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Plumbing - history
Plumbing originated during ancient civilizations such as the Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese cities as they developed public baths and needed to provide potable water and wastewater removal, for larger numbers of people.6 Standardized earthen plumbing pipes with broad flanges making use of asphalt for preventing leakages appeared in the urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization by 2700 B.C.7 The Romans used lead pipe inscriptions to prevent water theft.
Plumbing reached its early apex in ancient Rome, which saw the introduction of expansive systems of aqueducts, tile wastewater removal, and widespread use of lead pipes. With the Fall of Rome both water supply and sanitation stagnated?or regressed?for well over 1,000 years. Improvement was very slow, with little effective progress made until the growth of modern densely populated cities in the 1800s. During this period, public health authorities began pressing for better waste disposal systems to be installed, to prevent or control epidemics of disease. Earlier, the waste disposal system had merely consisted of collecting waste and dumping it on the ground or into a river. Eventually the development of separate, underground water and sewage systems eliminated open sewage ditches and cesspools.
Worth to know
A plumber's snake is a slender, flexible auger used to dislodge clogs in plumbing. The plumber's snake is often reserved for difficult clogs that cannot be loosened with a plunger. It is also sometimes called a toilet jack or electric eel.
Plumber's snakes have a coiled (helix-shaped) metal wire with a broader gap between the coils at the terminal end. The operator turns a crank to rotate the helix as it moves through the pipe.
If the clog is caused by a dense, but shreddable obstacle, such as tree roots or glass wool, the auger might break it up enough to enable flow. A small, lightweight obstruction might be snagged or corkscrewed by the auger, enabling the operator to pull it away. As the auger rotates, it also flails against the interior walls of the pipe, scraping off minerals and oil.
What do we use for plumbing?
Water systems in ancient times used gravity to move water. They used pipes or channels usually made of clay, lead, bamboo or stone. Today, water-supply systems use a network of high-pressure pumps, and pipes are now made of copper, brass, plastic, or other nontoxic material. Drain and vent lines are made of plastic, steel, cast-iron, and lead. Lead is not used in pipes today because it can be poisonous.
The 'straight' sections of plumbing systems are of pipe or tube. A pipe is usually made by casting or welding, where a tube is made through extrusion. Pipe usually has thicker walls and may be threaded or welded, where tubes have thinner walls, and needs special joining techniques such as 'brazing', 'compression fitting', 'crimping', or for plastics, 'solvent welding'.
As well as the straight pipe or tubing, many fittings are required in plumbing systems, such as valves, elbows, tees, and unions.
Plumbing fixtures are designed for the people who use the water. Some examples of fixtures include water closets (also known as toilets), urinals, bidets, showers, bathtubs, utility and kitchen sinks, drinking fountains, ice makers, humidifiers, air washers, fountains, and eye wash stations.