Most people think of water softeners as a fairly modern piece of technology, which came about alongside the building of modern houses, however, people have been trying to remove impurities from the water supply for thousands of years. Let’s take a look back at this fascinating history.
According to illustrations on the walls of the pharaoh tombs, it is believed the ancient Egyptians had a method of purifying their water to remove sediment from it before drinking! The illustrations can be found in the tomb of Ramses II among others.
In India, the ancient medical text – The Sushrata Samhita – discusses ways to cleanse water including using the sun’s rays to boil it, and passing it through gravel as a filtering mechanism.
Of course it was the Romans who brought water into cities using their aqueducts to supply water directly to the people who needed it. Moving forward into the 1600s, experiments saw scientists starting to understand that water contained organisms.
It was in the 1800s that the big breakthroughs in water supply care came. The first water treatment plant was opened, using sand filtration and when cholera broke out, scientists realised people in the sand filtered water areas were less affected. Eventually scientists worked out that putting chlorine in the water purified it.
Soon after in 1855, the first Water Act was laid out to regulate the water supply in London, to make sure all the water went through filtering processes before reaching people. The first tests to remove minerals in water using salt, took place in the early 1900s using very large cylinders.
It was in the 1950s that water softeners were created that were small enough to work in a house, and they ran from an electrical supply. In the 1980s the current style of water softener was developed and finally in the 1990s the softeners moved forward again when block salt was created.
As you can see, from the Egyptians, through to the Romans and to London in the 16th Century, humans have been trying to find ways to improve and purify the water which comes into their homes.
After centuries of exploration from scientists, and the realisation that purer water leads to fewer diseases, we finally reach today’s Western society where we can be totally confident about the safety and cleanliness of the water that comes out of our taps.
Not only that, if the water is hard, we don’t have to put up with the problems that brings, or the nasty taste it can have, thanks to the engineers in the 1950s who created the water softener system.
We are privileged in that we can have clean and safe water delivered straight into our homes, but we can also avoid the problems which lime scale build-up and mineral deposits cause within our homes. Thanks to a long history of scientists experimenting to remove everything bad from our water, for the past hundreds of years, we can now drink and wash free of worry.