The History of Plumbing in the Buildings of the Northeast
Indoor plumbing has held a place in human history for thousands of years, going back at least as far as the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians. But in the United States, it wasn’t until the twentieth century that most homes came equipped with running water inside.
Although it may not sound all that intriguing, the plumbing history for the buildings of the American Northeast is actually quite fascinating, so here’s a brief overview of some of the more interesting developments.
Indoor Plumbing Before the 1840s
If you were to stay at the Tremont Hotel in Boston before 1840, you would have been treated to a wonder of the modern world: running water and toilets—inside!
Indoor plumbing was unheard of in the American Northeast at the time, and even after the Tremont Hotel became one of the first buildings to introduce this feature, it was still only available in top-rate hotels and the mansions of the extravagantly rich for many years to come.
The Beginning: The Croton Aqueduct System
With the construction of New York’s Croton Aqueduct System in 1842, pressurized water became available for the city, and even though it was intended to supply fire hydrants, it also allowed for the development of indoor plumbing throughout the city.
In fact, within a couple years, New York began connecting public storm drains to the sanitary sewers in individual buildings, laying the framework for widely available indoor plumbing systems, meaning toilets would no longer be reserved exclusively for the richest individuals and hotels.
Moreover, this system provided the rest of the country with a model for a plumbing framework.
The Rise of Indoor Plumbing
Thanks to the Croton Aqueduct System and the paradigm it provided, indoor plumbing began to spread across the Northeast and the country in the following decade.
But while indoor bathrooms became more common in new homes in the 1850s, they still required double doors to prevent sewer odors from invading the rest of the home, because plumbing and venting skills and knowledge weren’t yet sophisticated enough to prevent terrible smelling back-pressure events.
The Switch From Wooden Pipes
Before the days of ubiquitous city sewer systems, there wasn’t a great demand on the water flowing in and out of cities, and wooden pipes were sufficient to manage the load.
However, once city infrastructures began to include more sewer lines in the early 1800s, pipes had to be switched to iron to withstand the pressure and demands of modern plumbing.
However, despite how far off this may seem in plumbing history, there are still modern cities in America today whose infrastructures contain remnants of old wooden pipes.
The development and perfection of indoor plumbing have led to more sanitary homes and healthier communities, and it’s good to remember the way things were to appreciate how they are now.
For more plumbing history information, or to get professionals to maintain or repair your modern plumbing system in Reading, PA, call the experts at The Plumbing Works at (610) 929-8860.