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The History of the Faucet



Faucets are so ubiquitous that many people don’t even take the time to wonder how they came into existence. Today’s fixtures come in various styles, from sleek contemporary models to the clawfoot tub versions used in vintage bathroom designs. Here is a bit of background information on how the faucet came to be:

Ancient times

Faucets date back to ancient periods. Plumbing and spout fixtures were used as early as 1700 B.C. at the Minoan Palace of Knossos, located on the island of Crete. They were used in private homes for baths and to provide water for fountains. Ancient Romans had plumbing made of lead pipes. And while they would use faucets for their personal baths, The Romans’ communal showers were also popular.

Basic features

In those times, antique bath fixtures were basic. They had two spouts – one for hot water and the other for cold water. That changed with an innovation by Al Moen in 1937. People believe he came up with the idea for the singular faucet knob after burning his hands while using the standard fixture. Once he mastered the design, people could then enjoy washing with one stream of water, that was adjusted to the right temperature.

Continued innovation

Later, as new inventors worked on the faucet, the ball valve came into existence. Landis Perry designed this piece in 1945 that helped control the water temperature with a blending mechanism. Additionally, it helped seal the unit.

Other improvements

There have been constant upgrades to faucets, including a ceramic disk that improved on the previous rubber one. It had various benefits, but it also held up better over time. Some faucets include filters for lead and chlorine.

Modern faucets

Some new faucets are designed to be water-saving. These units only let out a certain amount of water to help conserve the vital resource while simultaneously lowering water bills.


People’s preferences regarding faucets have changed during different time periods.

Clawfoot – In today’s world, vintage faucets are widely coveted. They have ornate features that complement clawfoot tubs. For the bath, many have lever-style knobs with rounded edges. Additionally, in place of a traditional standing shower, these units often have hand-held shower heads that are equally decorative.

Modern – Streamlined fixtures are also used. They match a more simple aesthetic. However, some have tall spouts, which make a bigger impact than more basic faucets.


Brass is a material used in quality faucets. It is a composite alloy made from zinc and copper. It’s resistant to hard-water calcification and soft-water corrosion.

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