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Milestones in Plumbing


The history of plumbing is a long and complicated one. Industrious minds created the first true advances centuries ago beginning with clay sewage pipes. The trajectory of the growth and domination of the industry encompasses the entire globe, with innovation coming from the Egyptians, Romans, French and many other societies around the world. Plumbing has provided the world with easy access to one of our most precious resources: water. It has kept civilizations from deadly epidemics, furthered international industry and ensured the propagation of society as we know it.

Today, as we celebrate World Plumbing Day, Metro looks back at some of the major milestones in the history of plumbing.

4000 – 3000 B.C.

The first known water pipes, made of clay, were discovered in the Indus River (in India) by archeologists. The remnants date back from 4000 – 3000 B.C.

2500 B.C.

Sophisticated plumbing systems were developed by the Egyptians for the pyramids. Copper pipes were used for intricate irrigation and sewage system for the dead to use in the afterlife.

1500 – 1000 B.C.

Industrious minds in Crete invent complex underground sewage and drainage systems.

500 B.C. – 455 A.D.

The Roman Empire was responsible for some of the most complex plumbing systems up to that time. They created bronze and lead piping that fed aqueducts, public baths and underground sewers.

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1644 A.D.

The first cast-iron plumbing line was created at the behest of King Louis XIV. The plumbing delivered water over 155 miles for disbursement to the palace fountains.

1775 A.D.

Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings developed the prototype for the modern toilet. One important advancement made by his design was the inclusion of the S trap – which keeps a small amount of water in the bowl. This kept the smell of sewage down to a minimum – and allowed for easier cleaning.


Plumbing is introduced to the White House on the first floor.


The first city in the country to install an extensive sewer system was Chicago.

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Massachusetts builds the world’s first drinking water treatment systems.


The elevated water tank becomes the most popular design for closed toilets. This is still the most common toilet found in homes today.


A copper shortage leads to the manufacturing of plastic and non-metallic plumbing.


To conserve water, California enacts a law that prohibits the use of toilets that use more than 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf).


Japan introduces the first sensor-flushing toilets. This technology is later utilized for other service fixtures.


The Environmental Policy Act of ’92 was passed by Congress to help conserve water. The policy mandated a maximum amount of water consumption for fixtures.


The EPA creates the WaterSense program providing performance standards for fixtures that conserve water.

Metro is proud of our plumbing professionals and celebrate their work today – and every day. Since 1989 we have been committed to providing the most efficient and experienced plumbing techs in Chattanooga. If you ever need plumbing repair or service, call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 and we’ll schedule an appointment today!

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Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want!  Call us today at (423) 616-1025!

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