Gutters are HOW Old? Discover the Fascinating History Behind This Home Essential!

You may assume that gutters are a fairly recent technology. Something that maybe sprung up in the industrial revolution, or when urban development needed a way to prevent puddles of water in the streets. But what if we told you they’ve been around in one form or another for nearly 5,000 years? Feel like we’re pulling your leg? Well, we aren’t, it’s all true! Keep reading to discover more!

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The Early Days, Indus Valley, and Onward

The very first gutters were primitively created during the Bronze Age by the Indus Valley Civilization. These folks were actually a booming culture, thriving between 3000 BC and 1500 BC. They cultivated art, a minor form of hierarchical government, and were no slouches in the inventing department. Indus Valley gutters were created from fired clay, lain across dug drains.

Admittedly, these were designed to deal with human waste rather than rainy weather, but these clay gutters formed the basis for the technology that today, keeps our homes safe from water damage!

Roman Revolution Into European Tech

Gutters didn’t see much of an improvement in use until the Romans began using them to divert sewage and rain runoff out of the streets. They used a simple form of gutter to line the center of streets, these trenches diverting to a gutter system that carried runoff and junk to the outskirts of town. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that.

It wasn’t until they communicated this concept to the British in 46 AD that we started to see the making of what we today would recognize as gutters (rain gutters, specifically, as we still call street-sluice systems gutters as well).

Jump ahead to the 10th century, and we would begin to see gutters on roofs, much in the way we’re used to. Although, they had a bit of a twist for the dramatic at the time. Ever seen a movie with gargoyles spitting guttered water out into the streets?

Cast Iron, Steel, and Aluminum

The 1700s brought on a change to using coke-treated cast iron in gutter systems. Treated wood also began circulating into the gutter industry, and allowed gutters to become more widespread in the use of homes and residences.

The industry was fairly quiet for the next two-hundred plus years, as people were generally distracted by revolution, wars, and inventing automobiles. The next major change came about during the early twentieth-century, this being a result of the invention of steel-rolling machinery.

The “crowning achievement” of gutter technology in our time came about in the sixties, with the creation of seamless aluminum gutter machines. These machines locked aluminum in as the choice material for gutters for decades, and more than seventy percent of gutters created today still hold to this.
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Shanco, You, and Gutter Installation in Olney

It was a long road from what the Indus Civilization began five thousand years ago, to what we know as rain gutters today. But we like to think we’ve improved on the idea. At least a little. And it pleases the professionals at Shanco to no end to bring superior gutter installation to our customers. Contact us online today to talk about your gutter installation!



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"Shanco Companies came up with the perfect solution for improving water drainage from the roof. The crews were professional and did a great job. I would highly recommend Shanco Companies."

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