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Lincoln, NE 68502

What Is the History of the Sprinkler System? January 16, 2019

Antelope Park, Lincoln
What Is the History of the Sprinkler System?, Lincoln, Nebraska

Whether you use sprinkler systems to hydrate your yard, gardens, or crops, you are using equipment with a rich history. Originally a municipal water supply concept, lawn and irrigation sprinkler systems help control water usage to preserve this precious resource. Take a moment to learn about the history of this innovative product that keeps so many properties green and lush.

What Are Some Interesting History Facts About Sprinkler Systems?

Aqueducts, Waterwheels, & Steam Pumps

The first sprinkler system arguably dates back to ancient Rome when aqueducts were used to pump water into the famous Roman baths. Mechanical water movement progressed in the 16th century with the invention and use of the waterwheel in Paris, France and London, England.

As the middle class grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, so did the need for lawn sprinkler systems. The idea of a yard as a place to relax as well as entertain friends and family was increasingly popular and people were looking for ways to keep their lawns beautifully green. Steam pumps that forced water through hoses and onto plants provided the solution they needed.

The First Lawn Sprinkler

In 1871, a man named J. Lessler applied for a patent for his water-propelling, fixed spray lawn sprinkler. The Buffalo, NY-based inventor attached his creation to a garden hose to provide that familiar spray of water. Rotating sprinkler systems came next and, by the 20th century, there were numerous sprinkler head options to choose from, including those that created arches of water. Oscillating sprinkler heads also appeared that produced “curtains” of moisture to cover large sections of ground at a time.

Agricultural Uses & Beyond

sprinkler systemsAs sprinkler systems continued to evolve, their use as farming tools became widespread. And while some farmers continue to favor sizeable above ground sprinklers that shoot water through the air, others opt for underground irrigation systems that rely on electronic or hydraulic technology to provide hundreds of acres with hydration. Today’s irrigation systems come with retractable heads for easy lawn mowing and maintenance and can be set on timers to water certain sections of land at the best times of the day.


Whether you need sprinkler system installation or repair services, count on Whittemore Sprinkler Company, a family-owned and -operated business that’s served the Lincoln, NE, area for nearly 60 years. The oldest company of its kind in the region, team members work on all sprinkler brands and provide residential and commercial services from April through November. Learn more about their offerings online or follow their Facebook page for additional tips and resources. Or call (402) 476-8552 once growing season begins to schedule an appointment.

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