10 Interesting Plumbing Facts

The World’s Most Famous Plumber

The worlds most famous plumber goes by the name of Mario.  Does the name ring a bell?  That’s because he was the star on Nintendo’s Mario Brothers. He went on to become Super Mario and has starred in almost 200 games over the years.

Water Pipes

Water pipes have been used for thousands of years using a variety of materials.  The ancient Egyptians used copper in their piping.  The Romans later used lead piping which is where the work plumber originates from (Plumbum) meaning lead.  Wooded and asbestos pipes have also been used. 

First Flushing Toilet

The first flush toilet was discovered in Crete in 1500 BC in the palace of King Minas.  Flush toilets continued to be used until the fall of the Roman Empire, which caused the technology to be lost for many centuries. 

Talking Toilets

In Japan they take their toilet time seriously, and some of their voice-activated toilets respond to many different commands.  Some play music, some have heated seats, and some have diets, making going to the bathroom an interesting experience.    

Water Waste

In modern society, we waste water on  monumental scale.  For instance, a simple dripping tap can waste as much as 100 gallons of water every week – which converts to over 454.60 L per week!  Not only that, but the water we use while waiting to heat up in the tap is around 9,000 gallons (over 41000L) a year for every household.

Modern Flushing Toilet

There are several people credited with inventing the modern flush toilet, including Alexander Cummin in 1775 and Thomas Crapper in the mid-19th Century.  The actual inventor was Sir John Herrington back in 1596, and his first name has been associated with toilets ever since. 

Copper Tubing

Copper tubing in an integral part of any plumbing system, and in the US alone there are some 5.3 million miles in use. That’s enough to stretch around the world over 200 times.

Lead Solder

Despite the dangers of lead piping, lead solder continued to be used in water pipes until the end of the 1980s.  Lead poisoning can cause brain damage and even death, but it was not until the 1990s that we wised up and stopped using it in our plumbing.

Sewer Explosions

Not all sewer explosions are caused by methane gas.  The 1981 explosions in Louisville Kentucky tat destroyed 3 kilometres of streets were caused by the illegal discharge of hexane vapours from a soybean plant, and the 1929 sewer explosions in Ottawa Canada were caused by flammable motor oils being poured down the drains.

First Fire Sprinkler System

The first sprinkler system was invented by Henry Par in 1864 t protect his US piano factory from fire.  Despite patenting the idea, he failed to sell many systems in his day, although today every kind of retail premise has such a sprinkler system installed.