The idea of showering to bathe has been around a lot longer than the fancy showers installed in homes today. The first shower was provided by nature, in the form of a waterfall. Even back then, people figured out running water was more effective for bathing than standing water.
Soon, people were figuring out they could bring the shower to themselves with jugs of water. Wealthy Egyptians had servants dump the water on them, instead of doing it for themselves. However, they didn’t have water heaters to warm up the water before their showers, so cold showers were the norm. Sounds a bit like the Ice Bucket Challenge!
Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations had rudimentary shower rooms with basic drainage systems. The Greeks expanded on this design later. They created a sewer system that could pump water in and out of communal shower rooms. These rooms were similar to the locker rooms of today’s society in that they were social areas. The Romans also built many bathhouses and an advanced sewer system.
A contraption similar to the shower used today was finally built in 1767 in London. A pump forced water into a basin above the bather’s head, where they pulled a chain to release the water. Expanding upon this design, the English Regency Shower was more effective. It stood over ten feet tall and was made up of many metal pipes.
By 1850, reliable plumbing allowed showers to be connected to running water. Over time they continued to change, but were usually only found in homes of wealthy people. In America during the 1920’s, ownership of showers finally spread to the rest of society.