The Romans did it, and prehistoric people probably did it too: showering is a cultural technique that has become an integral part of our everyday lives. And although it has been around for some time now, it has always been avant-garde in a certain way – be it because it was said to have healing properties or because it was always at the forefront of home decor. The principle has always remained the same; The design and technology evolution, on the other hand, continues unstoppably.
The first signs of showering can be found as early as prehistoric times. Wall paintings, vase paintings and traditional religious writings suggest that people have been pouring water over their heads or bodies in “some form” for a very long time. However, concrete evidence of a real shower culture only appeared in ancient times. For example, the Roman writer Pliny reports in his Naturalis Historia about a businessman named Sergius Orata, to whom he attributes the invention of the shower. Orata, who was not only a merchant but also an inventor and hydraulic engineer, had already shown a nose for innovation and had achieved wealth and reputation with his oyster farming and the invention of underfloor heating. As far as showering is concerned, he had the idea of installing so-called “hanging bathrooms” in normal houses and villas in order to upgrade them.
From privilege to mass culture
However, showering remained an extravagance for a long time and, as a private practice, was basically only reserved for courtiers and wealthy privateers. In the Middle Ages, it was increasingly used for medical reasons, especially in Europe, and continued into the modern era. A common form of the so-called “healing shower” was the “forest shower” by Wilhelm Priesnitz from Gräfenberg. This made modern hydrotherapy “socially acceptable” at the beginning of the 19th century. Nevertheless, all of these practices were still a long way from the modern showering we know today. Shower cubicles and shower trays were unknown back then.
The first forms of shower cabins only appeared on Parisian bathing ships around 1760, where they were part of drip and pouring baths. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, more and more showers with running hot water and proper shower cubicles appeared, which was made possible by the invention of the gas stove and the expansion of water connections in private living spaces. Previously, in wealthier circles, there was a widespread form of showering in which you stood in a bowl in the middle of the bathing room and wrung out a wet sponge over your head, thus “showering” in a certain way. The way for showering as a mass culture was now paved.
Modern shower culture and current trends
At the beginning of its existence, showering was just a means of personal hygiene. Today it is mainly discussed under the heading of “wellness”. The focus has therefore shifted from pure practicality to well-being, rest and relaxation. Today there are a variety of trends and fashions in the area of shower culture: diverse Shower accessories, the shape of shower cubicles and the material from which they are made are subject to constant technological and design change. The so-called “floor-level shower” is particularly popular at the moment; It does not require a shower tray, is comparatively easy to clean, is barrier-free and also looks stylish.
Combinations of bathtub and shower, on the other hand, are becoming less and less attractive, and the trend is even going so far that in many bathrooms only floor-level showers or ordinary shower cubicles are installed in order to save space. And this also corresponds to a certain extent with today’s zeitgeist, according to which life seems to be accelerating more and more and no one seems to have enough time to treat themselves to a long bath. So we can be excited to see how our shower and bathing culture will develop further.