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Four Fun Historical Facts About Plumbing You Probably Didn’t Know

Did you know plumbing has been part of human history for over 6,000 years? It’s true. The Roman Empire moved water over vast distances with their aqueduct system and even had lead pipes to deliver fallen rain and lake reserves directly into its people’s homes.

The Romans were not alone. The Mayans had pressurized water, the ancient Persians used plumbing to create a form of air conditioning, and China’s Han dynasty had an enormous complex of pipes that spanned the underground of full cities. Without water there cannot be a complex, thriving society.

Plumbing is a key invention that allowed ancient cities to grow and prosper by delivering earth’s liquid life-source to growing populations.

We here at Ben Franklin Plumbing would like to celebrate the rich history of our craft. So, we have created a list of our favorite tidbits about plumbing that span its rich lifespan. Let’s start with #1.

Fun Fact #1: Albert Einstein wanted to be a plumber.

In a 1954 interview with The Reporter, a newspaper located in Lansdale, PA, the famous physicist is quoted as saying, “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.”

He goes on to discuss how he loves the independence the job provides. The job is a man working with his tools to fix problems and help people.

Fixing a broken water heater may not be as unique as creating the theory of relativity, but even Einstein valued and understood the level of diagnostic skill it takes to do the job right.

Fun Fact #2: President Richard Nixon Established a Whitehouse Special Investigations Unit called “The Plumbers.”

On July 24th, 1971, Nixon created a special task force to stop information leaks in the white house. Who better to stop a leak than a plumber?

After the leak of the Pentagon Papers, a United States Department of Defense history of military action in Vietnam from 1945-1967, the unit was put together to stop breaches in security.

We here at Ben Franklin Plumbing are much less into espionage. We prefer an honest days work that gets the job done. But, hey, it’s nice to get some recognition from The President of the United States!

Fun Fact #3: The first public water main was established in New York in 1830.

1830s New York had a big problem with fire damage. There was a large population in a continually growing area and the firefighting force had difficulty reacting to all the emergencies in time.

To solve this, New York Mayor John Townsend established a public water main that would allow people to fight fires themselves and create more points of access for the firefighters of the time.

It was a bold move that allowed New York to become the thriving metropolis it is today. Without proper plumbing, the big apple may very well have gone up in smoke.

Fun Fact #4: Crete’s King Minos Had a Flushing Toilet in 1700 B.C.

The system relied on a crude mechanism that involved pouring a jug of water. However, by all historical accounts the simple machine worked. It was created for his wife as a sign of Crete’s growing technological skill.

The house King Minos created for her had over 1,300 rooms, one of which contained the stunningly early example of complex plumbing.

We here at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Wilmington DE hope you had fun learning about the history of our work. The next time one of our plumbers comes to your house, we’ll get the job done—we have a history of doing that!