Water softening is the process of eliminating calcium, magnesium, and iron ions from water to make it soft. The water which contains high amounts of minerals is considered hard. Since hard water is not safe for use, water softening was invented in the early 1900s. The earlier softeners did not have water right sanitizer parts.
There were different water treatment methods which were practiced by the ancient Greeks and Indians. In ancient history, people were familiar with the fact that water had to be filtered in order to make it safe for drinking. Although the technologies were not invented back then, there were traditional methods. People boiled water to remove impurities from it. The major motive was to make the water tastier. Those people did not know about the minerals and microorganisms present in the water.
The invention of Water Softeners
In 1850, Harry Stephen Meysey Thompson started experimenting with ammonium sulfate solution. He was an agriculturist and took help from John Thomas Way, who was a chemist. Together they observed that when the solution of ammonium sulfate passed through the soil, it contained additional calcium sulfate. This experimentation led to the discovery of different minerals. This was the beginning of industrial water softening.
In 1905 Dr. Robert Gans developed the first water softener. He was a German and invented the very first hardness removal system in the world. He used a type of soil to remove the hardness of water. Until 1938, water softening became the most popular way of water treatment. The water softeners that we used today were not developed until 1936. In that year, the scientists actually lowered the number of minerals present in water using ion exchange.
Spread of Water Softeners to Every Household
People started using these water softeners in their houses from the 1920s. The earliest softener did not have water right sanitizer parts and was very big in size.
The technology further developed in the 1950s as the water softeners became portable and contained an electric mechanism. In the 1990s, the electric water softener had overpowered the non-electric ones. They became very popular in almost every household.
With the passage of time and advancement of technology, water softeners kept on upgrading. With the spread of technology, pollution started increasing. There was an increase in the hard water. Having water right sanitizer parts became crucial in every household. Some of the commercial water softeners were used for industrial purposes. The companies producing water softeners started increasing. There was an increased demand for these appliances to treat the hard water.
This technology has advanced a lot, especially in the 2000s. The updated versions of water softeners have more advanced resins and they can target specific minerals in the water. In the next 100 years, this technology will go through further improvements. People are conducting researches to make ion exchange membrane which can be generated electrically. If this happens, you will not have to use salts to soften the water. It is good news for those who do not like the little salty taste of water coming from a water softener.