Hansgrohe: A History In Running Water

From bowls and buckets to luxury oasis


In our modern context, the bathtub is a place we can retreat to for peace and quiet, perhaps with a candle or two to set the mood as we fill it up and climb in, letting the warm water wash away concerns and stress, and of course, a warm, invigorating shower can also revitalise you, before or after a long day. However, bathrooms, as we know them, have not always been quite so comfortable. Over the last 120 years, hansgrohe has crafted its own special place in the history of our love of water, and it all started in a small German town at the turn of the 20th century.

A bit of bathroom trivia

Up until the 1900s, bathrooms were not commonplace in ordinary homes. Until plumbing became more common, most people simply used a bowl and a jug as their “baths”, and even as late as the 1920s, most European working-class homes weren’t fitted with bathrooms, but the 20th century was to be an era of great invention and discovery in the history of water. The journey was significantly helped along by hansgrohe and its founder – and namesake – Hans Grohe.

The hansgrohe story began in an old sawmill in 1901, when Hans Grohe, started a business creating metal-spun goods in the small Black Forest town of Schiltach. One of the products he was best known for was a tin shower that was used in the bathroom. So began Hans Grohe’s lifelong love of water.

Showers were a relatively new concept at the time, but they were becoming more popular, and his creation of the product signalled the beginning of something that would grow far beyond his expectations. As private bathrooms in homes became more commonplace in the early 1900s, the shower became a popular, more affordable alternative to the bath.

Soon, Hans Grohe began specialising entirely in metal goods for the bathroom. And in the years to follow, he dedicated his time to re-engineering his range of showers. Hans Grohe went on to become a recognised shower specialist, pioneering new ideas that have shaped the industry as we know it. Today, Hans Grohe’s ideas remain influential, even in modern shower technology.

The flow of time

hansgrohe’s timeline of innovation reads like a history book. From the creation of the firsthand shower with a porcelain handle in 1928, to the birth of the ultimate in shower technology, Rainfinity, in 2019; without hansgrohe, the modern bathroom would be unrecognisable. In 1953, hansgrohe launched the Shower bar Unica – a revolutionary idea that allowed hand showers to be mounted at a required height. In 1968, hansgrohe’s Selecta became the world’s first glass-finish hand shower with adjustable spray modes. 1981 saw the creation of Allegroh – the first single-lever tap with a pull-out spray, and today, the innovations keep coming.

In the global company Hansgrohe has become, the family tradition continues, as Richard Grohe and the other Hansgrohe Group Supervisory Board members carefully watch over the executive board’s work, maintaining the legacy.

Over time, hansgrohe has developed water-wise products which include the EcoSmart, AirPower and CoolStart – all of which cut down on water consumption without compromising on comfort.

What’s to come?

Enter the modern bathroom as we know it. We’re a far cry from outhouses, bowls and jugs. Most homes now have showers, baths or both built into them, and we get to experience the beauty of water in kitchens and bathrooms without a single thought.

To this day, hansgrohe takes inspiring ideas and plays around with them until they have long-term, innovative water-bearing products. hansgrohe has been doing this for 120 years now – being inventive, adopting a stance and taking responsibility – for us, for our children, for our planet, and of course, for the love of water.

hansgrohe. Meet the beauty of water.



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