans, Greek, Chinese, Persian, and Chinese were some of the first to use plumbing to irrigate their crops, remove waste, and bring fresh water into their cities. Since then, plumbing has become a staple of our homes and communities. Learn more about the history of plumbing below! 

The Beginning

Did you know? The earliest pipes were created by the Egyptians! Along with digging 300-foot wells (a huge accomplishment for the time), they also put plumbing and bathroom features in later pyramids. The Romans made some of the largest advancements by putting lead pipes underground to carry water into their cities. While this sometimes led tragically to lead poisoning, this advancement made the modern plumbing we enjoy today possible. 


Modern plumbing first came to America with Boston as the first to install waterlines throughout the city to help fight fires. The first valve-type flush toilet was invented in 1738 by J.F. Brondel, and the first modern flush toilet was patented in 1775 by Alexander Cumming. This is when modern plumbing as we know it began to take shape. 

1800-Modern Day

1810 saw the invention of the first modern shower. It was seen as slightly frivolous, but later took off in popularity. Philadelphia and New York soon undertook projects to get a safe water supply into the cities and created public water mains. The early 1900s saw a sharp increase of modern indoor plumbing within cities, although this advancement wouldn’t reach more rural areas for about 50 years. When World War 2 struck, iron and lead pipes were replaced with copper, which we still use today. 

The history of plumbing is long and complicated, but every single advancement has shaped the society we enjoy today. If you’re interested in updating the plumbing in your home, contact Keidel for more information.