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Ever wonder how the shower was invented?

Ever wonder how the shower was invented?

We use them every day, they help us start our day or switch off at night, they get us warm when it is cold, or cool down when it is hot. They are so useful, but how often do we think about where they come from? The history of showers and where they come from is quite interesting. In order to look at where they come from, we need to look at what you need to have a shower. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is water.

The Egyptians

The first showers people used were naturally occurring waterfalls in rivers or against cliffs. Ancient tribesmen would cleanse themselves while standing under the waterfalls. This ancient way of having a shower depends on running water, but what would people in a desert do?

The ancient Egyptians had an answer to this. They were well known for their cleanliness, even shaving their hair off to avoid lice. They had their servants pour water from the Nile river or water wells over them. Unfortunately, showering like this was only reserved for the wealthy in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The water was also often cold.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks revolutionised water transport and plumbing by inventing the aqueduct. The aqueducts allowed the Greeks to lead the water from its source to where they needed it. Their ancient showers were communal and could be found in gymnasiums. In their showers gushes of water poured from the ceiling and the bathers stood under it. Similar to the Greeks, Ancient Romans also had bathhouses that provided people with the opportunity to have a refreshing shower.

With the rise of Christianity, after the fall of the Roman Empire, public bathing fell out of fashion. The bathhouses lost their popularity, especially the unisex ones. This was due to the belief that seeing members of the opposite gender without clothes was considered sinful. However, although people showered less during the Medieval times, people still used basic sanitation in their own homes.

The earliest showers

Thus far we have spoken about the essential element required to have a proper shower – water. But what about the other things you need to clean up, like soap?

Enter the Crusaders. The brave warriors brought soap back to Europe during the Middle Ages from the Levant. This lead to soap trading becoming an established trade during the so called dark ages. But what was lost was the aqueducts and sophisticated sewages systems used by the Romans and Greeks. Instead of public showers, people were having baths in their home in tubs made from wood. Apparently, everyone did not wash themselves every day. Due to the Black Plague killing a third of the population in Europe, hygiene and cleanliness became a prerogative again as people realised the health benefits of being clean.

Because the people of the early 18th Century did not have adequate plumbing or sewage systems, having a bath was an arduous task. The bathtubs took quite a lot of water to fill. Having a bath was incredibly labour intensive and the water had to be heated and carried to the bath from the kitchen. This was done by using buckets. When the bath was done, the dirty water had to be carried outside.

The first operational shower

William Feetham was a stove and heater manufacturer in London. He had had enough of carrying water around and invented the world’s first operational shower. He was granted the patent for his product in 1767. This invention had a water reservoir in which the person having a shower stood, a hand pump and a reservoir above the person having a shower’s head. The person would then use the hand pump to get the water from the bottom reservoir up to the top reservoir. When the person was ready, they would pull a lever and the whole contents of the top reservoir would empty on top of them. To visualise this, think about the ice bucket challenge of a few years ago. Unlike the ice bucket challenge, however, because the water fell from the top into the bottom reservoir, the person in the shower could use the hand pump to repeat the process.

The aristocrats of the time did not think much of Feetham’s invention. The reason for this is that every time the water was pumped up into the top reservoir and poured down again, it became colder and dirtier. They preferred to have their luxuriously warm baths. Still, Feetham’s basic shower was the best people had for over a century.

Showering became popular again in the mid-19th century. In prisons, communal showers were used as they were more economical than individual baths. So by then humanity had access to water and we could make it pour down on us. However, how did we get this water warm? Luckily for us, developments in water heaters meant that we could now have hot showers. Indoor plumbing had greatly improved by this stage and most homes could afford their own free standing shower with hot running water.

Sounds great right? Unfortunately in order to heat the water up, fuel had to be used. In 1868, another Englishman, Benjamin Waddy Maughan invented a water heater that used gas generated by a burner. This invention however, did not have ventilation and the build-up of pressure inside, meant that it often exploded. Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian engineer, improved on the invention made by Maughan. In 1889 the first safe, gas powered and automatic water heater was invented and a new era of enjoyable, hot showers began.

The 20th century

In the 20th century, tankless water heaters, often called electric showers, became popular as an instant supply of hot water, without the need for a hot water tank. However, bathrooms in their current shape and form only came about in the 1960’s.

In the 1980’s, shower manufacturers responded to the high consumer demand for a larger variety in shower features. Water jets, different coloured lights and different shower heads all followed.

In 2001 digital showers were pioneered by Aqualisa, taking showering into the digital age.

As you can see, showers come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes for different tastes and preferences. At Prima Bella there is a shower for everyone. Take a look at our showers here.


Informal shower door strength test videos

Informal shower door strength test videos

At Prima Bella, we believe in selling quality products that stand the test of time. Occasionally we put our products to the test. These tests are informal and completely unscientific, but visually they look cool and seeing is believing. For your own safety, do not try this at home.

No shower doors were hurt in the production of these videos.










Choosing the right shower enclosure for your bathroom

Choosing the right shower enclosure for your bathroom

Why is choosing the right shower enclosure for your bathroom so important? When you are in the process of shopping for showers, you can easily be overwhelmed by all the different options available to you. Showers come in various shapes, styles and sizes. Each of these three elements are specifically combined to meet different needs.


Here is a short introduction and description of the most popular showers on the market today:


Bath Screens





Bath Screens are a space and money saving alternative for bathrooms that have a shower bath. At Prima Bella, these are available in three options. You can choose from a single fixed panel, a hinged panel or a gorgeous folding screen. Our products come also come in different finishes to suit your decor needs.


Pivot shower doors





Our pivot showers are beautifully designed and are incredibly easy to access. The shower door in a pivot system has two strategically placed pivot points, one at the top of the door and one at the bottom. This type of shower door is useful if your bathroom has limited space as it has a slightly smaller opening than a hinged shower door. Structurally, it is more sturdy than a hinged door. A good example is our Ovvio extendable inline pivot door in a polished aluminium frame.


Sliding shower doors





Sliding shower doors are often used as a space saving measure in a bathroom. If you have limited space available in your bathroom, selecting one of our sliding doors will suit you best. Sliding doors are made of several overlapping panels that gently glide to the size of one panel when fully opened. Our Milan single slider is a good example of a sliding door.


Hinged shower doors





Hinged shower doors are suited for a bathroom that has enough space for the door to open outwards. This type of shower enclosure allows the entrance to be bigger than the average entrance on a sliding door. Each door has an amount of secure hinges anchoring the door to the side panel or the compensation system. Our Modica frameless shower is a good example of a hinged shower door.


Bi-Fold shower doors





Bi-fold shower doors are perfect for you if you do not have a lot of space in your bathroom. In a Bi-Fold shower, the door glides to the side and folds back onto itself as it is made of two panels. The door opens inwards and is perfect for rectangular showers. These doors can be used on their own if the space is limited or with an optional side panel if you want the shower enclosure to be a bit bigger.


Pentagonal shower enclosures





Our pentagonal shower enclosure consist of a five sided space that forms the inside of the shower enclosure. It can be placed in any  90° corner in your bathroom. This design option allows for a multitude of door options. Pentagonal showers can have bi-fold doors, pivot doors, hinged doors or in swing doors. Two examples of this are our Brolo and our Sagres Shower enclosures.


Walk in shower enclosures





Walk in showers are an ultra-modern statement point in any bathroom. These shower enclosures are ideal for large open bathrooms as well as bathrooms with an alcove. Walk-In showers can consist of only one panel or several. Walk in showers do not need a shower door.


Quadrant shower enclosures





Quadrant shower enclosures can be placed in any bathroom that has a 90° corner. These elegant showers have a curved shape and are a wonderful space saver. The doors on this shower usually open from the middle of the front of the enclosure and they slide or swing towards the wall on both sides. If you have a small bathroom, a curved shower enclosure is a great choice. Have a look at Bonnie and Lugar as two lovely examples.


Shower screens





If you are looking for something modern or your bathroom is open plan, shower screens will be your best pick. These shower enclosures consist of a huge solid tempered glass panel that forms the structure of the shower. Our shower screens are frameless and elegant. You can choose either the Lascari II, which has to be anchored on a wall or the Lascari which is a free standing shower screen and does not need to be anchored on a wall. Our shower screens are made from thickened tempered glass, assuring your safety. Our shower screens offer a walk in space and do not have doors. Our shower screens come in a variety of sizes.


Side panels





As part of our product offering we have  shower side panels. These are used to create an enclosure if you do not have concrete walls to hold your shower door. These panels come in a variety of sizes and finishes and are thoroughly quality tested. They can be used on bi-fold doors, pivot doors, and hinge doors.


Like every person or family, every bathroom has its own unique specifications and requirements and there are certain styles and designs that fit certain spaces better than others. If you cannot find the shower that suits your needs best in the list above, Prima Bella can do a custom design and installation for you. Please see our Custom showers page under our products on our website.

Buying a shower enclosure? What you need to know

Buying a shower enclosure? What you need to know

It’s amazing how good one feels after taking a shower, especially after hitting the gym and of course first thing in the morning. What most people don’t realise is just how much effort goes into creating the perfect shower enclosure. At Prima Bella, we carefully research what the best materials are to create the best shower doors and enclosures making sure that when you are buying a shower, you get the best. Over the years we have continued to innovate and improve our products while still keeping our prices reasonable.

When you are buying a shower, there are a few things to be mindful of in order to ensure that you buy the right product for your needs. The cheapest buy is not necessarily the best buy.

After-sales service

At Prima Bella, we have trained technicians that are equipped to install your shower correctly. This ensures your shower’s longevity, prevents it from shattering and activates the guarantee all our products come with. To enquire about our service, please check out our website

Spare parts

All of our shower doors and enclosures have spare parts readily available. This means that if something goes wrong with any of the small parts, we can get them to you quickly, so you don’t have to be stuck with a non-functioning shower.

Glass density

Something that you might not be too concerned about when buying a shower door or enclosure is the thickness of the glass used. All Prima Bella shower doors are made from quality tempered glass with an average of 6mm thickness. Please see our products to select your required glass thickness.

Glass quality and safety

At Prima Bella we only use toughened safety glass on all our products. The glass in our shower doors and enclosures as well as our bath screens and side panels are all quality tested. We only use tempered glass. For more information check out our blog post on exploding showers.

Quality of the materials used

In order for you to have a well-functioning shower over time, we select the best materials to produce our showers. We use aluminium, chrome, stainless steel and  ABS plastic to ensure the longevity of our products. Please see our products page for information about the materials used in each product.

What the parts are made from

Understandably the quality of the parts that make up a shower door or enclosure have an impact on the over all quality of the product. At Prima Bella, we only use high quality materials to make our parts and spare parts.


When buying a shower enclosure or door, it is important to ensure that the wheels on the door or enclosure are of good quality. The wheels used in our products are quality tested up to 500 000 cycles and are made from quality materials.

Pivot System

Some shower doors use a pivot system. This relates to how the mechanisms function in order for the door to open and close. All our pivot doors and enclosures have a superior, tried and tested pivot system to ensure that you get your money’s worth.

Hinges and Rail System

The hinges on our products are made from quality materials and are quality tested.  At Prima Bella, we have trademarked our enclosed top rail system to ensure that our products can be safely used. Our patented enclosed top rail system ensures that your sliding shower door does not, over time, become derailed.


The seals on all Prima Bella products are specially developed to be mould resistant. In a warm and wet environment that you want to keep clean, this is incredibly important.


The shower industry has come a long way in terms of design, quality and function since the early days of the traditional obscure three panel sliding shower door. Recently there has been a shift to have more simplistic shower spaces. This means that shower screens have become a must have in order ensure your bathroom is the sanctuary you deserve. Prima Bella have pioneered shower screens in South Africa and we offer two gorgeously sleek shower screen options. Please see our products for more information.

5 Easy ways to help you rediscover your sanctuary

5 Easy ways to help you rediscover your sanctuary

Rediscover your sanctuary. If you had infinite time, what would you spend it on? Would you slow down, take a breath, see your surroundings? Would you tell the people you love how you feel about them? In our daily lives, we often feel like we don’t have any time to do things like these. At Prima Bella we believe that our bathroom should be treated as a sanctuary and by following the below 5 points, you can find serenity in your chaotic daily life, even if it is only for a few minutes in your bathroom.

Tip One: You are enough.

Every day we are confronted with a world that demands we be perfect. This external pressure takes a toll on our mental health as no human is perfect, and we are all humans. Marisa Peer is a British Therapist, she advises us to say to ourselves “I am enough” as often as possible. A perfect time to do this is when we are in our bathroom, going about our daily routine. When you brush your teeth, tell yourself “I am enough”, when you are turning on your shower, say to yourself “I am enough”. Try this out for a week and see if you can feel any difference. See this link to her website.

Tip Two: Set the mood.

Waterproof bluetooth speakers are a great addition to your morning rituals. If you do not have or want a speaker in your bathroom, simply use your phone. Play your favourite music or listen to an uplifting podcast while you start your day and by doing so, set the right tone for achieving all your goals for the day.

Tip Three: Take a breather.

Our bathrooms are the sacred spaces in our homes where we go to clean up, more often than not, we have something that smells really really nice in our bathrooms. Use this to remind you to take a deep breath. Literally stop and smell the shower gel. When we are stressed, our central nervous system gets activated, this process, however necessary it may be for our survival, if not switched off, can cause long term negative health issues. When we take a few deep breaths or do breathing exercises, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps our bodies to return to a normal state, conducive to health. Take a deep breath in for 6 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds and release the breath for 9 seconds. Repeat until you feel a sense of calm and rejuvenation.

Tip Four: Wash the stress away.

Wash away the stress of your day with a relaxing hot shower. When you are in your bathroom, you are on your own, it’s your sacred time with yourself. So often we just rush through our morning shower to get to the next thing on our list. Try taking a moment, no longer than 30 seconds to start with, to actually feel the water hit your skin. Feel the temperature of the water as the droplets rain down on you. Feel the soapy texture of the soap or shower gel you use, see the soapy layer it forms on your skin, feel the pressure of the water as it rains down on you to wash the soap off. Take this moment to be completely present where you are. This is very hard to do, but like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Tip Five: Recharge with O2.

Rediscover your sanctuary by making it look the part. Your bathroom is the ideal space for plants, given enough light, they will flourish. Plants help to purify the air as they absorb CO2 and pump out oxygen for us to breathe. Adding a splash of green will not only help with the air quality in your bathroom, it is also a super easy way to make your space more beautiful. In our post on bathroom plants we go into more detail on which plants to pick for your sanctuary and how to take good care of them.

5 plants to brighten up your bathroom

5 plants to brighten up your bathroom

Having plants in your bathroom, not only brightens up your sanctuary space by adding a pop of colour, they also help purify the air. At Prima Bella, we believe that plants can have a positive impact on your well-being. Here are 5 plants that will liven up any bathroom.

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant from central Africa is one viper you want in your bathroom. The Snake plant is the best plant for air purification and is used world-wide for just this purpose. It also creates a beautiful addition to your sanctuary space. This water wise splash of colour will not only brighten up your space, but is also easy to take care of.


Orchids are beautiful and create an air of elegance. Not only is this plant absolutely gorgeous and will take your bathroom to the next level, it is also suited for humid environments, which in bathrooms, is almost always the case. Plus, it comes in a huge variety of colours from white to orange to pink and purple, each with loads of pattern variations.

Spider plant

This minimalistic addition to your bathroom is perfect for either hanging or in a pot on a flat surface. The green and white leaves of the Spider Plant makes it a great addition to any bathroom as the colours work well with any interior décor scheme.


Bamboo does not need a lot of bright light to grow. This makes this plant perfect for any bathroom that does not have a lot of light. It is also very easy to take care of as you do not need soil to grow this plant in. A stylish vase with fresh water is all you need to keep your Bamboo happy.

Peace Lilly

This gorgeous lily grows very easily and in accordance with its name, will add a sense of peace and serenity to your sanctuary. Its mid to dark green leaves on its own makes for a beautiful addition, but when the Peace Lily flowers, its real beauty comes out. Surreal looking white flowers on thin elegant stems adorn this plant and makes it a must have in any bathroom. It also replicates itself so within a few months to a year you should be able to split the plants up and have several around your home.