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A Very Brief History of Shower

Updated on May 16, 2013
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Summer is knocking at the door and I cannot stop thinking about those hot days of sunshine and of … sweat. We all get sweaty, dusty, sticky during a hot summer day and, even though we might simply enjoy being by the Mediterranean all summer long, just jumping in the turquoise blue waters and enjoying the refreshing late afternoon swim, we all know that this would not be easily possible. However, what is possible even in a basically equipped home is to take a well-deserved... shower. The sweat and dust gathered in all those hasty long summer days that we all need to survive through - especially if living in the big city – can be washed away only by a shower and by a shower only! Whether a morning shower or an evening one, it simply comes as a blessing or as a relief. But what do we know about shower? Did any of you ever wonder who invented this enjoyable and absolutely useful device? When it was for the first time used and who enjoyed it mostly?

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Well, first of all, if allowed to state so, nature itself invented the shower. If we think of waterfalls falling down the rocks, washing everything away, cleaning one from the top to the bottom, then we simply get the image of a 'proto-shower' that our very first ancestors surviving on earth even before the dawn of time might have been using, enjoying the benefits of it whenever nature allowed them to. However, I cannot imagine the Neanderthals taking a regular shower every day!

Girls taking a shower - the image documents a common reality in the Greek Antiquity, standing proof of the existence of shower back in those days
Girls taking a shower - the image documents a common reality in the Greek Antiquity, standing proof of the existence of shower back in those days | Source

Those who brought the shower into human dwellings, in a well-engineered manner, providing with absolutely all the comforts that we are enjoying today – including some very efficient sewage system – were the Ancient Greeks. Yes, ladies and gentlemen! The one and only Ancient Greeks brought to the world this civilizing miracle as well! Due to their remarkable engineering discoveries, the shower came into being, becoming a habit or a comfort available for all.

Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. Without aqueducts, showers would have not been possible back then.
Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. Without aqueducts, showers would have not been possible back then. | Source

Those who took it even further were the Romans. The Romans liked the idea that the Ancient Greeks came with, as they liked and adopted mainly all of their ideas. What the Romans did was to 'export' showers all around the provinces that were falling under their control. It is so that the showers were brought to England as well during those times in history when these lands were knows and Britannia, meaning long time ago, in the 1st - 5th centuries AD. Nowadays, though, the balance of power has significantly changed; it is the Brits that gave us the very efficient and modern Mira showers. However, back in those days they only knew the Roman baths.

Roman Bathers
Roman Bathers | Source

What Romans also developed was taking a shower every day. Plus, the shower rooms that they had been building on the lands that they conquered were for absolutely everyone, whether they were the elite or common people. You might very well imagine that those common showers constituted just as many opportunities to socialize. Therefore, through adopting and exporting showers, Romans actually brought people together, so much that nowadays we could humorously find even a slogan for it: 'Showers – connecting people!'.

 Medieval Morons
Medieval Morons | Source

In a more serious note, though, I must continue the story by revealing that, along with the Roman Empire's decay, the shower also fell into the decay and gradual disappearance, till it eventually reached oblivion … The pipe and sewage systems, along with the heating systems as well, got destroyed at one point. Since the infrastructure and the facilities vanished, there was a loss of interest in the habit as well, and it is so that Europe stepped into what we know nowadays as The Dark Age (The Middle Ages). We have all heard stories about the Middle Ages, be it by reading it in books or depicting it in the movies. There was a lot of filth during the Middle Ages – as much as to contribute to the spreading of diseases. The population of Europe faced some serious threats during that era; there was plague, but showers ... there were none, unfortunately!

A 19th Century Regency Era Shower
A 19th Century Regency Era Shower | Source

But, then again, along with Modernity, things started to shine once again and humans started to shine of cleanliness also. Shower reappeared in the scene. No one knows who brought the shower back in people's lives, but what is for certain is that it happened at the beginning of the 19th century.

The first modern shower that could have competed with the complex engineering standards of the Ancient Greeks and Romans was the English Regency Shower and it was, indeed, a good omen that Modernity brought back into people's lives. And no wonder it happened in England! It is where best of the showers are to be found up until today!


Bath House at Wimpole-Hall
Bath House at Wimpole-Hall | Source

Enjoy your shower!

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Any hub that has Monty Python in it is a winner in my book.

      Interesting facts. The Romans and their aqueduct system....that was remarkable engineering.

      I now know all there is to know about showers. Thank you for that. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Hehe... yes, Monty Python rules! As for the Romans, well, they did offer a lot to humanity with their engineering ingenuity despite the fact that we remember them mostly for their nasty emperors!!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Interesting facts and you even made it more fascinating with this hub! I cannot imagine a day without shower and so thanks to the geniuses of this remarkable invention and to you for the well researched and enjoyable hub.

      Up+++ and sharing!

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      Wow. Very interestng. I love showers! I am shockd to know that they date back to the Greeks and Romans. It makes sense though, theywere very advanced for their time.... thanks for some great info.

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      @CrisSp: Hi, CrisSp! And thanks for the wonderful words, sharing&voting up! It's a pleasure for me to know that you liked the hub! :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      @DanaTeresa: Hi, DanaTeresa! Glad you liked the hub! I thank you for the wonderful comment! As for the Romans and Greeks, I totally agree! It's just great that they invented the shower ... and who knows how many other useful things! :)

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Interesting information about the shower. I would not even think of it being invented by someone, but it sure has been. Thank you for sharing this with us Mike. Voted up interesting and sharing!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Holy Grail... my favorite movie. :)

      The Romans and the Greeks (along with the Egyptians and the Chinese) are really truly innovators. We take showers for granted, but now upon learning about its origins, I am more amazed. Thanks for sharing. Up and interesting. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
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      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      @iguidenetwork: Glad to know that, Iguidenetwork! I also like the Monty Python a lot! Thanks for the comment and the votes! :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      @livingsta: Hi, Livingsta! Glad you found it interesting, it's always nice to know that! :) Thanks for voting and sharing! ;) Cheers!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting! Today we take showers for granted. For many years I preferred taking a bath above taking a shower, until I learned the difference. Bathing makes me tired and sleepy, while showering refreshes and gives me energy.

      Imagine the smell of those people of the Middle Ages, and more so among the nobility and in palaces, because of the power they've used as deodorant. But even until a couple of decades ago civilized people down here believed that one bath per week was sufficient.

      Great hub about showers and their origin :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Hi MartieCoetser! Thank you for your wonderful comment! And your insight on the Middle Ages is great! Also, thanks for explaining the difference between the effect of taking a shower and that of bathing - it's always good to know! :) Cheers!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Dear Mike : Good luck in you're freelance writing. You write well. Thank you for this educational hub about showers. Tarzan had it made. He had elephants, and waterfalls. Thank you for reading my hub about pets. Wishing you a cool summer. GBY.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Mike,

      You are an awesome writer. Not only do you provide useful and interesting information, you do so in a reader-friendly way.

      Thumbs Up!

      Kim

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      @ocfireflies: Hi, Kim! Thank you for your very nice comment! I'm flattered&glad that you enjoyed my hub! :) Mike

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I had no idea that showers went that far back... that image on the Greek Hydria is very cool !!!!! Great post, Mike!! :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Thanks, many things come from a remote past I guess.. we just don't know it many times :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      A great idea for a hub. I have to confess I never thought about where the shower came from but did enjoy your facts.

      You certainly traced the shower from the beginning. Who would have thought? I always thought it was baths for the Romans.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      We sure smell better than Neanderthals, lol! And I enjoy the crazy Monty Python!

      I'm learning a lot here and almost submerged myself with this plentiful "shower" information. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image
      Author

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      @tillsontitan

      Thanks for stopping by Mary. Glad you found my hub interesting.

    • Mike Robbers profile image
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      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      @coffeegginmyrice

      Thanks again for your comment.

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