When Was Water Filtration Invented?
Water filtration has been around for thousands of years. However, it is not an easy task to keep the water supply clean. It can be difficult to separate the good from the bad, especially when a large population is using a single source of water.
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It is also hard to get rid of impurities in water, such as microorganisms and suspended particles, which can affect the taste, odor and appearance of water. This is why man started to understand that he must use a water filtration system to protect human health.
In the 1600s, Sir Robert Bacon began experimenting with sand filtration, which was used to filter salt out of water from the sea. Although he was unsuccessful, his attempts led to the development of future water filtration technologies.
The first multi-stage filter was invented in the 1700s. It was a design that incorporated charcoal, sponge and wool layers to help remove impurities from drinking water. These water filters became popular during the 1750s, and soon became the preferred water filtration method.
Hippocrates’ sleeve was the first invention that introduced a step up from boiling and straining water to make it cleaner. The sleeve was a piece of fabric that could be used to sieve boiled water to remove debris and sediment from the water supply.
While sleeve filters were useful in the early centuries of civilization, it was only after 500 BC that a more sophisticated method was invented. The Hippocrates sleeve was a device that could be hung above a bowl of boiled water and filtered through it to remove sediment.
This was a much more effective way of filtering water than boiling and straining, and it made the process easier on the user. It was also much more environmentally friendly.
The development of microscopes in the seventeenth century allowed scientists to view microscopic bacteria and other particles present in water. This allowed them to better understand the potential for bacteria to cause disease.
As a result, they developed more advanced water filtration systems to help improve public health and reduce the spread of disease. They also discovered that alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) could be added to water to coagulate and help break down particles, allowing them to be removed from the supply.
Another significant step forward was the introduction of chlorine. This was added to water supplies to prevent a cholera epidemic. While it was not the best disinfectant, it acted well against sewage-contaminated water.
Chlorine was a huge improvement over the previous water filtration methods. However, it wasn’t a long-lasting solution as it vaporized very quickly and caused adverse effects in the body. It was later discovered that it aggravated respiratory conditions, so people started installing home and shower water filters to help combat the harmful effects of chlorine in water.
A more advanced form of filtration was invented in 1827 by John Doulton, who discovered that when he added silica and fired clay to water it created a porous filter that could remove impurities from the water. This technology became a staple in water filters and was eventually developed into a company that is still in business today, Royal Doulton.