A shower is a place in which a person bathes under a spray of typically warm or hot water. Indoors, there is a drain in the floor. Most showers have temperature, spray pressure and adjustable showerhead nozzle settings.
The simplest showers have a swivelling nozzle aiming down on the user, while more complex showers have a showerhead connected to a hose that has a mounting bracket. This allows the showerer to spray the water at different parts of their body. A shower can be installed in a small shower stall or bathtub with a plastic shower curtain or door.
The first mechanical shower, operated by a hand pump, was patented in England in 1767 by William Feetham, a stove maker from Ludgate Hill in London. His shower contraption used a pump to force the water into a vessel above the user's head and a chain would then be pulled to release the water from the vessel. Although the system dispensed with the servant labour of filling up and pouring out buckets of water, the showers failed to catch on with the rich as a method for piping hot water through the system was not available. The system would also recycle the same dirty water through every cycle.
This early start was greatly improved in the anonymously invented English Regency shower design of circa 1810 (there is some ambiguity among the sources). The original design was over 10 feet (3 m) tall, and was made of several metal pipes painted to look like bamboo. A basin suspended above the pipes fed water into a nozzle that distributed the water over the user's shoulders. The water on the ground was drained and pumped back through the pipes into the basin, where the cycle would repeat itself. The original prototype was steadily improved upon in the following decades, until it began to approximate the shower of today in its mode of operation. Hand-pumped models became fashionable at one point as well as the use of adjustable sprayers for different water flow. The reinvention of reliable indoor plumbing around 1850 allowed free-standing showers to be connected to a running water source, supplying a renewable flow of water.
Modern showers were installed in the barracks of the French army in the 1870s as an economic hygiene measure, under the guidance of François Merry Delabost, a French doctor and inventor.As surgeon-general at Bonne Nouvelle prison in Rouen, Delabost had previously replaced individual baths with mandatory communal showers for use by prisoners, arguing that they were more economical and hygienic. First six, then eight shower stalls were installed. The water was heated by a steam engine and in less than five minutes, up to eight prisoners could wash simultaneously with only twenty liters of water. The French system of communal showers was adopted by other armies, the first being that of Prussia in 1879, and by prisons in other jurisdictions. They were also adopted by boarding schools, before being installed in public bathhouses. The first shower in a public bathhouse was in 1887 in Vienna, Austria. In France, public bathhouses and showers were established by Charles Cazalet, firstly in Bordeaux in 1893 and then in Paris in 1899.