Today we often take our modern sewer system for granted, but some of our ancestors did not have this same convenience! Take a look at these fun historical facts –

  1. Who was the inventor of the first flushing toilet? The first modern flush toilet was invented by Sir John Harington of England in 1586 – however he was laughed at for the ridiculous idea. Flushing toilets did not become popular until the 1880’s when plumber Thomas Crapper updated the system  and where the famous nickname, “the Crapper,” came from. BUT, flush toilets can actually be traced back 5,000 years ago with several ancient civilizations, like the Romans!
  1. When was the first toilet paper invented? During the Song Dynasty, 2-foot-by-3-foot paper sheets were the made specifically for the emperor’s “toilet time”, although toilet paper did not begin circulation until 1857. In 1890, Scott Paper decided to put toilet paper on a roll, but were too embarrassed by its risky nature that they refused to put their name on it. Now, Americans average using 49,000 sheets of toilet papers, equivalent to about 2.8 miles, each year!
  1. What is the world’s oldest Sewer system? We can trace the oldest sewer system all the way back to 4000 B.C.E. in the Indus River Valley in India! The Indus River Valley is not alone, evidence of indoor plumbing can also be found being used by the ancient Egyptians in 2500 B.C.E.
  1. Where was the first public water main installed? After finally realizing that water was a perfect vehicle for the spread of disease, New York City installed the first public water main in 1830! After NYC took this first step, many other cities followed suit.

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