History and Evolution of Rain Gutters in Civilization

At Wizard Rain Gutters, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of modern rain gutter products and services, from new rain gutter installations to rain gutter repair, cleanout and leaf protection. The world of rain gutters has come a long way since some of the earliest known human civilizations first pioneered the theme thousands of years ago, and we now have the ability to completely protect structures from rain, snow, ice and other potential moisture intrusions.

In addition to providing services and detailed knowledge on our systems, we also recognize the long history that’s led us to this point. In today’s blog, let’s look back over the centuries to learn about when rain gutters first came about, how they’ve evolved and where they are today.

history evolution rain gutters

Earliest Known Rain Gutters

The earliest traced records of rain gutters or a similar theme goes all the way back to the era between 3000 and 1500 BC, when the Indus Valley civilization used burnt clay bricks to create water-based toilets and gutter themes. While these items didn’t necessarily go on tops of structures immediately, this was the first time in human history where it was clear civilizations were understanding their ability to direct water’s flow using various materials.

Roman, Greek and Egyptian Usage

A bit later on in history, including both Greek and Egyptian power periods, the use of gargoyles or similar structures to divert water away from buildings using spouts began to arise. These pioneering civilizations took basic water diversion to another level from what had previously been unearthed.

By the end of the BC era and entering the AD era, Romans had realized they could raise their streets just a little in the middle sections. This would allow water to run off to the side, pouring into gutters as a first form of the modern street gutter system.

Middle Ages

By the middle ages, this gargoyle downspout system took hold as the primary one used in most areas of Britain and the modern world. Architecture including stone roofs and parapets began to be built, and down pipes began to show up in major buildings like the Tower of London.

In the year 1539, monasteries around the globe were dissolved, making more recycled lead available. This brought about a huge increase in rainwater diversion products, including cisterns, hopper heads and more.

Cast Iron Increases

In the early 1700s, cast iron became known as a widely-available material for rainwater diversion. It quickly replaced lead here, and by the end of the 1700s wood was also being used for V-shaped gutters in wealthy areas.

20th Century

By the 20th century, the invention of metal rolling machines allowed steel to be used in the gutter world, a major upgrade. Plastics were also a major development during the World War II era, and cheap plastic quickly became a preferred alternative to cast iron. In the 1960s, the seamless aluminum gutter machine was invented, allowing for the kinds of seamless gutter systems you still see on modern buildings today.

For more on how the rain gutter industry has evolved over the centuries, or to learn about any of our rain gutters or replacement services, speak to the staff at Wizard Rain Gutters today.