When you are tired from work, especially if your muscles are achy from physical labor, there’s nothing like a soak in a hot tub (or a hot shower, depending on your preference). You are fortunate to live in a day and age when this is readily available to you. It hasn’t always been so.
In the years prior to hot water heaters, water was usually heated in a pot over a fire or in a kettle over a cooking stove. If a household was fortunate enough to have a water reservoir that heated water from the cook stove, it was easier to have enough hot water for a bath in a tub. Not a bathtub! Likely the same tub the laundry was washed in.
Most likely the tub was brought into the kitchen where the hot water was located and all the members of the family took turns bathing in the same tub of water which naturally cooled and grew dirty with successive family members’ baths.
Many years ago, when the water heater was first invented, it was called a boiler. There were coal boilers, natural gas boilers, and firewood boilers.
Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian mechanical engineer working in Philadelphia was the inventor of the modern-day water heater. In 1889, he designed “the first automatic, storage-tank type gas water heater.”
It was by far the safest invention for heating water, and it promised instant hot water.
In 1917, Ida R. Forbes invented the electric hot water heater. This was a convenient and clean invention, as was the gas water heater, when compared to the boiler.
Some advantages of gas water heaters are: it heats water quickly with lower operating costs than electric models, and it operates during power failures. On the other hand, electric water heaters are safer than gas water heaters because there is no gas line, burner, or pilot light.