The Bucket Story -3

Pragya Goenka
4 min readJun 10, 2020

Now that we have seen that ,this small object is present in multiple areas of our life, more than we give it credit for. But where does it come from? How has it evolved over time? Why was it needed in the first place? Is it actually needed in modern times?


Since the very beginning of human civilizations, bucket is an essential part of any household. As humans started settling , agriculture need for irrigation and storage of water rose. And hence , a wooden bucket was being used. As Indus valley civilization bloomed in the bronze age (around 3300 BC), wooden bucket was replaced by bronze bucket to draw out water from wells .

A bronze bucket found in Indus valley civilization

Around the same time in Egypt the first depiction of a thing closest to a bucket can be found in a panel carving from Pharoah Narmer’s tomb . It shows a man carrying an object which looks like a bucket . Many experts reading the panel believes ,it is a pictorial depiction of a ceremony where the an is sprinkling ceremonial water out of the bucket using a pine cone like thing .

Narmer palette


Greek civilization used terracotta bucket called situla , used for decanting, cooling and serving wine.These buckets were beautifully painted and engraving. Another , common material for a situla was metal but some rare ones were made out of glass with silver handles.

Situla dated 350 BCE


In northern European countries, during the early medieval period people were using buckets made out of wood , leather and rope. These were majorly used in domestic chores. Coopers fashioned wooden buckets by fitting wooden staves inside metal rings in the Middle Ages. The use of buckets expanded from domestic to Coopers fashioned wooden buckets by fitting wooden staves inside metal rings in the Middle Ages. Buckets were made not only for holding water but other things as well.

Cooper’ wet wood bucket


With discovery of galvanized iron, sturdy and rustproof galvanized buckets rapidly replaced leather and wooden buckets sometime in the Eighteenth Century. The galvanized buckets were long lasting and stronger as they were rust resistant , than the wooden buckets.The basic metal bucket was further adapted for a variety of uses including coal scuttles, poultry feeders and drinkers, mop buckets and digger buckets.

Galvanized bucket


Cheap, light, multi-colored plastic buckets first became available in 1967, in a variety of shapes and sizes.Despite of advancement in technology and inventions , they continued being used in household today with minor stylisation.


While the primary material of the bucket remains plastic , designers now aim at solving everyday problems or challenges faced while using the bucket . Here some links to some design concepts , I looked up.

Studying the bucket throughout the history , I realized the basic cylindrical form have been constant throughout , until recently.