Our plumbing system today is truly a product of human ingenuity. For millennia, humans got water by hiking to the nearest pond, lake, river, or stream and hauling the water to their homes. This is why all of the great ancient civilizations were formed around major rivers because humans need water to survive. As the human population began to grow and humans wanted to settle elsewhere, the need to convey water to homes increased, which fueled the plumbing system.

Webb’s Select-A-Service offers drain cleaning services in the Altonah area. We can unclog your drains and get rid of tree roots so your water can flow freely. We also can jet drain fields and unthaw frozen sewer lines. Below, we’ll take a look in brief at the history of plumbing. Contact us today to get started!


Virtually all of the ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Chinese, had some sort of plumbing. They used it to irrigate their crops, for public baths, to remove wastewater, and to bring in fresh water. In truth, although these systems were rudimentary compared to today’s standards, they were quite effective. The ancient Egyptians used baked clay to make plumbing pipes, and they were the first to use copper pipes. The Greeks had hot and cold water. The Romans built channels to bring water from the mountains to the cities, and they used underground lead pipes to convey water to and fro.

The Dark Ages

The Dark Ages was dark in pretty much every way. After the fall of the Roman Empire, humanity took a step backwards in technology instead of forwards. This holds true for plumbing as well. There was virtually no progress as all in plumbing since the Romans. People primarily used wells for their water, and they would walk with buckets to take the water back to their homes for use. In truth, this system worked pretty well. After all, in the Dark Ages, the water was still fairly clean. The problems arose when well water would be contaminated with wastewater, which is what killed many people.

The Renaissance

Luckily for humanity, we emerged from the Dark Ages and began a “rebirth” in all ways, including plumbing. Queen Elizabeth I had the first flushable toilet but did not use it because it made scary flushing sounds. Boston had an early water system in the mid-1600s. The first shower was invented in 1810. New York City installed the first water mainline so that water would be available to put out fires. Chicago built an early sewer system to curb diseases.


Behind all of these inventions were plumbers, many of whom will never be famous, who innovated and improved upon pipes and plumbing that has made modern society possible today. Let’s face it, without plumbing and sewer services, the population of the world could not be sustained.

When you need an emergency plumber, call Webb’s Select-A-Service 24/7. We can help fix your clogged drains and have your plumbing working once again. Call today for service near Altonah!