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The History of Your Home

Amidst the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we rarely stop to think about the modern conveniences that make our lives so much easier. We flip a switch, and the lights come on; we turn a knob, and hot water comes out of the tap—but have you ever stopped to wonder how these things came to be? In this blog series, we'll be taking a short journey through the history of some of the most common items in our homes. We'll start with heating.

The History of Home Heating

The first recorded use of fire for warmth dates back to 300,000 BC when early humans built fires inside caves for warmth. By 1000 BC, the Greeks and Romans were using rudimentary furnaces to heat their homes. These furnaces consisted of a firebox where wood or coal was burned and a flue that carried the smoke away. It wasn't until the 18th century that home heating began to resemble what we know today.

In 1709, a London inventor named Matthew Boulton Patent received a patent for his "stove." This stove was an updated version of the Roman furnace and was used to heat entire rooms rather than just one area. The stove was so popular that by 1800 there were 30,000 of them in use in England alone.

The next big breakthrough in home heating came in 1885 with the invention of the forced-air furnace. This type of furnace used a blower to force air over hot coils and into the home. The benefits of this design were twofold: it allowed homes to be heated more evenly, and it reduced fuel consumption by 30%.

Today, most homes are heated by forced-air furnaces that run on natural gas or oil. Electric furnaces are also becoming increasingly popular as they are more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. No matter how you heat your home, be thankful you don't have to do it with a wood-burning stove!

The History of Plumbing

The first evidence of plumbing dates all the way back to 4000 BCE with the Minoans on the island of Crete. They used lead pipes to transport water to their cities. By 1000 BCE, the Ancient Greeks were using clay pipes to bring water to their homes. The Roman civilization made significant advances in plumbing technology and is credited with bringing running water and public baths to Europe and North Africa.

It wasn't until the late 1600s that plumbing began to appear in American homes in any meaningful way. This was due in large part to English colonists who brought their knowledge of plumbing with them when they settled on the East Coast. By the early 1800s, more Americans were installing indoor plumbing in their homes as cities began to grow and new inventions made plumbing more accessible and affordable.

The History of Water Heaters

While indoor plumbing was becoming more common in American homes, there was still one major problem: how to heat water for bathing. It wasn't until 1868 that English inventor Sir William Siemens created a design for the first internal combustion engine, which ultimately led to the development of the first gas-powered water heater. In 1889, an American named Edwin RU Ruud patented his own design for a storage tank-type water heater, which quickly became the preferred type of water heater in America thanks to its efficiency and reliability. Electric water heaters soon followed, becoming increasingly popular in rural areas where natural gas wasn't readily available.

The next time you go to change the temperature on your thermostat or open a faucet so hot water can flow out, think about where these simple luxuries originated.