Ancient plumbing pioneers included the Mesopotamians, who used a network of canals to irrigate their crops, and the people of ancient Rome, who used aqueducts and a sewer system that included public latrines, where waste was flushed away with a stream of water, and terra cotta piping to carry water waste from homes. However, after these civilizations eventually declined, plumbing slipped back into the “dark ages.”
The next major plumbing breakthrough occurred in 1596, when Sir John Harrington invented the first flush toilet. Harrington was fed up with using a chamber pot and with the general filth in which English society lived at that time – even in big cities like London, people thought nothing of dumping their chamber pots out into the street, and they never bathed, believing it to be a dirty practice. Imagine the smell!
Despite the necessity of his sanitation breakthrough, Harrington was ridiculed for his idea and was never able to get his invention off the ground. It wasn’t until almost 300 years later, across the pond in America, where James T. Henry and William Campbell were granted a patent for a water closet that was based on Harrington’s invention, a.k.a. the modern toilet.
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The Unclog Blog is written & published by Thompson Plumbing Heating & Cooling
(Photo via danndalf)