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The History of Showering

Updated: Apr 14


In everyday life, there are things that we take for granted and showering is undoubtedly one of them. So sit back, grab a cuppa and learn a bit of history about showering. It might just make you enjoy yours that wee bit more.


If you google "who invented the shower", you will be given the answer "William Feetham", as William patented the first mechanical shower in 1767. However, showers were in existence way before this time, but just in a different way.


When our ancestors used to live in caves and constructed huts, they used their human ingenuity, to work out that the best way for them to thoroughly clean themselves, was to hunt down the nearest waterfall, for a powerful blast of water.


Not everyone was lucky enough to live near a waterfall, so unfortunately, those unfortunates had to wait till the invention of the jug, before they could enjoy (or endure, whatever way you want to look at it), the cascading flow of COLD water over their heads. These showers, could literally take your breath away. Although those living in hotter climates might have welcomed the cool down.


The "Jug Shower" as we will call it, dates back to the time of ancient Egypt and was the first man-made shower that allowed the wealthy to enjoy the privilege of bathing in the privacy of their own home. These Jug Showers were operated by slaves pouring jugs of water from above.


The Greeks, not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, invented their own unique way to shower. They installed indoor showers, using advanced aqueducts and plumbing. Jets of cold water would cascade from the ceiling and everyone stood underneath it.


Although at the time, public baths was the norm to look after one's hygiene needs, this changed with the rise in Christianity, as bathing naked in front of the opposite sex, was seen to entice lust, which according to Christianity, was a sin.


By the 18th Century, people looked after their hygiene by using bath tubs, but this involved a lot of labour, as it took a lot of water to heat and carry from the kitchen to the bath and repeat the process, until there was enough water to bathe.








This is where William Feetham comes into play, with the first patented mechanical shower.


William was an English stove and heat manufacturer. His design worked by the bather standing in the basin, with an overhead water tank. The bather using a hand pump, pumped the water from the basin to the tank, then pulled a chain to release all of the water onto the bather's head. This was repeated until the bather was clean. Well sort of......


The invention had it's downsides, as each time the water was reused, the water was getting colder and dirtier, so the bather was merely putting dirty cold water through the system and down onto their head, but it was a start.....


In 1804, Philadelphia was the talk of the world, when it was the first city ever to use cast iron pipes for it's water and sewage system. In 1869, Chicago caught up unveiling water and sewage engineering that by-passed Philadelphia.


The 1920's saw the start of showers being used in homes throughout the USA, however, some rural homes didn't have indoor running water until the 1950/1960's.


Many European countries, including Ireland, were way behind the USA in their interest in indoor showering and it wasn't until the 1970/1980's that showering became common in private homes. When you think about it, we really were a good bit behind the USA, with the exception of Sweden, who really took showering and bathing to the heart of the home.


So let's learn from our past mistakes and let's take a look at what the USA and Canada have been doing with their showers and why !!!


The most common problem with bathrooms in private homes, is the simple fact that showers can leak. This can be because the shower door hasn't been fitted correctly, or water escapes through the grout, or seal at the bottom of the tiles where they meet the tray.


Unfortunately, the first sign of a leaking shower, is when the water enters another room, usually the kitchen, causing serious damage to both the bathroom and the kitchen.


When Joe McGrath from Neptune Bathing, started to explore the market in both Northern America and Canada, he found that they had been using full encapsulating showers, with no tiles or grout.


This intrigued Joe, as it made perfect sense. You don't find anyone tiling a bath, so why would you tile a shower?


Joe returned to Ireland and decided to design a whole new version of the concept and now thanks to Joe's foresight, customers throughout Ireland have been enjoying years and years of leak free showering.


The design of the leak free shower, doesn't take away from the beauty of the bathroom, as they are modern and virtually maintenance free (self cleaning, which is a big plus), but they can be tiled around, so you can still enjoy the design of tiles in your bathroom, without the worry of the water leaking through.


So let's compare...... Haven't we come far ?

Neptune Bathing - Leak Free Shower Enclosure



We will leave you with a Quick Fact ! Did you know that 30% of showers leak in the first year, but a whopping 70% of showers leak in the first 3 years ?


If you have any of your cuppa left and you would like to know more, feel free to browse our range and enjoy your new showering experience.


Have a great day,

The team in Neptune Bathing 😉









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