The History of Rain Gutters

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines this proverb as follows, “When the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it”.  So it made me wonder about the history of rain gutters.

 In my research, I found it is commonly acknowledged that the Romans created the first drainage system.  Archaeological digs have discovered some ancient communities that had an elaborate gutter and water-collection systems designed to channel rainwater into storage containers for drinking and bathing.  As a result of the Norman invasion of England in 1066, English buildings became bigger with stone roofs and parapets that led to gutters and gargoyles expelling rainwater.  By the 18th century, wooden gutters had become common on most buildings.  Wooden gutters are still installed on vintage homes for their architectural appeal but they require a lot of maintenance.

 By the 20th century, gutter systems were comprised of galvanized iron or steel, aluminum or vinyl.  Today we find the most popular gutter systems are seamless aluminum as they are strong, leak-proof, require little maintenance and are economical.  With the advent of the gutter machine gutter can be formed and cut to any length and custom fit to the home on site.  As was done in ancient times, rainwater can still be collected from the gutter system into a rain barrel to be recycled and used for watering lawns and gardens.

 If you need to add gutters or replace the existing system, Gutter Cover of Kansas City will provide a free, no-obligation estimate.  Just give us a call at 816-246-7881 or submit a request through our website at