Before the invention of hot water and daily showering in the comfort of our home, the bathing ritual was quite different. Hygiene has always been a crucial activity that goes back long before the beginning of civilization, but for a long time bathing (versus showering) was the only available option. Nonetheless, the first known natural form of shower was obviously the rain but the waterfall was already appreciated as a natural version of the shower. We were curious as to when what we call a shower was introduced and how we progressed from there to the custom steam shower systems of today.
Egyptians and Greeks
The ancient Egyptians of high rank had already installed an indoor form of drainage system allowing them to shower by pouring water with human help. It also has been observed that wealthy ancient Greeks were familiar with the comfort of showering in a similar way to the modern era, thanks to a sophisticated drainage system and lead pipes. For some time, the importance of hygiene was reserved for the elite who could afford the luxury of regular bathing. In later years, when the plague was ravaging Europe, water had begun to be perceived as impure and responsible for the spread of disease. Instead of bathing, the elite would rather heavily perfume themselves to mask their body odors.
The 18th Century – Present
The modern shower can be attributed to a man named William Feetham who in 1767 was the first to introduce a mechanical system of pumping water from a high basin with a chain that allowed the user to make the water flow. Almost a century later, Francois Merry Delabost, a prison doctor in northern France, ordered the replacement of baths with showers as a way to improve the prisoners’ hygiene and to save water and time. He was the first to invent the heated shower using a steam engine. The system allowed up to eight people at a time to shower with only 20 liters of water. The original prototype was continuously improved over time. It was the plumbing advancements at the end of the 19 century that brought us the shower that we know today. Common showers were initially intended for the army before being introduced in bathhouses accessible to the general public.
Indoor plumbing was introduced to the homes of the wealthy in the early 1900s before becoming widespread in the 1930s when people began to have access to running water in their own homes. The modern shower did not become available until the 1960s with the introduction of electric showers. From the 80s onwards the shower began to be trendy and different accessories and jet designs were developed, which eventually replaced the bath.
From a practical standpoint, the shower is more cost-effective, faster and generally more hygienic than the bath. Over time the bath has become more of an occasional relaxation accessory and shower cabins are often preferred in modern constructions, even combined with a bathtub. Nowadays, we have smart showers and we experience the increasingly high-tech features and advanced wellness benefits they offer.
The future of the shower has already started with ThermaSol. As a leader in smart shower systems, we understand that the perfect shower is one that matches your lifestyle. Today, the shower is a true wellness accessory. Fully customizable, it allows you to re-energize and relax and offers endless options. With the Thermatouch Control Smart Touchscreen, a voice-activated technology gem, your in-home steam shower becomes a multi-sensory experience and offers ultra-precise temperature, sound and rainhead settings, perfectly integrated into the ThermaSol Wellness packages.
ThermaSol is constantly innovating to create a unique experience and make this daily routine an exceptional journey.
Further reading about the history of bathing and plumbing, we recommend:
Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization.