The shower may seem like an essential part of everyday life, but it hasn’t always been around. Rob takes a look at the very first showers (and thanks his lucky stars that he lives in the 21st century!)
If somebody asked you which piece of technology in your home you really couldn’t get by without, you’d probably say your TV, microwave or computer. But most of us use a piece of technology as soon as we wake up every day and don’t give it a second thought – the shower.
Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have a shower that you could jump into to refresh yourself first thing, or after you’ve been to the gym? We take it for granted, but life would be a lot less pleasant (and smellier) if we didn’t have shower enclosures or showers over our baths at home.
So who invented this most useful piece of technology? Well, as with so many things, it was the ancient Greeks.
Prior to the ancient Greeks people had been using waterfalls – which are in short supply in suburban Britain – or simple buckets of cold water to rinse themselves down after washing, but the ancient Greeks devised aqueducts and sewerage systems made of lead pipes allowing water to be pumped both into and out of large communal shower rooms.
image courtesy of Helenica
Remains of these rooms have been discovered at the site of the city Pergamum and can also be found represented in ancient Greek pottery and murals (pictured). It’s amazing how similar the showers seem to modern locker rooms – even including bars to hang up clothing!
The Romans followed in the ancient Greeks’ footsteps, establishing their famous bathhouses, which can be found all around the Mediterranean and also in places like Bath in England.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, cleanliness lost favour, it seems, and showering was almost unheard of until showers re-emerged in the Victorian era.
In the early 19th century the English Regency Shower was anonymously invented, originally with a design over ten feet tall. It was similar to modern mixer showers other than the fact that water was collected once used and pumped back through the shower, which is a little unhygienic.
The shower’s popularity increased during the 20th century and has reached a point now where most people in the Western world have access to a shower.
The basic principle behind the shower hasn’t changed that much, although a modern thermostatic shower with massage jets is certainly a modern luxury.
If you feel that your shower is a little primitive, you may want to think about upgrading. Take a look at the range of showers and enclosures available from BathEmpire.