Plumbing History for the Buildings of the Northeast

old-outhousesWhen we think of American history, plumbing is often not the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s unfortunate because the Northeastern United States has a rich and vibrant plumbing history that shows numerous plumbing innovations.

From pipes made out of wooden logs to technology advancing far enough to allow running water in private homes, the Northeast is steeped in plumbing history.

Some of the most notable historical plumbing events include:

The 1840’s: Indoor Plumbing at the Tremont Hotel

During this period, travel by boat and train was extremely popular. There was a surge in hotels being built to accommodate travelers throughout the Northeast.

Specifically, the Tremont Hotel in Boston was a very popular destination for many. We now know the Tremont as the first hotel with indoor plumbing. After the Tremont invested in indoor plumbing, other hotels followed suit. In this time period, the only indoor plumbing available was at various hotels; private homes still relied on outhouses.

1842: The Croton Aqueduct System

After the American Revolutionary War, the population of Manhattan and New York started to grow. With that growth came the need for more fresh water since a lack of clean water at that time led to disease in the area and an epidemic of Yellow Fever and Cholera.

After the Great Fire of New York in 1835, it was clear that something needed to be done to meet the water demands of the rapidly growing city.

Thus began the construction of the Croton Aqueduct. For the time, it was an extremely large and complex project. Even today, it’s an engineering feat when you consider the size and work involved with building it. As one of the first major aqueducts, the Croton line transported water a total or 41 miles using only the force of gravity and forever changed the landscape of New York City.

1855: New Homes and Private Bathrooms

traditional-wellAs plumbing technology advanced, many homeowners were still using outhouses to relieve themselves.

However, a more convenient technology was just around the corner. During this time, new homes were being outfitted with private, indoor bathrooms. These bathrooms worked by using pipes to pump water from the laundry to cisterns in the attic.

Once the faucet was opened, or the toilet handle was flushed, water would flow down from the attic into the bathroom sink or toilet. The wastewater was then carried out to a very basic septic system. While this system was far from perfect, it is the basis on which almost all modern bathrooms are built upon.

The 1870’s: Wood Pipes

As the demand for indoor plumbing grew, more needed to be done regarding sewer lines and urban pipes. At this time, it was common for pipes to be made from bored out logs. Most of these logs were hollowed out from auguring by hand or burning, and many of these wood pipes were still in use well into the 1900’s.

Looking back through history, it’s easy to spot the innovations and advancements in the plumbing industry. We wouldn’t be where we are today without many of the inventions that were created hundreds of years ago.

When you need plumbing or water heater service in Vernon that is efficient, advanced and reliable, call the experts at Water Heater Medic at 860-896-3342.