Bathrooms – Imagine Living Without Them!
We tend to take the amazing facilities we have in our homes today very much for granted. While we spend time designing and organizing our living rooms and want a well fitted out kitchen, we tend to relegate the bathrooms to a somewhat secondary status. The only time we realize how vitally important this area is to us, is when the plumbing doesn’t function the way we expect it to!
The bathrooms of Royalty
The truth is that not too many generations ago, the wonders of bathrooms and indoor plumbing, were virtually unknown. Being able to come home after a hot day at work, and take a refreshing shower, is a pretty modern convenience. Next time you turn on the faucet, consider the fact that even royalty rarely had endless running hot water not too far back in history. Water had to be specially heated up and added to a tub, bucket by bucket. In private homes this made bathing a fairly rare occurrence, and many availed themselves of public bath houses instead, where one waited one’s turn in line, and paid for the convenience.
The little house in the yard
The little house in the back yard was another feature of daily life that the modern generation is only dimly aware of, if at all. Imagine putting on your overcoat and traipsing out on a stormy night, in the rain and wind, when nature called in the middle of the night! Of course, there was the alternative of the porcelain chamber pot that resided under the bed. That is, if you weren’t squeamish about keeping it there until the morning!
Today we have homes with multiple bathrooms and toilet facilities, all making use of modern techniques, that go largely unnoticed.
The importance of rivers
Since the dawn of history, the availability of sufficient water has been a primary consideration in determining where cities will be situated. As a result most ancient civilizations flourished where there were flowing, navigable rivers. These rivers provided water for home and agriculture, and in many cases, they were utilized as a main means of transport and trade. Still today, in many regions of the world, large rivers are utilized for transport and communication. Where natural water sources were more scarce, rain water had to be collected and stored, and wells had to be dug. Water had to be transported by hand, and stored in utensils small enough to be easily handled, and there were no indoor bathrooms with running water.
Lead pipes and the need to change them
When people were able to fashion pipes out of metal, the possibility of transporting water for long distances became a reality. Lead was one of the earliest metals widely used for fashioning pipes, as it was easily worked due to its low melting temperature. When the toxicity of lead became known, large amounts of piping introducing water into homes had to be replaced. In older countries, this is still a problem that has to be addressed, especially when upgrading old dwellings.
Cobbled streets and outdoor drainage
Water borne sewerage systems were another fairly modern invention. The uncovered sewers that are still evident in many undeveloped countries, give one an inkling of what it must have been like even in large cities, only a few centuries ago. The old cobbled streets of these cities had a channel running down the middle of the road that carried away whatever was thrown outdoors. When it rained, the streets were washed clean. In dry periods, whatever was thrown out, remained there.