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deep u channel for glass - Refreshing bathroom with large glass walk in shower

How The Shower Has Transformed Contemporary Bathroom Design

The shower is now a standard fixture of modern homes, as most people appreciate it as a quick and easy way to freshen up in the morning or after a long day. There are now many options to choose from, such as the convenience of a walk-in shower or a wet room, or a luxurious hydrotherapy shower.  

However, getting washed was once a far more laborious and time consuming task. Here’s a look at the history of shower design to see how we have arrived at the state-of-the art technology we enjoy today.

The power of nature

Of course, nature provided early humans with plenty of opportunities for washing in rivers, streams, and waterfalls. However, it was the ancient Egyptians who first came up with the idea of ‘bringing the outdoors in’. The very uppermost members of society had private bathing rooms where servants would pour jugs of water over them.

This evolved into the beautifully decorated communal baths of the ancient Greek and Roman era, which featured relatively sophisticated plumbing. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of piping and drainage systems that carried water warmed by log fires. It is thought that these are the world’s first examples of man-made showering systems.

The first mechanical showers

The first mechanical showering devices were invented in England in the late 18th century, but these could not supply fresh warm water. They were operated by a hand pump and recycled the same unheated water over again, so it was not exactly the most convenient or pleasant way of keeping yourself clean.

The 19th century saw this rather cumbersome process refined and improved with indoor plumbing that could transport heated water. However, the technology was usually restricted to public bathhouses and institutions such as boarding schools rather than installed in private homes.  

Until the beginning of the 20th century, most private homes apart from those of the very wealthy did not benefit from indoor bathrooms at all, and most people still washed in fireside baths filled with jugs of heated water. With the advent of indoor domestic plumbing and modern boilers and heating systems, indoor bathrooms and toilets were more commonplace.

The electric shower

The electric shower was introduced in the 1960s which eliminated the need to have a tankful of hot water, and this paved the way for showers to become a standard feature in our homes. 

The popularity of showers exploded during the 1980s, with multiple options such power showers, walk-in showers, glass cubicles, and shower-bath combos brought flexibility and convenience to suit a modern lifestyle. 

The introduction of tempered glass that has been heated to very high temperatures and then rapidly cooled has led to the use of glass for shower cubicles. The glass is strong and sturdy enough to withstand impacts, yet is thin and lightweight enough to be supported with u channels or even as a frameless installation for a clean and contemporary look.

Glass also brings style and sophistication to a bathroom, allowing the light to flow through and creating the illusion of more space. It also enhances the harmony and flow of the room, and shows off the wall tiling to full effect. It’s possible to use tinted glass to complement the colour scheme, or frosted glass for an extra layer of privacy.  

Further design options include dimpled or patterned glass, or stencilled designs to bring a touch of colour and individuality. Glass is highly durable, waterproof and easy to keep clean of grime, mould, and mildew that tend to be common problems in bathrooms. 

When using glass in a bathroom renovation, it’s essential to make sure that it meets British Safety Standards. This means that it will be tough enough for the purpose of domestic use, and in the event that it does break, it will shatter into rounded pebbles rather than dangerous shards. 

The styles of today

Bathroom design continues to evolve, and today it’s possible to incorporate cutting edge technology into your daily ablutions. For example, showers can now be pre-programmed and remotely operated to control the temperature, the maximum showering time, the pressure, and much more, making them safe for children and elderly people to use. 

The modern shower can also be integrated with entertainment systems and touch-screen glass technology, so that we can tailor our showering experience to our exact needs and preferences. 

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