Southern Trust bathroom remodels make your business our business
Dec 17, 2017
Our latest service offered to the people of Roanoke and the New River Valley is building the bathrooms of their dreams. We can make renovations or construction as simple or as complex as you want. It can be modern, or it can be more traditional in design.
But it won’t be that traditional. As we build the bathrooms of the future, it’s worth taking a look at the evolution of the bathroom. What is now the most popular room in the house has come a long way.
It began with baths
The concept of the bathroom as we know it began, well, with baths. Ancient societies in the Middle East, Asia and throughout the Roman Empire, prized natural springs, and water was crudely piped into large communal tubs for group enjoyment and hygiene. This concept spread over time into what is now Europe and England. The city of Bath, for instance, was built around the namesake tubs that popped up around underground reservoirs of hot mineral water.
By the middle of the 15th century, Bath had become one of the biggest cities in England, but the evolution of the private bath was outpaced by more immediate needs – good toilets and sewer systems that could handle the waste of the exploding populations of English and European cities. In fact, during the great medieval plagues, many bathhouses were closed in European cities because of fears – not entirely unreasonable – that disease was spread by the bathhouses. Of more pressing concern was the growing lack of clean water because of poor sanitation. Generally speaking, Europeans practiced relatively good hygiene until the wholesale closure of public baths. Bathing became sporadic and odors masked by perfumes until indoor plumbing improvements in the 1800s. But Americans, as usual, one-upped their European counterparts. Many travelers to what would become the U.S. commented on the malodorous nature of the colonists.
As cities grew in both the ancient East and what is now Europe, it became apparent that waste disposal needed to be centralized as population density increased. The first squat toilets appeared as early as 1,500 years before the modern era. There was little change in public toilet types – which increased in use during the Roman Empire and were far from the private affairs we expect today – for generations.
During medieval times, more affluent people did their business in the privacy of their homes or bedrooms with the help of chamber pots, the contents of which were whisked away by servants on the “Privy Council.” In some English castles, however, chutes carried away the personal waste of kings and queens and their top minions. Royals and upper classes thought little of the first flushing toilet, invented circa 1600. They still preferred their waste be discharged into chamber pots and disposed out of mind and out of sight. The S-trap, invented by a Scotsman during the 1770s, was among the most important toilet advances. The trap retained water, which prevented the upwelling of noxious sewage stench. This led to increasing installation of toilets within homes, which in the 19th century finally prompted cities like London to finally construct sewers for the collection of human waste.
Opening the water closet
Here across the pond, the first U.S. sewerage systems were built in New York City and Chicago by 1860. This prompted growth in the number of houses with indoor toilets and piped water, and the modern incarnation of the “water closet” was born.
Advances in science and the understanding of pathogens led European and American societies to conclude that private toilets and baths were a necessity that was no longer the sole province of the wealthy. Sears Roebuck began selling residential showers in the early 20th century. The post-World War II housing boom made indoor plumbing a mainstay across America.
We take it for granted, but advances in plumbing and bathrooms greatly enhanced human health and addressed serious public health threats.
Bathrooms were once considered a luxury, and in ways they can be considered luxuries again. From heated tile to whirlpool tubs and beautiful vanities, we can make your water-closet into one of the nicest rooms of the house.