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One of the most common questions that people ask is, “when was the shower invented?” The answer to this question is not as simple as you might think.
There are many records, both historical and archaeological, from across the world, which describe how different cultures have used water to clean themselves for centuries.
This blog post will explore some of these examples and see what they can tell us about when the shower was invented! Along with this, you can also check our recently published guide on the best shower heads for low water pressure and the best handheld shower heads review this will make your decision-making process easy.
The First Shower
Taking a look at the first shower requires us to look at ancient Egyptian culture. The earliest mention of a shower in Egypt was found on the walls of temples and tombs dating as far back as 2000 BC, but it wasn’t until 500 AD that they were actually discovered to have existed!
This temple painting from an unknown tomb shows two women taking their baths while servants pour water over them using jars. This is most likely how rich Egyptians who could afford bathing attendants would bathe themselves – though poorer people had to improvise with what water resources they had available (such as rivers).
It’s not surprising then that these early Egyptian showers are called “bathhouses” by archaeologists today!
The first archaeological evidence for public bathing anywhere in the world comes from Trier, Germany.
The First Shower Patent
Although ancient and tribal people took showers on a regular basis, the first time a public shower was shown in Western literature came from an 1854 patent (filed in England) for “A New and Improved Method of Applying Water to the Body.”
The inventor, James Henry Atkinson, created this contraption with an attached hand-held nozzle called A Personable Comfortable Bath or Shower Bath. He thought it could be used by maids working at upper-class homes!
In 1880 John Harvey Kellogg unveiled his own version – but he wanted people to take only cold showers because hot water would cause them more harm than good. This is when we know that not everyone agrees on how best to bathe oneself…
So are you ready for your next shower?
The First Designer Shower
The first designer shower, the English Regency, was born in 1872 and was a luxurious bathing experience, complete with an overhead showerhead.
The First American Shower Head
In the early 1800s, Americans were using horse or cow skin bags to move water from large containers into smaller buckets for washing themselves because they had not yet invented showers. In 1850 British expatriate Joel Parish patented what he called “A new handheld shower bath.”
As late as 1889, Stearns & Foster Company of Ludlow Mass. created their first model: The Hydrobathe – it only supplied cold water! And finally, in 1893, we see them change this and offer hot running water too… so at least there is some progress on how humans have bathed over time.
So, when was the shower invented? The answer is a little murky. It seems that the first use of running water to wash away dirt dates back to ancient Rome in around 50 AD, with people washing on their own outside homes and sometimes using more elaborate baths inside.
In 1884 an American named Joel Houghton patented his idea for “a portable carriage containing a water tank or barrel, pumps, hose pipe…to be drawn into the bath by hand.”
This invention became known as “the steam-powered fire engine” because it had two tanks – one full of cold water and another hot. One could then take turns sitting under its powerful spray while being sprayed from both sides! By 1912 this contraption would
I am a full-time professional architect who is passionate about all kinds of stuff design and construction. Now I share my advice and experience in the architecture and home improvement industries. In MAV SoHo I recommend the best shower heads to help you achieve your goals and simply get the job done at an affordable cost.