How Did People Bathe Before Hot Running Water?

By: Tim Carr
These days we have come to expect a certain standard of living as the norm. It is somewhat understandable that we take modern appliances and the advances in technology for granted as we have seen so many dramatic changes in the last decade never mind the last century to the extent that we consider now consider progress to be inevitable.

However, we would only need to cast our minds back a short time to see how different our lives were in the not so distant past. It wasn't uncommon in the last century for people to go weeks or even months without washing. In fact, people were generally unaware of the link between hygiene and health. Not so today. A Norwegian engineer by the name of Edwin Ruud invented the automatic storage water heater in 1889 which eventually led to the invention of showers.

Nonetheless, progress took its time back then so even after the war entire families often shared bath water. The water for the bath was heated in appliances on the stove and then poured directly into the bath with jugs. The bath also had to be emptied in the same way. Not many of us today would be able to cope with that in our busy schedules.

Today, we get up in the morning in our centrally heated homes and switch on the kettle for our coffee; we turn up the heating if it's too cold, run a hot bath or take a shower without a thought. Hot water is readily available on tap and in constant supply. Can we imagine what our lives would be like without it?

There is little doubt that how we live now bears no resemblance to how our parents and grandparents lived only a short while ago. Take something like central heating for example. The first form of central heating was invented by the Romans around 2000 years ago and was a crude form of under-floor heating. It was hugely labour-intensive and so affordable only by the affluent. It wasn't until the 1960's and 1970's, only a few decades ago, that new inventions led to central heating becoming a feature in around 30% of homes in the UK. Prior to that heating was usually by a coal fire or stove and was generally limited to one or two rooms in the house, often the kitchen, where most of the family congregated most of the time.

There is little doubt that hot water technologies have dramatically changed our lives. They have improved our level of hygiene and consequently our health as well as our life expectancy. Today we don't have to be wealthy to stay clean, warm and comfortable in our homes. Over 90% of homes in the UK now have central heating and even the smallest of homes has a bath or a shower with hot running water.

Modern water boilers are the culmination of years of innovation and research. They come in different forms to suit different purposes and are highly efficient, safe, and relatively inexpensive to run. They have also dramatically changed the way we live and indeed, expect to live our lives.
Top Searches on
Bathroom Decor
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Bathroom Decor
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles