Residential plumber at work.
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum."
The word "plumber" dates from the Roman Empire. In Roman times lead was known as plumbum in Latin (hence the abbreviation of 'Pb' for lead on the periodic table of the elements). Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drain pipes and some were also covered with lead, lead was also used for piping and for making baths. In medieval times anyone who worked with lead was referred to as a plumber as can be seen from an extract of workmen fixing a roof in Westminster Palace and were referred to as plumbers "To Gilbert de Westminster, plumber, working about the roof of the pantry of the little hall, covering it with lead, and about various defects in the roof of the little hall". Thus a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a Plumbarius which was later shortened to plumber.
Years of training and/or experience are needed to become a skilled plumber; some jurisdictions also require that plumbers be licensed.
Some needed skills, interests, and values
- Reading drawings, and specifications to determine layout of water supply, waste, and venting systems
- Detecting faults in plumbing appliances and systems, and correctly diagnosing their causes
- Installing, repairing and maintaining domestic, commercial, and industrial plumbing fixtures and systems
- Locating and marking positions for pipe connections, passage holes, and fixtures in walls and floors
- Measuring, cutting, bending, and threading pipes using hand and power tools or machines
- Joining pipes and fittings together using soldering techniques, compression fittings, threaded fittings, and push-on fittings.
- Testing pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
- Awareness of legal regulations and safety issues
- Ensuring safety standards and build regulations are met.
Plumbers in the United States
Each state and locality may have its own licensing and taxing schemes for plumbers. There is no federal law establishing licenses for plumbers.
Plumbers in the United Kingdom
The term "White House Plumbers" was a popular name given to the covert White House Special Investigations Unit established on July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Their job was to plug intelligence "leaks" in the U.S. Government relating to the Vietnam War (i.e. the Pentagon Papers); hence the term "plumbers".
- John Braden (politician)
- John Calley (engineer)
- Don Cameron (Victorian politician)
- Frank Courtnay
- Thomas Crapper
- Martin Patrick Durkin
- Tom Finney
- Joseph-Achille Francoeur
- Colin Furze
- Leon Griffith
- Philip Haas (Inventor)
- George Jennings
- Leslie McMahon
- Mike O'Mara (politician)
- Shawn Nelson
- Harry Patch
- Joe the Plumber – During the 2008 US presidential election campaign, Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher questioned Barack Obama's proposed tax plan. The Republican McCain-Palin campaign later applied "Joe the Plumber" as a metaphor for middle-class Americans.
- William J. Spencer
- Leonard Susskind
- Richard Trethewey
- Alphonse Verville
- Orlando Zapata
- The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
- Pulsifer,Notes For a History of Lead, New York University Press, 1888 pp. 132, 158
- Middleton, The Remains of Ancient Rome, Vol. 2, A & C Black, 1892
- Historical production and uses of lead. ila-lead.org
- EW Wedlake; J Britton (1836). "Westminster Palace". The history of the ancient palace and late Houses of Parliament at Westminster. J B Nichols and son. p. 122. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Conry, Tara. "13 More Things Your Plumber Won’t Tell You". Reader’s Digest. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Plumbing Regulations in the United Kingdom". Emergency Plumber UK. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Doubts raised on US 'plumber Joe'". BBC News. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-29. "Joe Wurzelbacher, 34, found himself at the center of a media frenzy on Thursday after "Joe the plumber" was mentioned 26 times during the final debate."