24-Hour Emergency Service

Free Estimates

Commercial and Residential Full Service Restoration

9 Facts About Plumbing You Never Knew

by | Mar 10, 2022 | Plumbing

9 Facts About Plumbing You Never Knew

Did you know that plumbing is one of the oldest engineering disciplines? It dates back to ancient civilizations that used clay and stone pipes to carry water.

Today, plumbing is a complex system that helps us get water into our homes and businesses.  We take it for granted, but there are many interesting facts about plumbing that you may not know!

Fact #1: What the Word Plumbing Actually Means

The word ‘plumbing’ comes from the Latin word ‘plumbum,’ which means lead.

Lead was used in plumbing pipes until the early 20th century, when it was discovered that lead could be toxic to humans. Today, copper and plastic are the materials of choice for plumbing pipes.

Fact #2: The First Toilet

The first water closet (or toilet) was invented by Sir John Harington in 1596. Why else would we call a toilet “the John?” Harington was Queen Elizabeth 1’s godson, and he presented her with the first “flush” toilet.

While she was excited about her godson’s invention, she was afraid to use the gadget.

It was a wooden seat with a hole over a large basin. When nature called, the user would flush the toilet with water from a bucket into a cesspool.

Fact #3: Indoor Plumbing

Up until the 18th century, some people in Europe didn’t have indoor plumbing. They would go outside to “use the bathroom” or relieve themselves in a chamber pot.

In some cases, they would even use public toilets! In the 19th century, scientists connected wastewater and disease, and more widespread plumbing came soon after.

Fact #4: The First Flushing Toilet

Benjamin Franklin invented the first flushing toilet in 1770. Franklin’s design was pretty smart. It was a circular pit surrounded by brick.

However, Benjamin Franklin’s “privy pit” was close to his drinking water well. In his defense, that was before scientific discoveries pointed to a link between contaminated water and sickness.

Fact #5: Plumbers Don’t Get Enough Appreciation!

A plumber’s typical workday is not as glamorous as you think! Plumbers often must deal with sewage, dirty water, and other unsanitary conditions.

They also must be skilled in various tasks, such as carpentry, welding, and electrical work. The skillset of a skilled plumber is something to truly marvel. They are the unsung heroes of home maintenance!

When they show up to fix that leak in your pipes, you know exactly what we mean!

Fact #6: Albert Einstein Had Plumber Envy

Maybe not really, but in 1954, Einstein wrote, “I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.”

He felt that teachers and scientists were being judged harshly at the time. Many plumbers responded. One, a NY-based plumber, said he’d always wanted to be a scholar, so and suggested the two should team up.

Einstein was also offered honorary membership in the Chicago plumbers union.

Fact #7: Universal Plumber Toolbox

A plumber’s tools of the trade include wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, saws, and hammers. Every plumber has these basic tools which speaks to the number of skills a plumber must possess.

Of course, they also use various specialized tools, such as pipe cutters, tubing benders, and threading machines. Some even use things like video scopes for inspecting inside the pipes.

Fact #8: The Godfather of Metal Was Also a Plumber

Ozzy Osbourne was a plumber’s apprentice. It’s true!

At 15 years of age, Osbourne left school and worked as a trainee plumber, did some time at a slaughterhouse, worked on construction sites, and tuned car horns in a factory.

Other famous almost-plumbers include Joe Cocker, Michael Caine, and Bob Hoskins.

Fact #9: The Deal with Manhole Covers

Manhole covers are round so they can’t fall through the hole.

Think about it. A round manhole cover can’t fall through the opening even turned on its side. They’re also easier to put back on because they lack angles for alignment. And round manholes are easier to make.

We hope you enjoyed our list of plumbing facts! While plumbing may not be the most glamorous profession, it’s interesting. If you need full-service plumbing services, contact us today.





Going through insurance? We work directly with all insurance companies to ensure a fast and easy restoration!


The team at B+M Clean provides the expertise and assistance you need to navigate the restoration process with minimal stress. Call our team today for a free estimate: