The History of French Drains

French drain

A French Drain will help protect your home from flooding year round.

As we approach winter and get ready for the constant snow-melt-ice-melt-snow-melt cycle, drains are more important than ever when it comes to keeping the inside of your home dry. You might be looking to install some new drains in your basement or on the outside of your home to prevent damage to your foundation and keep water from seeping in, and in the process, you may have come across French drains. You might already have French drains inside of your home! Read on to find out more about the history of French drains and whether or not they’re very French at all.

It All Starts with Henry

Henry Flagg French was an assistant secretary of the Treasury of the United States under Ulysses S. Grant and he was very fascinated with agriculture. One of the most common problems facing farmers was having too much water accumulated on perfectly good farmland, rendering it unusable. By draining the farm fields somehow, the land could be usable again. Adding to the problem, Henry French believed that the vapors that rose from swampy and flooded farmland caused disease.

Doing the Research

Henry’s belief that standing water created disease inspired his trip to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Once he returned, he published a book titled “Farm Drainage” in 1859, and it is considered the definitive research text on drainage (I bet you didn’t know there was one!). Henry explored a variety of different drainage techniques that were popular back then—the Deanston System, the Keythorpe System, and the Wharncliffe System. Henry also examined different styles and sizes of pipes and measured their efficacy at getting rid of water. The conclusion of his book resulted in the invention of the French drain, an excavated trench that is filled with gravel and a perforated pipe that serves to carry away accumulated water.

Still Tried and True

While Henry French published his book and invented his drain in the 1800s, his research and methods are still celebrated today. The French drain is excellent at keeping your basement (and the exterior of your home) free of any excess water. Next time you are looking at drains, make sure to give thanks to Henry French for all of the work that he did!

Ready for French Drains in Your Home?

If you are ready to get a professional to install French drains in your home, contact All Aspects Waterproofing, a Better Business Bureau A+ rated company with over 30 years of experience in the Washington, DC./Maryland/Virginia area. We have a great deal of experience in waterproofing, mold testing, and mold remediation, and we want to make you feel at home again. Contact us online or by calling 1-866-999-3110 or 301-766-4420.  To see what we’re up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Houzz.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 18th, 2016 at 9:59 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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