How Water Fountain History Influences Your Fountains Today

By: Chris Gill


Believe it or not, your water fountain is the result of thousands of years of history. This not only led to the design of current fountain pumps and systems but left its mark in the major water fountain styles offered for sale. Indoor fountains and outdoor fountains have incredible variety because across the centuries, the secrets of fountain engineering have spread to hundreds of cultures. Modern fountains record these developments and milestones in their designs. Even a small tabletop fountain is part of a fascinating legacy.

The earliest fountains redirected natural springs and relied on momentum to generate water flow and hydraulic head. Many were simple modifications of existing springs. Modern manufacturers still replicate this primitive style, creating fountains that look like natural features. This is prominent in some Asian-style fountains, which draw upon this motif to evoke brush paintings of natural scenes.

The Greeks were responsible for the next leap in water fountain sophistication. They harnessed gravity with enough precision to create water fountains for homes and public places in the heart of city states. The Greeks’ understanding of water pressure was unparalleled in the ancient world until the rise of Rome. The Romans inherited this technology and combined it with their aqueducts to supply fresh water in the heart of the crowded city. These were so important that when barbarians sacked Rome they specifically targeted aqueducts, to force thousands away from the city in search of water.

Many modern garden fountains use designed inspired by Greek and Roman styles, including large stone basins and associated classical motifs. Furthermore, these designs were been revived during the Renaissance and afterward, when the West rediscovered Rome’s legacy. Europeans began developing their own sophisticated fountains. In the 16th Century the Trevi Fountain rose over the wreckage of an old Roman aqueduct fountain. The aqueduct itself was reborn, bringing history full circle. Nobles and wealthy patrons competed to fund more and more impressive fountains around armies of gods and angels. This is why there are so many variants of the classical style today.

Classical motifs are still popular but after the Industrial revolution competition arose from work representing labor, progress and the esthetic of the modern factory and office. If you look across America today you can not only find great neoclassical fountains, but huge water walls, fountains erupting from straight slabs of granite and concrete and other thoroughly modern forms: the predecessors of today’s modern-style fountains.

These developments don’t even include the historical and modern influence of Asian and Middle Eastern designs – there just isn’t room in this article to do them justice as well. Nevertheless, this cultural blending is a signature feature of modern water fountains. This is an age where international trade creates unmatched opportunities to recombine historical influences in every aspect of décor. So respect your fountain – it’s taken centuries to get where it is today!

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Water Fountain Place sells full size and tabletop indoor water fountains, garden fountains, commercial water fountains, solar fountains and water fountain supplies. Dedicated to maintaining a full range of water fountains for any budget, Water Fountain Place offers free shipping on orders over $75 throughout the continental US.

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