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20 Interesting Facts About Plumbing and Its Rich History

You’d never know but modern plumbing is an interesting story. From it’s start, plumbing has always been a feature of our modern lives that are always looking to get improved. From indoor single handle faucet to sprinkler systems, we can’t help but list out some of the more interesting facts about the plumbing industry.

  1. Standardized plumbing can be traced back to around 3,000 B.C. when the Indus River Valley civilization used earthen plumbing pipes to provide transportable water and drain wastes.
  2. If you have a leaky faucet that drips twice per minute, you’ll waste over a gallon of water in a week.
  3. The flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596, which is where we get the nickname “the John.” We also call the toilet “the crapper” because of Thomas Crapper, who widely increased the popularity of it.
  4. The word “plumber” comes from the Latin word “plumbum,” which means “lead.”
  5. There are two different types of plungers – a toilet plunger and a sink/shower plunger. Toilet plungers narrow at the bottom to fit into the toilet while sink/shower plungers are flat.
  6. In 1939, Al Moen invented the single-handle faucet that can control hot and cold water in just one turn.
  7. Insulating your home’s pipes can reduce the amount of heat lost as your water travels from your heater to your faucet. You’ll run less water waiting for it to warm up and save money on your utility bills.
  8. The floating mechanism in your toilet’s water tank is called a ballcock and it controls the flow of water.
  9. The first fire sprinkler system was invented by a British man named Sir William Congreve. He perforated pipes along the ceiling and installed a valve outside the building that could be opened to send water through them.
  10. Manhole covers are circular because if they’re turned sideways, they can’t fall through their own opening.
  11. Albert Einstein was made an honorary member of the Plumbers and the Steamfitters Union after he had announced that he would be a plumber if he had to live his life all over again.
  12. In the technology capital of the world, Japan, some urinals have voice activated flushing mechanisms. The urinals respond to several commands, including “fire.”
  13. Over $100,000 were spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind.
    The answer: Three out of four people have the flap in the front.
  14. 90% of pharmaceuticals taken by people are excreted through urination. Therefore our sewer systems contain a heavy dose of drugs. A recent study by the EPA has found fish containing trace amounts of estrogen, cholesterol-lowering drugs, pain relievers, antibiotics, caffeine and even anti-depressants.
  15. President Richard Nixon had set up a White House Special Investigations Unit to plug intelligence leaks in the governmental processes associated with the Vietnam War. The members of this convert group were popularly called “plumbers.”
  16. The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year. We imagine the 8 million pounds of popcorn, 28 million pounds of potato chips, and 1 billion chicken wings really get to you at halftime.
  17. Who are the most famous plumbers ever? Mario and Luigi of course! They have been in over 200 games since Mario Bros was created in 1985.
  18. King George II of Great Britain died falling off a toilet on the 25th of October 1760.
  19. The “Bathroom” has been named many different things in many different places. Here are a few of my favorite ones: The Egyptians named it the House of Horror, the Romans named it the Necessarium for obvious reasons. The Tudors who ruled England for a period of time called the bathroom the privy or house of privacy. People of France call it “La Chambre Sent” meaning the smelly house, self-explanatory of course. Israelis call the bathroom the house of honor, this one confuses us the most.
  20. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet. We hope you brought a good book.
  21. And BONUS! Famous and often controversial rockstar Ozzy Osbourne was a plumber’s apprentice before getting into the music industry.

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