When was indoor plumbing invented? We'll answer that question and show you how far plumbing has come since then. Plus, is it still changing?

You’ve probably seen movies and TV shows with outhouses with the classic moon-shaped cutout on the door. It makes you ask: how did they do that for so long? Have you ever wondered: when was indoor plumbing invented? We hear this question often, so keep reading for the answer.

So, When Was Indoor Plumbing Invented?

Modern plumbing in the United States started in New York City in 1842. Why New York City? The construction of the Croton Aqueduct finished. This brought pressurized water to the city’s fire hydrants, leading to the development of sewers and drains in buildings. Installation of residential plumbing for the wealthy started in the 1850s. In 1920, 1% of all U.S. homes had electricity and indoor plumbing. This shows you how new indoor plumbing really is. It has taken over 100 years for plumbing to develop into what it is today. Back then, there was a lack of venting, which led to stinky backups and clogs.

When Was The Toilet Invented?

The toilet we know today isn’t much different than the toilets from history. There have been findings that show flushing toilets as early as 1700 BC in Crete. The toilets in Crete utilized an overhead tank of water to flush the waste down into a sophisticated underground sewage system. When you look at the history of sewage systems in ancient Rome and Greece, there isn’t much different today, other than more efficient layout and organization. The first patent on a flushing toilet was designed and filed by Alexander Cummings in 1775. All this toilet talk might have you wondering about toilet paper.

Toilet Paper: Est. 1857

Can you believe that? Before toilet paper came about, people had to use things like corn cobs and catalogs. Starting in 1919, The Farmers’ Almanac drilled holes in the corner of the book so readers could hang it up in the bathroom for this very reason. Not until 1857 did toilet paper hit the shelves, when Joseph Gayetty sold it in packs of 500 sheets for 50 cents each.

We’ve Come A Long Way

Plumbing has come a long way since the 1800s. People only dreamed of flushing toilets or using toilet paper back then. Now, we have showers, sinks, toilets, sanitary sewers, and more every decade. As plumbing has evolved, it has gotten more complex. This is both a good and tricky situation. Good because public health is better, but tricky because it takes specialized training and expertise to perform work or repairs. Don’t worry, though. At Drain Express, we are here for you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment if you need any help with your plumbing.