The Shower

Those who romanticize English society with their balls, fancy gowns, fox hunts, and other trappings of the good life don’t think about personal hygiene. In fact, bathing was considered a frivolous activity with body cleaning something that happened only every few weeks or months. By the end of the 18th Century, attitudes about cleanliness began to change. But cleaning was a challenge.

William Feetham came up with the idea for the first shower in 1767. It consisted of a water supply that was on the floor. The person taking the shower would stand under a nozzle and pump water from the tub on the floor to the nozzle. The pump consisted of two-foot pedals which the shower would work up and down.

The original shower had some problems. The water was cold. The water was dirty because once the water was released in the shower it was fed back into the tub for reuse. There was an argument at the time that cold water was good for the body.

At first, only the privileged class had showers, but by the 1870s middle-class families began to have showers. Hot water was still some time in the future with the invention of hot water heaters in the early 20th Century.

Over time, showers began to improve and are now a must-have in every home. It’s ironic that few people know of the origin of the shower or its significance. Think about how many ideas, inventions or breakthrough discoveries were conceived while taking a shower. The shower has become the catalyst for innovation.

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“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”– Nolan Bushnell (Businessman)

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