27 Historical Events that Shaped Modern Plumbing Systems 27 Historical Events that Shaped Modern Plumbing Systems Ancient plumbing systems date back to 4,000 B.C. 1. Archaeologists discovered copper water pipes in the palace ruins of the Indus River Valley in India. (4,000 to 3,000 B.C.) 8. Sir John Harington, godson to Queen Elizabeth, invented the first flushing water closet. (1596) 12. The first public water main was installed under New York streets in 1830. Numerous fires had demonstrated the need for an adequate and available supply of water for fire fighting.
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