Rain gutter history – from gargoyles to Voltron

Imagine what would happen if rain gutters didn’t exist. Voltron would’ve rusted from the inside the first time they formed it to dramatically fight monsters in the rain. Essentially rain gutters have been reported of being used thousands of years ago. Voltron on the other hand never existed.

Here, in this shot, you can clearly see Voltron’s steel rain gutter on his right shoulder.

Apparently people were smart enough to come up with the splendid idea of drainage more than 3 millennia BC(before Christmas?). At first they were made of wood and stone. That turned out to be as efficient. At some point gargoyles became popular. Who wouldn’t want a demonic head gloriously spewing rain water from his roof? Fashion trends, man, no one understands them.

'Alien' like gargoyle on 13th century Abbey, Paisley, Glasgow, Scotland - 24 Aug 2013
A beautiful piece of art(that got banned because of a local Predator fanclub) Photo by REX/Michael McGurk

Soon after the gargoyle thing became frowned upon because the Church started overusing it – people replaced the fabulous demon spawn statues with simple wood and clay gutters. Church doing God’s work right there.

The first people to make a significant step towards a flooding-free Voltron were the Romans. They are famous for using drainage throughout their cities. And as history usually goes – some stuff happened and the Romans reached Great Britain where they passed their superior gutter knowledge to the Brits.

Anyway when metal became available and popular during the 18th century a new rain gutter era has started to cast its almighty light upon humanity and its drainage issues. Revolution – zinc, lead! But as the Moore’s law of gutter technology advancement implies – not long after cast iron has appeared in the picture(around 100 years later). Copper gutters also started popping up off of people’s houses.

Copper gutters are today’s rich people’s choice. Not a hundred more years passed and in the 1900s the innovative people came up with the concept of steel gutters. Steel is durable, doesn’t rust for at least 20 years. No wonder Superman’s nickname is “the man of steel”. I bet he has 99 problems but rust ain’t one.

He means no rust.

Then this atrocity named WWII happened and soon after steel became harder to come by. So the top rain gutter scientists across the world were gathered by the rich people with flooded basements and rotten house foundations because a solution was needed as soon as possible. Discovering the nuclear fission was nothing compared to what the scientists proposed as an answer. Aluminium! Shock all around the world, all the guttering media exploded with the news. Aluminium – strong, yet light material, serves its purpose so well it’s still being widely used in present days.

Authentic edition of the newspaper “Your Gutters”.

An honourable mentionplastic gutters were also developed along with the aluminium ones. Their advantages were that they are cheap, easy to produce and the low maintenance they require. Expected longevity however was not as impressive.

Time has passed, people were thinking they’ve reached the ultimate top technology considering rain gutters. But in the 1960’s someone decided flawless does not mean perfection. And seamless aluminium gutters were born.

Keeping seams to a minimum, and custom made these gutters surpass the genius of every other that came before them. Now with this figured out people were free to focus on other major issues such as world hunger and global warming. Seamless gutters are a preferable choice among people to this day. This being said none of the above has completely disappeared from existence and maintenance is offered no matter the type.

When you come to think of it guttering has a history more exciting and rich than most of the nations on planet Earth(most).



Rain gutter history – from gargoyles to Voltron

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