It’s easy to take the humble tap for granted. It’s become such a fact of everyday life that we barely give it a second glance. Yet imagine how different our lives would be without it! In honour of our humble friend, here are some unusual and fascinating facts you may not be aware of:
- Taps are not a modern invention. The earliest taps in western civilisation date back to the Minoan period in prehistoric Greece. The Minoan Palace of Knossos had taps made out of marble, gold and silver, dating from 1700BC. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.
- The Romans also had very advanced plumbing for their time. In fact, by the 4th century AD they had 11 public baths, 856 private bathrooms and an incredible 1,352 cisterns and fountains! All with silver taps! Silver!
- Hot water is always on the left-hand side of the cold tap. This dates back to the nineteenth century when water came into the home via a hand pump. As most people are right-handed, the natural position for this was on the right. So when the hot tap was introduced, its logical home was on the left.
- Initially, hot and cold taps were always separate. The idea for a mixer tap originated in 1937 when Al Moen scalded himself with water that had overheated. While his original design was rejected, he persisted (there’s a lesson for us all) and eventually sold his first single-handled tap, which adjusted the temperature of the water according to need, in 1947.
- In the UK alone, if everybody turned off the tap while brushing their teeth, 180 mega litres of water would be saved per day. (Yeah, MEGA litres!) That’s enough to supply 500,000 homes and fill 180 Olympic-sized swimming pools (which hold one million litres each).
And finally, a random fact to blow your mind: the water that comes out of our taps could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank!
Told you it was fascinating! Bet you didn’t believe us. From taps with LED lights that change colour according to temperature, to electronic taps that work via a sensor, taps are evolving all the time – what will they look like in another hundred years?