April 25th is set aside each year to honor plumbers. At Sonnhalter, we have a great appreciation for plumbers and the work that they do. Today, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter will be sharing with you about plumbing.
Often plumbers don’t receive the credit and fame that they deserve unless they’re Mario and Luigi and trying to save a princess. The Super Mario Brothers are the most famous plumbers, and they live in a Nintendo game.
The reality is that without plumbers, our world would be far from sanitary or pleasant. As part of our team’s commitment to getting our hands dirty in our clients’ work, we’ve had the opportunity to see plumbers at work, we’ve used their tools and we’ve heard their stories; we know that they deserve to be honored today.
Plumbers do much more than unclog drains and fix leaky faucets – it’s plumbers who install the miles of piping that make hot, cold and process water and gas utilities possible. Using a little research combined with our knowledge of the profession, we’ve put together a list of things you may not know about plumbing:
- The word “plumber” goes back to the Roman Empire and the Latin word “plumbum” for lead.
- It’s because of a plumber that the Chicago River is dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day. The river was first turned green in 1962 using plumbing dye for detecting leaks. (more of that story here)
- The ancient Egyptians had plumbing systems. Archeologists have found lavatories inside tombs as well. (more on that here)
- Since 1963, more than 28 billion feet, or about 5.3 million miles, of copper tubing has been installed in U.S. buildings.
- In 2004, there were more than 91,000 miles of water distribution piping in the U.S. 78% of that pipe is made of PVC.
- In 2011, there were approximately 555,900 plumbers and pipefitters working in the U.S. (via the 2011 Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance)
- Plumbers install and repair pipes for water, but also for: steam, air and a variety of liquids and gases.
- Toilets have saved more lives than any other invention.
- Thomas Crapper did not actually invent the toilet. Sir John Harrington actually invented the first flush toilet. (more on that here)
- Thomas Crapper owned his own plumbing shop in London by the time he was 25 and was awarded nine patents for plumbing innovations during his lifetime, three of them consisting of improvements to the flushing toilet.
- Plumbers installed 2,500 toilets and 2,500 sinks in the Empire State Building. The building also has 70 miles of pipe (more on that here).
Today we salute the ones who keep everything flowing, and not overflowing. We’re thankful for the dedicated plumbers who answer the call and don’t recount the tales of what they’ve pulled out of pipes.