Italians have often been at the forefront of new developments in the history of technology and this was certainly the case for taps and faucets. As we soon learn from a visit to from the Museum of the Tap the first archaeological evidence of genuine taps are “valvulae” from the Ancient Roman era. These are taps of the “male” type, with a perforated cylinder inserted inside a water pipe, which can be rotated to permit or stop water from flowing.
But a lot of water has certainly passed under the proverbial bridge since Roman times and taps now incorporate some very complex technology.
Taps: how could we ever live without them?
Perhaps you have been lucky enough to hear your grandparents talking about the days when a bathroom in their house was an impossible dream and when people used a pump in the yard to get their water for drinking or washing. These tales remind us that, although the tap was invented in Ancient Roman times, mixers and designer taps as we now know them only appeared in the middle of the 20th century.
Where does the word “faucet” come from? It derives from the old French word fausset, from the verb falsar meaning “to drill” or “to bore” and in the Middle Ages it meant a bung for closing the hole of a barrel, or a tap for drawing liquid from a container. By the mid 19th century it had already taken on its current sense. The word “tap” instead comes from the Old English tæppa meaning a tapered stopper for the vent-hole of a cask. It is connected with the German noun Zapfen, which also means a “fir-cone”, due to its conical shape. These objects were originally solid but then were hollowed out like a short tube so that the contents of the cask could be drawn from them.
How a tap is made
Most taps are made of brass or stainless steel and then covered with a protective layer of nickel or chromium, by means of a plating process. Of course the quality of the tap depends on the raw materials used and by the manufacturing process used. At our plant in Casalmorano we aim to attain the highest standards. An essential practice is the operation of cleaning the brass that precedes the plating procedure. This is carried out by automated systems that produce a perfectly smooth surface, in order to ensure a better bond between the metal surface and the plating.
In our company we consider plating to be our particular strength, as it is thanks to this procedure that Palazzani taps keep on shining in your bathrooms day after day. The surfaces of all our items are covered in nickel or chromium with a thickness of no less than 20 microns, in strict compliance with the most exacting tests of durability and longevity, so that they will be as good as new for years and years.