Origins Of The Plumber.

Origins Of The Plumber.

The term ‘plumber dates from ancient times and belongs to the Latin word for lead, or ‘plumbum’. The word ‘plumber’ dates back to the Roman Empire. During this time lead was referred to the Latin plumbum. Roman roofing used lead in its channels and so did drainpipes, some of which were occasionally covered in lead. Lead was additionally used for piping for baths. In medieval times any individual that worked with lead was referred to as a plumbing professional as can be seen from an extract showing workers fixing a roofing system in the Westminster Royal residence, and from which we can see a plumber being addressed in the manner, “To Gilbert de Westminster, plumbing contractor, functioning regarding the roof of the cupboard of the little hall, covering it with lead, and concerning numerous defects in the roofing of the little hall”. Thus an individual with know-how in working with lead was initially recognized as a Plumbarius which was later on shortened to plumber.


Water was initially moved manually and was gotten from wells, cisterns, springs and streams until a Appius Claudius produced a better water supply system called the aqueduct. The very first aqueduct was constructed in 312 B.C. and was named in honour of its creator. It was an outstanding 11 miles long. The Romans took their water seriously and were one of the first to develop warm water as well as steam systems, which was used to create their marvellous public baths. These baths were extremely popular and in the the city centres was a place to chat and get together. They were very elegant and each city certainly aimed to have the most lavish. The baths of Diocletian were some of the most charming; seating over 3000 individuals with mosaic-covered walls and streams of warm and comfortable water continually flowing in in lovely silver.

By the fourth century A.D., Rome had 1,352 public water fountains and cisterns, 11 public and 856 private bathrooms. At this point in time even the most educated Romans did not yet comprehend anything concerning microorganisms as real sources of illness, so aside from a daily emptying and re-filling of the general public bathrooms, there was no hygiene system in place. Despite having a day-to-day cleaning, the water would still quite certainly have been loaded with bacteria from the hundreds of people sitting same impure, unfiltered water. The Greeks disagreed with the suggestion of luxurious public bathrooms and although they recognized the merits of a warm water supply they preferred to utilize cold water; it was assumed unmanly to use warm water. A bathroom was far more solitary as well as useful for a Spartan. A male would stand in a sleek marble bowl about 30″ in height and have a servant pour cold water over his head and physical body for a quick, effective rinse. From their point of view, the colder the water, the better.

Eventually, the popularity of bathing vanished with the fall of the Roman Empire. Instead, showering, powders, oils and perfumes were used. The emphasis was more on concealing undesirable physical body smells than maintaining cleanliness. When the Black Plague started seeping throughout the world the absence of sanitation sparked the embers of an epidemic.

history of plumbing, plumber

An artist’s illustration of a scene from an ancient Roman bath.

Renovation work was sluggish, with little efficient development made until the growth of modern densely inhabited cities in the 1800s. The link between maintaining tidiness and remaining healthy was gradually being understood. During this duration, hygienic authorities started pressing for far better waste disposal systems to be developed to avoid or regulate epidemics. Previously, waste disposal was simply to gather waste and then discarding into holes dug in the ground or right into a river.

The first sewage systems were built by the Romans between 800 B.C. and also 735 B.C. (about 500 years prior to the very first aqueduct). The Cloaca Maxima is among the largest ancient drains still being used. Every street was connected into the sewer network by drains, which transported waste into the Tiber River. Latrines were located beside the kitchen areas where the ends of the drain and sewers where air flow facilitated the removal of odours. After years of illogical systems of waste removal they began to recognize the link between the ailments of cooks and housemaids and came up with a brand-new, practical system. Without proper planning, they had been building pipelines in ridiculous ways such as uphill or at angles, leaving the sewage with no where to go and clogging up. In some areas the only way to get rid of their waste was by tossing it out the window. Residents needed to shout, “Yard l’eau!” (meaning ‘watch out for the water!’) to warn people to get out of the way!

Layouts for better waste system were produced, and the world’s first interior flushing commode, or ‘water closet’, was invented in 1700 B.C. in the Minoan Royal residence of Knossos on the island of Crete, containing a wooden seat and a tiny basin of water. Sir John Harington was next to develop a brand-new, enhanced ‘washout closet’ in the 16th Century. Almost 200 years later, in 1775 Alexander Cumming patented the modern flushing toilet of today with his creation of the S-Trap.

Type of plumber, history of the plumber.

Before people recognized the health hazards, lead, known as plumbum in Latin, was extensively used in piping, thus its association with the modern term ‘plumber’.

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