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The History of Hot Water and Bathing

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself thinking about the everyday things we do, how they work and how it all began. What prompted our ancestors to look for something, to discover something and think of a better way to make their lives easier?

Here’s a shower thought you may or may not have had, when did hot water become a ‘thing?’

It’s probably when people were sick of tired of cold winter weather, with little to nothing (but fire) to keep warm – no hot coffee, tea, milo way back when!

Hot water is taken for granted these days, so let’s go back to see how it all began.

Interested? Read more from the plumber Fremantle team at Fremantle Plumbing to find out.

Ancient civilisations and hot water

Here’s a brief rundown of hot water in ancient civilisations:

  • Aqueducts were invented by the Romans and were used to supply water to public bath houses, complete with indoor plumbing.

Did you know?

  • Some public bath houses contained debating rooms and libraries because socialising, regardless of setting, was very important.
  • The Ancient Greeks utilised mainly small basins for personal use but introduced showers in gymnasiums for relaxation and hygiene purposes.
  • In Ancient Japan, many people bathed outdoors in natural springs, until the adoption of Buddhism meant bathhouses were built in temples.
  • Ancient Indians bathed three times a day, which is still practiced in some communities today.

It wasn’t until many centuries later, even after the Middle Ages that the water heater was invented and would become mainstream.

Hot water in the Middle Ages and beyond

In Europe throughout the Middle Ages, most bathing was conducted in public bathhouses. Many rich people however, opted for the opulence of bathing at home. This was most likely in their bedrooms however, as ‘bath’ rooms weren’t common.

Did you know?

  • At home bathing for the rich involved bathing in a large wooden tub, lined with a linen cloth to protect the bather from splinters.

Bathing somehow decreased in status in the 16th century, with personal hygiene at an all-time low.

All was well (some two centuries later) when hygiene and good health was emphasised again.

It took until 1868 for Benjamin Waddy Maughan to patent the first water heater, which used natural gases to heat the water, and lack of ventilation of gas vapours made it unsafe for households.

It was 1889 when Edmund Ruud developed this design to include additional safety measures, and it was all uphill, easy, breezy, hot showers from here.

Hot water today, plumbing solutions and blocked drains Perth heroes

1990 marked the golden era of water heater inventions – where electric, solar and gas water heaters came into existence.

At Fremantle Plumbing, we’re the specialists in helping people solve blocked drains Perth and any other plumbing issues they have.

We’re thankful for the readiness of hot water in Perth homes and are ready and able to remedy your water heater issues.

Our plumber Fremantle team hope you enjoyed our little history lesson on hot water.

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