DID YOU KNOW!?
Testaments to the ancient plumber echo in the ruins of rudimentary drains, grandiose palaces and bath houses, and in vast aqueducts and lesser water systems of empires long buried. Close to 4,000 years ago, about 1700 B.C., the Minoan Palace of Knossos on the isle of Crete featured four separate drainage systems that emptied into the great sewers constructed of stone.
Terra cotta pipe was laid beneath the palace floor, hidden from view. Each section was about 2 1/2' long, slightly tapered at one end, and nearly 1" in diameter. It provided water for fountains and faucets of marble, gold and silver that jetted hot and cold running water.
Harbored in the palace latrine was the world's first flushing "water closet" or toilet, with a wooden seat and a small reservoir of water. The device, however, was lost for thousands of years amid the rubble of flood and decay. Not until the 16th Century would Sir John Harington invent a "washout" closet anew, similar in principle. And it would take still another 200 years before another Englishman, Alexander Cumming, would patent the forerunner of the toilet used today. The luminous names of Doulton, Wedgwood, Shanks, and Twyford would follow.