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How plumbing changed the western world

Plumbing is one of those modern conveniences that we think has only been around for a little while but has actually been around for a very long time. Today, we don’t often think about just how different modern indoor plumbing has made our lives. We think of our world as being some amazing anomaly that has never existed before and we are simultaneously right and also very wrong. It is true, of course, that the world we live in today is far more complex than any other civilization in history. We live in a time of unparalleled complexity and intricacy when it comes to both social systems and machines. Even at the height of a civilization like the Roman empire, there never existed such a powerful and dizzying array of technological complexity that ran basic living functions. There was no internet, for example, in the Roman empire although it is fun to imagine. Civilizations like ancient China were incredibly intricate socially but they didn’t have such complicated machines to run so many different institutions and industries. But, as different as we are, in many ways we are exactly like this civilizations in ways that might surprise you. They had plumbing services and the heating unit and furnace repair and faucet repair and all sorts of machines and repair systems that most people today aren’t aware are so old. There were plenty of slightly less complicated solutions to problems that have been around for much longer than we believe they have. But maybe to understand this phenomenon better, we’d better take a look at at it as a whole. We should understand how these difference conveniences came to be in the ancient world so we can better understand how they work in the modern world. By doing this, perhaps we can get a better sense of how civilizations have changed throughout history and how we are all connected, rather than separated, by a shared sense of humanity. The people of the past were people after all, just like us. We can mythologize the past all we want but at the end of the day we are living in a society that was built by people who all operate on the same handful of fundamental physical and psychological principles.
Plumbing way back
Indoor plumbing goes back a long time. While things like faucet repair and other slightly more modern improvements have pretty definitive start dates, indoor plumbing itself goes back almost to the beginning of recorded history. There is pretty good evidence that ancient civilizations as far back as ancient Sumer and other near east kingdoms had fairly simple indoor plumbing in their larger buildings. This is important in regards to historical context because Sumer and its surrounding civilizations are considered the first sedentary civilizations in human history. That means that we’ve had things like indoor plumbing, and eventually faucet repair and the like, for as long as we’ve stable civilizations. It wasn’t plumbing like we have it today, of course, but it was still present. There’s even evidence a little later on of public sanitation treatment of the water to make it healthier for the general population. This is a huge historical discovery and it extends even to bigger remembered civilizations like the Chinese and the Romans. Civic care, then, has proved to be a big part of even so called ancient civilizations and has driven innovation in ways we never quite expected. Extending beyond the classics period, we get into the middle ages for Europe, Africa, and Asia, all of which saw advances in homecare, heating and plumbing technology. There is further evidence of experimentation with public water in these centuries although exactly what that experimentation was depended largely on the region it was happening. While western Europe had fractured into smaller nations, in Asia and Africa large kingdoms were having much more luck with transportation and utilization of their water sources. When Europe rose from the ashes a few centuries later, they’d absorb a lot of these inventions which would eventually lead to faucet repair, improvements in furnaces and the like. These would be further augmented by improvements in the industrial revolution and thus the modern world was born.

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