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September 15, 2020

History of Plumbing Fixture From the 1800s – JW&S Plumbing Pros in Nashville, TN

Posted in: Industry News

We have done a post on the history of plumbing in, well, the past, and want to revisit some of the old-timey ways of plumbing again today. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that indoor plumbing had begun to be used! Making for a much more convenient home life, the plumbing fixtures of that time were much different than the ones used today all across the country. We will describe an antique bath fixture that one might have been using to unwind after a long day on the farm back in those days.

With modern-day tub plumbing, there is a stopper, an overflow, and a P-trap. These plumbing functions make it possible to stop the water from draining, drain out any overflow, and keep sewer gas from entering into the bathroom from the drain, respectively. All of these features are one that anyone would prefer to have as part of the way their bathroom works, however, not all of them were implemented during the time indoor plumbing was just coming out.

Some luxury could be achieved with 1800’s bath fixtures, as they did include both hot and cold spigots! Unlike current day trip levels, they once used a “bayonet catch” that would rotate to close off the draining water by turning a knob up at the top of the fixture. These tubs did not have overflows, so one had to be mindful when filling up the tub!

Unlike P-traps of the tubs we use today, the now antique fixtures used what is called a “drum trap”. They functioned similarly to what we are familiar with, allowing the water to drain down and fill a chamber with water before draining out so as to create a slug of water to keep the sewer gases at bay. One of the problems with drum traps is that, being made out of a soft metal like lead and with the distinct drum shape they held, if one were to snake through their drain to remove any unwanted debris, their snake could very well break through the other side of the drum and create a leak.

We hope you enjoyed this peek into the history of plumbing! Give Jack Ward & Sons Plumbing Co. today at (615) 227-2811 for any of your modern-day plumbing needs!


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