Plumbing: A Profession Built on Lead, At First

History of Plumbing in ChristchurchThe modern accessibility of water is easy to take for granted, especially since entire generations of people have already lived with a faucet just nearby. But, in the ages when water had to be manually transported from wells, cisterns, springs and rivers, the development of a new system for supplying water was a pipedream in more than the literal sense of the word.

Fortunately, one man by the name of Appius Claudius Caecus decided to do something about it.

Lead the Way

While it is true that the Roman aqueduct is now more of a historic sight than a preferable means of water conveyance, its construction around 312 B.C. was as ground-breaking as, well, finding groundwater. Never before did entire communities have access to a water supply as convenient as the Roman aqueduct provided.

Of course, the refinement of the aqueduct concept and the development of new water conveyance systems led to a host of issues down the line, the most pressing of which was the maintenance of all these networks, as well as the implementation of repairs should anything break.

What came next was the birth of the lead worker profession — plumbarius as they called it in Latin.

More or Less the Same

The designation was quite literal too, since plumbus is the Latin word for lead, which was the most common material used in the construction of ancient water supply system. It replaced wood and clay for all the reasons the plumbing industry uses metal pipes today.

Professionals from Walton Plumbing say, however, that the industry recognises brass alloys as the safe alternative to lead piping, the dangers of which only came to sufficient light in recent decades.

Plumbing, like many other trade professions, has undergone very little changes in terms of concept, and this is a significant point in its favour. After all, with a task as practical as supplying water, there is no use not trying to get it right the first time.