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25Oct

Pool Filters - It's Kind of a Big Deal

Waters Choice customers know that our Pure Enzyme Concentrate for Pools are THE hardest working piece in your pool! But what is the second piece? It's your pool filter! 

Along with our water cleaning  enzymes, your pool filter is also one of the hardest-working pieces of equipment on your swimming pool. In fact, it's capable of removing the contaminants that make swimming pools not just uninviting, but unhygienic and dangerous.

History of Basic Water Filtration

Basic water filtration has been around for thousands of years because humans have likely always believed that water purity was important. Purity was determined by its appearance, taste, and odor. With that said, methods for water filtration can be traced to earliest recorded history. In fact, Sanskrit Medical texts advised filtering water through sand in approximately 2,000 BC.

The Domestic Water Filter

According to July 2022's issue of "Service Industry News" the first domestic water filter wasn't invented until 2nd century BC when Hippocrates, known as the Father of medicine, introduced the "Hippocratic Sleeve." It was a simple cloth bag through which water could be poured after being boiled. Nontheless, the first documented use of modern day sand filters dates to 1804 when John Gibb, the owner of a bleachery in Scotland installed an experimental filter and sold his surplus to the public.

Sand Filters

Although using sand for water filtration became refined by private water companies in London in the decades that followed as filtered water and it was supplied to every resident in the area.

A Series of Fatal Epidemics

The practice of filtering water for sanitation in Western civilization only began to be taken very seriously, however, after a series of epidemics (cholera in 1854 and typhoid fever in 1856) caused scientists to wonder if contaminated water might be resonsible for spreading diseases. Physician John Snow demonstrated that contaminated water was the source of the outbreak, which led to the Metropolis Water Act. Further, it was the first time that water supply companies were regulated and it set water quality standards that involved filtration.

Modern Methods of Filtration

Sand filtration has been in use for thousands of years, but our modern methods of water filtration remain a relatively recent development.  Within swimming pools and spas, the current most prevalent forms of filtration also include Diatomaceous Earth and cartidge filtration. These were only first implemented in the 20th century. There are many sand media alternatives such as glass particles, perlite, and cellulose.

Esther Williams' 1930's Aqua Musicals

It's been long reported that Diatomaceous Earth was first used in Hollywood swimming pools during the filming of Ester Williams' aqua musicals in the 1930's. Furthermore, it's said that the pool water continuously needed to be replaced due to cloudiness. So local engineers slected Diatomaceous Earth as the ideal media to keep the water clear for filming. Sadly Williams' first bathing beauty movie didn't come out until 1944.

Diatomaceous Earth Water Purification

Diatomaceous Earth water purification is commonly attributed to being developed by the US Army Engineer Research and Developoment laboratories who were looking for a new type of water filter suitable for rapid mobile military operations during World War II.  However, it had been used for water purification as early as 1892 during a cholera epidemic in Hamburg, Germany after Wilhelm Berkefeld recognized the ability of diatomaceous earth to filter water and invented Berkefeld filters.

Sometime during or after the war, Diatomaceous Earth filtration was applied to swimming pool water, perhaps because it was popularized by Hollywood and became the dominant filtration method, especially in Southern California pools where it's still widely used today.

Reemay - A Woven Polyester Material

Diatomaceous Earth use was still in it's infancy in 1956 when Dick Meissner began manufacturing Diatomaceous Earth filter bags for Anthony Pools.  They were called the Anthony McIntosh filter bag and they were the first products made by Unicel, with Meissner it's president and founder. Meanwhile cartridge filtration only emerged as a viable pool medium following Dupont's invention of Reemay, a new non-woven but rather spun-bonded 100% polyester material.

Additionally, early efforts at cartridge filtration were made with a paper-type material that didn't hold up well in swimming pool applications. However, Meissner recognized the potential of this new medium and in 1964 the company came out with the first cartidge element made of Reemay, which is still widely used the today's cartidge filters.

In the decades that followed, many advancements and new technoligies emerged for swimming pool filtration.

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