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Old comments[edit]

There must be more to plumbing than an Albert Einstein reference! How about using CCTV to check for rats? JFW | T@lk 21:03, 10 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The last link to plumbing quotes is an advertisement and should be removed. DJW2tone 13:57, 17 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plumbers in politics (White House SIU)[edit]

I'd like to see the info on the SIU moved to a stub page and for a disambiguation page to be created for both usages. I'll try to figure out how to do that myself if no one else feels inclined. - Kent Heiner (talk) 15:59, 23 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Never mind, I see there already is an article called "White House Plumbers." - Kent Heiner (talk) 16:30, 23 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about moving that referenvce from the body of the article to a disambiguation link at the top because that would immediately move people searching to the correct article if they want white house plombers. LaidOff (talk) 16:33, 23 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wealthy Plumbers[edit]

Plumbers are known to be unexpectedly well paid when one considers the blue collar nature of their work; perhaps some learned person might like to write a small discussion on this.

"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 in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances." -Albert Einstein, The Reporter, 18 November 1954

Shortly after making this remark, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, A.F.L. in Washington, D.C. voted to grant Einstein an honorary membership. Einstein was reportedly well pleased with this honor. - reword if this is actually true??

The whole section about Einstein lacks a reference, so the entire section should be removed. Addhoc 12:25, 24 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is mentioned here, here cites the quote from above, also listed on wikiquote. Isn't wikiquote a good enough source to use here? --Brianmc 17:07, 6 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I know it's tempting, but please do not add commercial, etc. content or links. 14:05, 7 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article as it currently stands is very US-centric. In the UK for instance a plumber deals with "potable (drinking) water, sewage, drainage" and hydronic heating but not generally "venting, heating and air-conditioning, or industrial process plant piping". Sheet lead work is also still part of the craft training for "Plumbing" although as likely to be carried out by a roofer as a plumber nowadays. Gas fitting is also a specialisation of plumbing (and commonly referred to as such).

The "organised labor"/"nonunion" and "Master Plumber" references are also not relevant everywhere outside the USA.

--John Stumbles 00:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I am from the US and I can tell you that generally it is NOT a plumber who who installs "venting, heating, and air-conditioning... piping." This is done either by a sheetmetal worker or heating and air worker. Perhaps this is a regional thing. ```` (talk) 05:34, 14 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In Canada, plumbers are responsible for potable and non potable water supplies, soil and waste drainage into the public systems, venting for said drainage, stormwater and rainwater drainage into the public systems, gasfitting for natural gas and propane. heating, including furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and hydronics. At an industrial and public project level plumbers pipe for applications ranging from nuclear reactors to city sewers. Perhaps it would be best to include sections that specify responsibilities in various jurisdictions?


There is absolutely no reason for this article to have beecome such an editorial catch-all. I removed some of the worst bits, but this article has essentially no references. No logic. It is sort of US-centric and then veers wildly away. Collect (talk) 03:13, 24 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I changed "he" back to "Master Plumber" as it was stated to be a gender bias word. The rest of the article still has way too much useless wordage regarding categories of pipefitter, gasfitter, toiletfitter, faucetfitter etc. Most people reading this article want internationally valid information, which this article fails to do. Collect (talk) 14:04, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One editor is upset that UK centric material was editted. Best solution, I trust, is to put history of "plumber" as the lede, and separate UK and US sections, and allowing other countries to be represented. Thanks!Collect (talk) 12:12, 7 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the UK to be a certified plumber you require a city and guilds. Gas fitters are separate to plumbers and require corgi or gas safe registration. If you have any questions about the trade feel free to ping my talk page mark nutley (talk) 22:01, 26 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The illustration seems to be of a person clearing a drain. Though this is one of the things plumbers do, it is also characteristically part of the work of much less skilled people. The usual work of plumbers is considerable more intricate than this, and it should be possible to find a more relevant PD illustration..09:15, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality Dispute[edit]

Revision in which the NPOV box was added. The box must have been added because of questionable references, but these are gone now as far as I can tell. Can the box be removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:32, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plumber ref[edit]

(transcluded from userpage as conversation is ongoing)


I noticed you added a ref for the text claiming that plumber comes from Roman roofers rather than people that merely worked with lead - although the book is obviously a good one from 1897 I think that the ref does not really back up the claim. All the ref does is link to the book and without quoting page number it is not really a valid ref is it ?

If you have a copy can you paste the quote into the Quote box for the ref so it will be displayed for all to see?

At present I cannot find a single sentence in that book which ties roof with lead or plumbum

thanks Chaosdruid (talk) 20:12, 26 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually I found many refs -- the fact is that Romans had a lot more roofs than indoor toilets <g>. 16th century England had a large number of roofs with lead - and no toilets. See page 321 of this work to see the cite about using lead for drain-pipes from roofs, noting the use of lead in Pompeii as an example. Consider further [1] which makes the specific statement "Lead sheet was used for roofing ..." All of the older English churches (pre-7th century) had lead roofs, as apparently did the Pantheon. Collect (talk) 23:46, 26 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
add also [2] showing clearly an English of "plumber" to refer to working on roofs. Collect (talk) 23:53, 26 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That reference (x2) you are giving for "The remains of Ancient Rome" does not go to a page - it just goes to the cover of the book and a map showing where the cities are mentioned in it - there is no way for me to verify anything it says...
Yup - I have no problem with "Plumber" meaning "someone who works/makes things with lead"
The problem is that the sentence says that the word roofer comes from this, but Romans had tiled roofs (tegula).
The problem is that the Roman word for "man who works making roofs" probably was not Plumber - A Latin dictionary can easily find: Plumbum means lead, "lead pipe" : Plumbeus means "of Lead" and yet roof has many - wooden roof is roughly "trabis" the sloping is "fastigium" and the crown/ridge of the roof is roughly "culminis" and to put on a roof is "protectum" (lol - from cover)
I cannot really see Romans making their roofs out of lead. Maybe the crown/ridge or channels for drainage etc but not a sheet of lead which went across the whole surface. It would be very costly and more important extremely heavy - it may have been used in a very small number of specific cases but not normally or generally.
The references from History of the ancient palace" is quite obviously a palace, and not a normal building. Normal roofs would not be made of lead sheeting - expense etc.
Plombier in French means "man who works with Lead" - not roofer
Plumber means "man who works with lead" - not roofer, a roofer does also work with lead though and in the past it may be that plumber simply meant a man that works making things out of lead. It is fair to say that if you wanted lead on your roof you would call a plumber in the 16th century or earlier
I can seen no evidence yet that the Roman word for roofer was plumber or anything like that
Chaosdruid (talk) 01:00, 27 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(transcluded 01:05, 27 June 2010 (UTC))

OK - I showed that "plumber" was used in English to mean "roofer" per the record of payments to a "plumber." That lead was used on roofs in England, and in Rome. That lead was used in Pompeii. There was no Latin word specific to "roofer" (per Oxford at least). A significant number of excavated sites show evidence of lead used in roofing. And the claim is not made that "plumber" meant "roofer" only that "plumbers" did work on roofs! Even St. Paul's has a lead roof as far as I can tell <g>. What we are left woth is that "plumbers" did roofing, and apparently quite commonly, at a time when places did not have indoor plumbing. Collect (talk) 12:14, 27 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK ? No - you do not quite get your own references and you have used a little OR in the assumption. A plumber was not used to refer to roofer - he was paid as a plumber because he worked with plumbum.
"To Gilbert de Westminster, plumber, working about the roof of the pantry of the little hall, covering it with lead" It is co-incidental that he was making a roof. He is called a plumber because of the lead he was putting there, as the next says
"To Ralph le Dikere, tiler, working about the covering of the roof of the chapel of St. Stephen" according to your statement he too should be called a plumber as he is making a roof also - obviously they are right to call him a tiler.
So I am afraid that you are wrong. A Roman plumber can put lead on a roof and he is still a plumber and a tiler is still a tiler.
As I said before, this was what the article said
the workers on such roofs were what are now called "plumbers" - the key is "are now called"
They were not - it was badly worded and so incorrect. "workers who specialised in working with lead were called plumbers" is correct. Even in Roman times a man working just as a person who made and fixed roofs would have mostly been working with timber and tiles and occasionally lead. A roofer in modern society is not a plumber, but he can still occasionally use lead on roofs. Even a general builder will occasionally repair roof ends with lead. A man who covered a roof with lead in modern society would be called a roofer.
Chaosdruid (talk) 03:57, 28 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[3] demonstrates that lead roofing was even found in ancient Egypt. Seems that it was common and well-known for a long time. And anyone using lead on a roof was a "plumbarius" at a time when indoor plumbing was, indeed, less common than outdoor roofs. And Greek temples needed lead covering due to their low slopes <g>. So I suggest that even "some" can be removed. Collect (talk) 12:16, 29 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[4] which are known also by the name of I Plombi, from their being immediately under the leaden roof of the state prison. um -- seems that by the tme of Casanova, lead roofs were called "plombi" which is yet another nail here. Collect (talk) 12:22, 29 June 2010 (UTC) And also [5] "In Britain, plumber referred to roofers as well --sheet lead has been used in roofing since ancient Egypt and also a roof was called a 'lead' even if made from something else. Collect (talk) 13:28, 29 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To quote from one etymology source:
"c.1100, "a worker in any sort of lead," from O.Fr. plummier (Fr. plombier), from L. plumbarius "worker in lead," properly an adj., "pertaining to lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb). Meaning shifted 19c. to "workman who installs pipes and fittings" - [6] Douglas Harper
You may also notice that the original was changed in the "quote" from your sources - if you follow the trail correctly Nriagu (Lead and lead poisoning in antiquity) uses Harn (Lead, the precious metal) as his source and the Harn quote is actually "curiously enough, a roof is often called a lead".
I am interested in that particular reference, although it clearly shows there may be something to your claim the phrase "often" does not prove the etymology, and certainly more research would need to be done on dates, locations etc to include that quote as the snippet view does not allow enough to be seen—for all we know it might be referring to Greenland in the 3rd century AD.
I will agree that we should include the Harn quote if someone can provide context. As it is now I cannot trust Nriagu as it has been shown that he/she misquotes the original Harn text. Chaosdruid (talk) 15:29, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "a roof was often called a lead" seems quite sufficient to make the point that "plumbers" were not specific to pipe-work at all. I also find the assertion that Harn was misused to be a problem - I can clearly see the Nriagu wording being not contradictory in any real sense to the Harn wording. Collect (talk) 16:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Harn says often, Nriagu says all
No-one has said they were specific to pipework, just that they were not just roofers and that the name comes from working with lead of any description. They could have made lead hats, or swimming pools, and still have been called plumbers because they worked with lead. Chaosdruid (talk) 23:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And "a roof" does not mean "every roof." As Nriagu did not say "all", I would think he used "a" as it is commonly used. "A wide mouthed jar is called a ewer" does not mean that "all wide mouthed jars are called ewers." Really. There is no actual conflict. Collect (talk) 01:32, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes it does lol - Elephants are pink ... how does that not imply that all elephants are pink ? Chaosdruid (talk) 01:59, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nope. Common sense is involved when a person says "a roof is waterproof" one clearly can not be assumed to assert "all roofs are waterproof." The correct analogy would be a sentence "Elephants are gray" which no one would doubt, although some elephants are not gray. Collect (talk) 11:39, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually they are all pink, but on the inside :¬) Chaosdruid (talk) 12:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Medium rare? Collect (talk) 13:07, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]