Gutters are one of those things that we don’t think too much about, until they become a problem, that is. When it’s time to clean your gutters or repair them, it might cross your mind to wonder where they came from in the first place…
An ancient civilization in what is now Pakistan has been credited with the first use of gutter-like drains. The Harappan people, who were around from 3000 – 1500 BC, linked their ancient toilets with burnt clay drains covered with bricks.
Later, between 27 BC and 14 AD when the Roman Empire had its start, they completely changed road-building concepts by peaking (or ‘crowning’) the roads in the middle to cause water to run off the road and into gutters, which carried it away. In 47 AD, the Romans brought their gutter technology to one of their conquered territories: what is now Great Britain.
There was a big gap in gutter developments until 1066, when, as a result of the Norman Invasion, churches and other buildings were completely rebuilt. Architects added gutters, which ended in the mouths of gargoyles, who ‘spit’ the water off of the buildings.
In 1240, the very first downspout ever built in Britain was erected at the Tower of London. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, legislation was introduced to protect homes against fires, which called for tiled roofing instead of thatch. Tiled roofs were easier to attach gutters to.
Henry VIII closed monasteries, convents, and other Catholic establishments after he broke England’s association with the Church in Rome between 1536 and 1541. As a result, there was a surplus of recycled lead, which amplified the market for gutters, cisterns, and rainwater mechanisms.
In the early 1700s, the buildings in the American colonies commonly had wooden gutters attached to the roofs with wood pins or cast iron brackets. By the 1800s, cast iron downspouts were added to taller buildings, to allow for efficient disbursement of water runoff.
By the early 1900s, metal rolling machines were invented, allowing builders to construct half-round steel gutters. And, during World War II, plastics development caused cast iron downpipes and gutters to be replaced with cheaper plastic ones. In the 1960s, seamless aluminum gutters were invented, and became the most popular gutters because of their lighter weight and superior strength.
The GutterDome® was invented and GutterDome, Inc. was founded in 2010, offering excellent technology in gutter protection.
In this brief history of gutters, we hope you gain insight to where they come from, and how these irrigation systems have developed over the years to be what they are today.
Avoid ever having to clean your gutters again with the revolutionary GutterDome® gutter guard system! Gutter Solutions NW is exclusively skilled in the assessment and installation of the GutterDome® system here in the Greater Seattle-Tacoma area, and we look forward to getting you set up. Contact us to get a free estimate!