The History of the Shower: Part 2

As we referenced in a previous post on the history of the shower, people were much too busy working on developing a practical form of showering for most of human history to be thinking about something as advanced – and as attractive – as frameless glass shower enclosures and frameless shower doors.

We covered the earliest advancements in showering, which took us from waterfalls to having someone pour a jug of water over your head, in our first blog post on the History of Showering. Obviously, we still have a long way to go.

It’s All Greek to Me

In A Short History of Showering, Kaushik Patowary tells us about the ancient Greeks who, thanks to aqueducts and advances in plumbing, had indoor showers. They weren’t installed in people’s homes, though. Communal bathing was done at what they called gymnasiums. “Jets of cold water cascaded from the ceiling while bathers stood under it.” Note that there still was no such thing as a hot shower. 

The ancient Romans had showers in their bathhouses, too. Evidence of them can exists in Roman ruins found around the Mediterranean and in modern-day England.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, the popularity of communal bathing did, too. But just because people didn’t want to be naked and vulnerable in public during those turbulent times, it doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be clean. At least occasionally.

“While public baths fell out of use in Mediaeval times, contrary to popular belief, sanitation did not,” Patowary writes. “Indeed, the crusaders brought soap back from the far East to Europe, and soapmaking first became an established trade during the so-called ‘Dark Ages.’ What was lost was the sophisticated water and sewage systems developed by the Greeks and the Romans. People went back to bathing in wooden tubs.”

You could say that was two steps forward and one step back in the development of the modern shower, but it’s really more like two steps forward, two steps back. Never fear, though, the spirit of innovation that would eventually lead to the creation of ultra-sleek, ultra-modern frameless shower doors and frameless glass railings would rise again.

The History of the Shower: Part 1

Long before the technology existed to make lovely frameless glass shower enclosures and frameless shower doors, the technology that made showers possible needed to be developed. 

We take so many things for granted these days – including the ability to, with the simple turn of a knob, enjoy a nice hot shower. But for most of human history, people would have considered what we take for granted to be a luxury. 

Making a Splash 

“Personal hygiene hasn’t always been an integral part of grooming, yet the need to clean oneself easily and quickly was as pressing in ancient times as it is today,” Kaushik Patowary, a contributor to Amusing Planet, writes in A Short History of Showering. “Bathing in a tub was cumbersome, so those who could bathed under waterfalls. These were the first showers used by man.” 

There are, of course, a couple of downsides to bathing under a waterfall: 

  • You can’t find a waterfall around every corner. If you didn’t need a shower when you started looking for one, you most certainly would by the time you found one.
  • Water pressure is important for a good shower, but the pressure from many waterfalls would be enough to crush you before you were swept away in the churning current.
  • And then there is the very important fact that there are no hot-and-cold-running waterfalls, so you wouldn’t be able to adjust the temperature until it’s exactly what you want. Your only options were cold or very cold. 

 

Pouring It On

Patowary credits the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians with the invention of the first “man-made” shower but having someone pour water over your head isn’t really what we consider a shower built by people. It was definitely a step in the right direction – at least for the wealthy. You could have your servant heat the water before pouring it over your head.

Clearly, although they were responsible for introducing an amazing array of useful things – including writing and chariots – the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians didn’t enjoy the benefits of glass shower panels. And they certainly didn’t have the benefit of the kind of service provided by the experts in frameless glass shower enclosures at Florida State Glass and Mirror. Contact us if you are ready to modernize the look of your shower!

How Do You Define Glass?

Here at Florida State Glass and Mirror, we’re not only experts in the creation and installation of clear glass shower enclosures, frameless glass balcony railings and frameless glass shower doors, we are also fans of glass itself!

 When you spend as much time as we do around glass you develop a true appreciation for this amazing and amazingly beautiful material. The more you know about glass, the more you, too, will come to appreciate glass.

What Is Glass?

Sure, we all know what glass is. It’s the stuff that our windows, drinking glasses and seamless shower enclosures are made of. Those are all examples of ways that glass is used, but the question of what it is still remains to be answered.  

  • According to the folks at Chemistry Explained, “Glass is a state of matter. It is a solid produced by cooling molten material so that the internal arrangement of atoms, or molecules, remains in a random or disordered state, similar to the arrangement in a liquid. Such a solid is said to be amorphous or glassy.”

 

“Without glass, the world would be unrecognizable,” Douglas Main, writing for The Atlantic, said, “It’s in the eyeglasses on your face, the lightbulbs in your room, and the windows that let you see outside. But despite its ubiquity, there’s still some debate within the research community about how to define ‘glass.’

 That’s right, despite the fact that glass is just about everywhere, there is no definitive way to define exactly what it is. “Unanswered questions abound, like what makes one type of glass stronger than another, or why certain mixtures produce their unique optical or structural properties. Add to this the nearly infinite varieties of glass—one database lists over 350,000 types of currently known glass, though in principle the number of mixtures is limitless—and you get a surprisingly large and active field of research that regularly produces astounding new products.” Main writes. “Glass has shaped the world more than any other substance, and in many sneaky ways, it’s the defining material of the human era.”

 Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in chemistry to appreciate the beauty and functionality of clear glass shower panels and frameless glass railings. We’ll be honest, we’re not chemists, either, but we do have a wealth of professional expertise when it comes to stylish frameless glass balcony railings and frameless shower enclosures. Contact us if you would like to know more.