Living Without Water Heaters
Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that centuries—and even millennia—of human beings somehow made it without water heaters? If we don't think we'd make it without these creature comforts no...
Some sub-cultures among us, such as Old Order Amish, still live this way, even without electric heat or running water. Here are a few ways people did—and still do—made it without water heaters.
1. Labor-intensive tub filling
Of course, showers are a modern invention. Instead, the first bath tubs were made of metal and filled the old-fashioned way: bucket by bucket. As the liquid was brought in from a nearby stream or manually operated well pump, it would be heated over a fire, bucket by bucket. In order to keep the contents warm, the tub would be placed in the sun or next to a fire.
2. Bathing less often
The modern western concept of bathing or showering daily is fairly new. Considering that in our climate-controlled, office-job lifestyles we tend to become less dirty than agrarian cultures of years gone by, the full significance of this concept is magnified.
Once a week was at one time considered obsessive or at least normal, and it wasn't even in clean. It seems people must have had less sensitive sniffers back then, or maybe they just kept to a more generous level of personal space.
3. Shared baths
Have you ever been told not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater"? While most people realize that the concept refers to not getting rid of something important even though something else must go.
However, the origin of the phrase relates to the lack of water heaters and intense job involved in securing a warm bath. Once the tub was filled, the same fluid would be used for all members of the family, starting with the adults.
While this would reduce the chances of young children being injured by scalding, it would also mean that the youngest members of the family would take the dirtiest bath. If one wasn't careful, the baby could be lost in the dirty liquid and—theoretically, anyway—be accidentally dumped out, along with the once-clear fluid.
If you decide to fore-go the use of modern water heaters, you may get more exercise but have unhappy children and fewer friends.
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