Before indoor plumbing existed, human waste found its place in the streets. Infectious diseases such as cholera, typhus and dysentery plagued the public. Below is a list of nine fun facts that will make you appreciate your indoor plumbing.
Ancient Disposal Methods
Plumbing sanitation is a relatively new feature. During the 19th century, England's poor working class had to put up with the stench and filth of human waste. Since there was no sewer system in place, buckets of human secretion were dumped into the streets. If you think cities smell bad now, imagine what they smelled like back then.
A Call for Help
Since plumbing systems did not exist, neither did plumbers. Plumbers are now considered modern heroes who assist when there is a problem with your indoor plumbing. A professional plumber is the first person you call when you experience a leak, dripping faucets, clogged drains or broken toilet flappers.
Spend a Penny
Simply saying "I need to use the bathroom" was considered offensive in Britain during the 1800s. When the first public toilets became available, people had to pay a penny to use them. Rather than saying, "I have to go to the bathroom," people would say, "I'm going to go spend a penny."
The Germ Theory
Hand washing, like toilet flushing, was not a normal practice during the 19th century. Thanks to the discovery of the germ theory by Philipp Semmelweis, people finally understood the need for indoor plumbing and proper hygiene. The germ theory proposed that a lack of hygiene is what lead to the spread of illnesses.
Flushing is a Luxury
The next time you question the luxury of your toilet, consider what life was like in the 1950s. In 1950, 25% of American homes – mostly rural homes – did not have a flushable toilet. Could you imagine purchasing a home with an outhouse instead of a working indoor bathroom?
A Hot Shower
The next time you come home grungy from work, appreciate your hot shower. Centuries ago, people would bathe in cold rivers or lakes. Upper class citizens had the luxury of handmaids that would heat water over a fire for a warm bath. Today, homeowners enjoy temperature controlled baths and showers without a second thought.
No Place to "Go"
When you experience the urge to go, you usually head straight for your bathroom. If you are out and about, you likely use public bathrooms found in many stores, restaurants and gas stations. Unfortunately, there are more than 2 billion people that still lack access to indoor toilet facilities.
Major Motion Achievement
Alfred Hitchcock fans are all-too-familiar with the shower scene from the 1960 movie Psycho. What you may not realize is that Psycho was the first motion picture to feature a flushable toilet. Considering that indoor plumbing is a widely recognized part of life, many people do not pay attention to the use of toilets in movies.
Paper Product Blues
As the owner of a septic tank system, you have probably griped a few times about clogs. The next time you gripe about a toilet paper clog, consider the fact that toilet paper is a fairly new concept. The use of toilet paper did not become popular until around 1890 when the Scott brothers developed the Scotts' brand. Before that, people cleaned up using whatever was available, including sheep's wool and rags.
Now that indoor plumbing is so widely expected, people often take their plumbing for granted. Rather than getting angry over plumbing problems, take into consideration that you actually have indoor plumbing. Instead of getting angry, pick up the phone and call a professional plumber to assist you, and remember to thank your lucky stars that you have hot water and a flushable toilet.