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The History of the Shower: Part 3

Bathtubs were the only game in town for most of human history. Sometimes, they would be set off from the rest of the room where they were located by a screen to offer some privacy in the days before there were actual rooms dedicated to the act of bathing and person hygiene, but even as the 18th century was dawning, we still weren’t even close for the need for someone to invent the shower curtain, let alone something as advanced in both form and function as frameless glass shower enclosures.

Things Are Heating Up!

As Kaushik Patowary explains in a post about the History of Showering found on Amusing Planet, it was advances in medicine and epidemiology that spurred a renewed interest in keeping clean.

As Patowary points out, though, there were drawbacks. “Bathtubs were large and needed a lot of water to fill, which had to be heated and carried to the bathroom from the kitchen in buckets. It involved a lot of labor.”

It wasn’t until 1767, when William Feetham was given a patent for the first mechanized shower. It never really caught on for two reasons: 

  1. The water in its tank was used over and over again over the course of your shower, so the cleaner you got, the dirtier the water that you were showering in was.
  2. It used cold water. (Ironically, Feetham was a stove maker.)

 

The first hot shower, the English Regency Shower, came along in 1810, but it still reused the water. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that things really started heating up.

“In 1868, an English painter named Benjamin Waddy Maughan invented a water heater that, for the first time, did not use solid fuel. Instead, water was heated using hot gases generated by a burner. Unfortunately, Maughan forgot to add a ventilation causing the burner to sometimes explode,” Patowary’s history of showering reports.

“Maughan’s design was improved by a Norwegian mechanical engineer named Edwin Ruud, and in 1889, the first safe, automatic, gas-powered water heater was invented and a new era of warm showers began,” Patowary says.

It still took time for not only the technology but the cultural attitudes surrounding bathing and showering evolved enough to usher in the era of the clear glass shower enclosure.

If you are more interested in the future of showers – particularly your shower – and would like to talk about frameless glass shower panel options, please contact us.

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!

Clear Glass Showers Are on Trend

Reimagining your bathroom – one of the most important rooms in the home, rivaling the kitchen – can be an important step. If you are planning to go all out and modernize that most sacred of spaces, the experts at Florida State Glass and Mirror, a leading supplier of frameless glass shower enclosures, would love to help.

Frameless shower doors and glass shower panels are beautiful enough to land your bathroom on the pages of an upscale architectural magazine.

“A pristinely remodeled shower is the dream of many,” The DC Post reports in a story titled “Bathroom Guide: How to Remodel Your Shower.” “You can successfully remodel your shower with proper planning and effort. Proper natural light is important to make your shower feel warm and welcoming. For this, you can use frameless glass walls with a corner shower unit. Instead of wooden framing, you can also buy a frameless shower door if needed.”

If you are planning to go all out, make sure to add some special finishing touches to your clear glass shower enclosure.

Among the trends recommended by The DC Post are:

  • Incorporating a corner shower

“A corner shower is one of the best shower remodel ideas for smaller bathrooms,” according to The DC Post. “You can add a quarter-round corner shower with a sliding or swinging door. This will save you from facing door obstructions. You can enhance air circulation by raising the ceiling. Similarly, it will let natural light and air into your shower. It will also reduce the growth of fungi and germs in the area.”

  • Consider getting rid of the bathtub, especially if the children are grown. 

“One of the hot trends in modern baths is to eliminate the tub, using only the shower to accommodate a less leisurely lifestyle,” according to The DC Post. “And speaking of hot trends, another is to make them large enough to bring a guest with you – he or she can even have a separate showerhead.”

  • Installing stone and tile in mostly monochromatic color schemes.

If you have any questions about shower enclosure glass, please contact us. We would love to help!