The First Ever Showers

It’s very probably true to say that the first ever showers were nature’s own; namely, waterfalls. In hot and warm countries, or hot times of year, bathers would stand under waterfalls to cool off and clean themselves just as kids like to do today on a hot day.

It is thought that ancient people would reproduce the effect by pouring jugs of water over their heads and these were often very cold as some ancient civilisations believed in the hot-cold refreshing nature of cold water just as we may do today after a sauna, for example.

But the earliest evidence of what we know loosely today as a shower comes from early upper class Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies which had indoor shower rooms where servants would bathe their masters in the privacy of their own homes. But water was carried, not pumped, into the rooms and there was no mechanical shower, as such.

However, the ancient Greeks were the first people to have mechanical showers thanks to their aqueducts, sewerage and lead piping which allowed water to be pumped into and out of large communal shower rooms. These were open to all classes of people. Ancient shower room relics have been discovered at the site of the ancient city of Pergamum and can be seen in pottery illustrations dating back to the time.

These depictions are similar to a modern locker-room shower, and include bars to hang one’s clothing. The Romans followed the Greek design and took it to a higher level still – with bathhouses throughout their ancient empire. But after the fall of the Roman Empire and the ensuing dark ages, the shower too went into the background. In fact, it wasn’t really until 1860 that the first real shower was used by the French army, which put communal showers in some barracks. This system was then put into use in 1872 by François Merry-Delabost, a French doctor, when he was surgeon-general in a prison in Rouen.

The shower has come a long way since, of course. Now generally accepted as more hygienic and environmentally-friendly than a bath, few of us feel we could live for long without our regular morning power shower! The technology has improved greatly too as you’ll see if you buy digital mixer showers from Mira, for example.
The power and the constancy of the temperature would be a dream come true for most previous generations. So next time you enjoy one of your Mira Showers, remember you’re standing on the shoulders of giants!


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