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The History of Plumbing

While you might understand your trade in these modern times, you also might be interested in the painstakingly slow but steady evolution of plumbing in this great country of ours.

Native Americans and New World Settlers both, did not use communal waste areas. They casually discharged their waste in running water, open fields, forests or by shrubbery. It actually wouldn't be until midway through the 19th century before America would develop semi-efficient water and sewage systems. Until then, well…

Chamber Pots and Outhouses

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plumbing insurance history

In the early 1600s and 1700s chamber pots were used. This slowly gave way to the outhouse (also called the privy). The 1730 outhouse of William Byrd (Virginia) was made of brick and boasted five holes. A more advanced one of two stories (the second story was used when the first floor was blocked by heavy snow) was built about 25 years later in Crested Butte, CO.

Indoor Plumbing

It wasn't until 1829 that a 26-year old architect named Isaiah Rogers built the first hotel (The Tremont in Boston) with indoor plumbing. Eight water closets were on the ground floor of the four story hotel. Fine corridors connected this area to the rest of the hotel. The water was drawn from a metal storage tank which was set on the roof. There, a system was rigged to remove the waste water to the sewerage system.

While central heating was mainly confined to public rooms and hallways, guestrooms did not have heat which slowed the development of bathrooms.

The Golden Age of Plumbing

By 1845, sanitary sewers were being installed but in 1874, an unknown plumber solved the problem of venting by installing pipes from the bathrooms to outside the structures. In 1876, a jet siphon closet was created which delivered water to flush the rim and to start the siphon for the commode.

The golden age of plumbing in America was from 1929 to 1954 when sales of plumbing products and heating equipment went from $498 million to $2.33 billion!

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History is good to know but it's hard to imagine living without the modern convenience of today's plumbing fixtures that you install and repair.

And while we don't know much about history, we do know how to insure plumbers! Contact us today for plumbing contracting insurance especially designed for your business. We will help make sure you are protected against any loss that could harm your business.

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