We all know that plumbing is serious work, however, that doesn’t mean there are not any funny or interesting facts about this industry. Let’s have a look at some today!
#1. Origin of the Word “Plumber”
Have you ever thought about where the word plumber comes from? Most of us don’t. But, anyway, the word can be traced back to the Ancient Romans. As we all learnt from chemistry class, the chemical symbol for lead is Pb, or plumbium. And wouldn’t you know it, the Roman plumbing system was made of lead pipes. Romans who worked with lead were known as “plumbarius” and over time it has shortened to become the word we use today.
#2. The World’s Oldest Sewer Systems
One of the most complex ancient sewer systems is located in Rome. Named by the Romans as Cloaca Maxima, which translates to the “Greatest Sewer”, this structure was built between the 6th and 7th century. Back then, plumbing systems were only used for carrying away rainwater. However, the Roman’s sewer system was built as an open drainage system during the reign of Tarquinius that could also empty the marshlands and carry waste to the nearby Tiber River. This is why the Romans were very pleased with themselves for coming up with such an effective drainage system.
Another ancient sewer system that was discovered is situated in the palace ruins of the Indus River Valley in India. Besides, in ancient Egypt, evidence of indoor plumbing systems was found at the Pyramid of Cheops, which was estimated to be from 2500 BCE. But, the surprising thing that was discovered by archeologists was that the ancient Egyptians used copper piping, much like modern plumbing.
#3. What Is the Most Expensive Toilet?
This is a funny plumbing fact. What comes to your mind when I tell you the world’s expensive toilet? For me, it was either a toilet covered in gold, like the Hang Fung toilet or one that comes from Japan. Why Japan out of all countries? Well, the technical wizards in Nihon have devised heated toilet seats that can warm your bum and a toilet can talk to you (if you don’t know what I am talking about, Google the new Neo model from Japanese toilet maker Toto).
But in fact, the real winner is the toilet on the International Space Station. Worth around $19 million, this unassuming piece of Russian hardware can strap astronauts in place, and also suck waste into a filtration tank where liquid waste is turned into drinking water. Well, it’s not like there’s running tap water in space, right?
#4. Albert Einstein Was a Fan of Plumbing
The great Albert Einstein may have been a renowned theoretical physicist, but he was also an honorary member in the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union in Washington, D.C. The union granted him symbolic membership and the scientist gained many fans from the plumbing community when he revealed the following in an interview in 1954:
“If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.”
#5. Bathroom Names
Throughout the human history and different cultures around the world, bathroom has had many different terms and names. For example, in ancient Egypt, it was called the “house of horror” while the Romans call it the “necessarium,” and the French used to refer to it as “la chambre sent” (smelly house).
What do you think about these facts? Please share your comments!