History Of The Water Filter

Historians believe people began using some form of water filters over 4000 years ago! Water filters can be traced to the earliest human civilizations when written records began. Throughout history, people have always tried to improve the aesthetics and safety of water used for drinking and bathing.

It was in the 5th century BC that Hippocrates, the father of medicine, began conducting experiments in water purification. He is credited with inventing the practice of water sieving. He developed the first bag filter, the ‘Hippocratic sleeve’ made of cloth. The cloth would be used to trap any sentiments that were causing the water to smell or taste bad.

The first records of water filtration experimentation are those of Sir Francis Bacon in 1627. Although he did not meet much success, his experiments ushered in a new interest in water filter experimentation.

Advent Of Domestic Filtering Applications

It was around the 1700s when the first domestic water filters for home use were applied. They were made of charcoal, wool, and sponge. However, it was in 1804 that the first municipal water treatment plant was designed in Scotland by Robert Thom. The water treatment system was based on sand filtration.

It’s was in 1827 when John Doulton and Henry (his son) came up with the concept of the ceramic water filter that removed harmful bacteria from drinking water. Dubbed the Doulton filters, the first ones were made of clay and earth materials. 

First Water Filter Patent

Joseph Amy got the first water filter patent around the mid-1700s. His design incorporated charcoal layers, wool, and sponge to help in purifying drinking water. In 1750, the first home water filters for home use became available.

In 1862 came the Doulton Manganous Carbon Filter which tapped into Louis Pasteur’s advancements in microbiology and his research into bacteria. The Manganous Carbon Filter is among the first carbon cartridge filters. In 1906, John Doulton introduced a water filter that compared favorably to the one developed by Louis Pasteur in France.

Growth Of Mainstream Water Filtering

Major advances in water filtration and treatment continued to improve into the 1800s and early 1900s. More cities were by then putting up water treatment facilities. These facilities were using diverse methods as well as chlorine and ozone in purifying water. It was because of these advances that the number of typhoid and cholera outbreaks began to decline.

It was in 1974 that the United States of America passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This milestone legislation significantly paved the way for more advances in water treatment and filtration processes. As advances in technology and competition grew, it heralded the modern water filtration methods that are still being used today.

Modern Water Filtering Systems

By the onset of the 1900s, the majority of developed nations had already begun imposing minimum water quality standards. It was these regulations that gave impetus and incentives to the private sector in terms of devising new and better filtration methods. Throughout the course of the 20th century, the popularity of water filters in homes gained huge strides.

A common system used in homes is the counter top ceramic bowl filters. Later on, the designing of a higher flow cartridge was boosted by new technology. The internal systems meant that home water filtration systems could now be connected directly to the tap. Today, these inline water filters are not only hugely popular, cost-effective but very convenient as they can be placed under the kitchen sink.


Essential to human survival, water has remained a primary area of interest among civilizations throughout the course of history. From the early Egyptians and ancient Greeks to the modern and industrialized communities of today, almost all major human settlements have tended to cluster near or around natural sources of water.

Today, we have easily accessible and advanced filtration systems even in the most remote locations of the world. They can remove dangerous toxins and water microorganisms to guarantee safe drinking water for all.