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About Us

Plumbing History: From Indoors to Outdoors

September 26, 2017

As our civilization evolved we picked up some great conveniences along the way, like electricity and indoor plumbing.

It’s kind of an interesting story when you consider how plumbing, its construction, and use have grown over the centuries.

Here is a quick look at plumbing history.

The Early Years of Plumbing

Indoor plumbing originated in about 4000 – 3000 B.C. Archeologists discovered the first known water pipes in the ruins of a palace, in India, constructed of copper.

Archeologists found a rudimentary bathtub made of pottery and what resembled a water closet with a “toilet” (a seat and a crude flushing device) in Crete, dating back to ancient Greece.

Roman, Egyptian and French Advances

The Egyptians constructed bathrooms right into their pyramids that even featured irrigation and drainage systems. They also built them into their tombs, so that their dead could have access to the same comforts that the living have.

The Romans created miles of aqueducts, creating a complex plumbing infrastructure. They are considered by many to be the best plumbers in history as a result.

The aqueducts fed into public and private houses; wastewater was drained away and piped into the Tiber River. They also changed pipe material to lead, improving sanitation.

The Romans made a number of plumbing fixtures out of marble with gold and silver fittings.
Indoor plumbing became more common as the centuries rolled on but it took time.

Even Marie Antoinette in her sprawling Versailles chateau didn’t have indoor plumbing, despite the fact that there was one of the first main sewer lines constructed through the palace.

The lack of toilets was problematic given the large number of people that would be in Versailles at any point in time. They used personal commodes, which were emptied into courtyards, which was unsanitary. History has it that this is why Marie Antoinette liked floral perfumes, presumably to mask that smell.

Fast Forward: Our Capacity to use Outdoor Toilets

Now in our modern day in communities like ours in Tyler, TX, we are all about convenience and comfort when it comes to our restrooms, and that includes putting them outside if we so desire.

Technology and design permit us to be able to have comfortable facilities for use on-site, literally wherever we need.

Porta potties come in a range of sizes and configurations, including more luxurious facilities that have mirrors and sinks, much like a regular indoor restroom.