We all love swimming pools. They are a fun way to exercise, they keep us cool on sunny days and they are great entertainment for a backyard get together. But, how did the swimming pool come to be?
We looked into it for you!
While the modern pool, as we know it, has only been around since the early 1900s, the concept of a swimming pool has existed for thousands and thousands of years.
It is believed that the first pool was created in Mohenjo-daro in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. The pool was 12 metres long, 7 metres wide and had a maximum depth of 2.4 metres.
Unlike modern pool builders, this ancient civilization did not have access to materials like vinyl and fibreglass, so the pool was made of natural tar, tightly laid bricks and gypsum plaster – a soft mineral made of hydrated calcium sulfate which is used for plaster of Paris.
At this time, it is believed that pools were not seen as a recreational item, and were instead used for religious and spiritual purposes.
Time moved forward and pools began to gain popularity, especially in ancient Greece and Rome. As these civilizations grew, pools became a luxury item for wealthy individuals. Owner’s continued to use them for spiritual purposes, but they also became a place to bathe, heal and socialize.
The use of pools grew so much that swimming became a significant part of young boys’ education and were used in military training.
It was also during this time that heated pools were introduced by Gaius Maecenas, a close friend of Caesar Augustus. One heated pool was over 900,000 square feet and was heated by fires located beneath the swimming pool’s floor. Other pools were heated using the Roman aqueduct system.
Acting as a foundation for modern pools, the pools of ancient Greece and Rome were adapted by Great Britain. They had been slow to take part in the swimming pool phenomenon due to a fear that pools would transfer sickness from one swimmer to another. But eventually, they gave in and as a result of their concerns, made many discoveries regarding water treatment and management.
By 1837, Great Britain had 6 public pools, all located in London. These pools were used for competitions by the National Swimming Society of England.
During the proceeding years, the Amateur Swimming Association was formed to promote swimming as a sport, a means of exercise and a valuable skill and in 1869, swimming was included in the Olympic Games, for the first time in history.
Eventually, swimming pools were introduced in North America in the early 1900s. Two of the first in-ground pools in North America, were Underwood Pool, constructed in 1912 in Belmont, Massachusetts and Deep Eddy Pool, which was built in 1915 in Austin, Texas. Both are still open today.
North America also claims to have one of the earliest above ground pools, built in 1907 by the Philadelphia Racquet Club.
It was not until the end of World War II that swimming pools gained momentum in North America. As pools became more prominent on the big screen, North Americans soon realized that owning a swimming pool was symbolic of success.
The number of pool owners grew even more as technology advanced, lowering pool costs and adding more recreational appeal to swimming pools.
Today, there are over 8 million In-ground and Aboveground pools installed throughout the United States. (According to The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals)
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