Plumbing & Piping

Plumbing systems have thousands of years of continuous development by smart engineers all over the world. Some smart person first figured out the possibility of building modular systems by having tubes in several dimensions and plumbing fittings such as a slip on flange in complimentary dimension. Then, all that was needed was to mix and match the parts accordingly.

Read more about slip on flange applications and specifications.

What are the many applications of pipes?

Plumbing and piping has always had the goal of helping city dwellers to have convenient access to clean water for drinking and bathing, removing waste water away from the cities, and increasing the arable surface of their lands to increase food production and the population.

This goal remains mostly unchanged even in today's world.

The main difference is that today plumbing and piping is also used to distribute hot and cold water for showers and sinks. Piping systems have also been developed to distribute heat through radiant floor systems during the winter and cool off rooms during the summer. Rainwater drainage and storing has also been developed. Some cities also use fuel gas piping and thermal energy transportation through a steam system during the winter.

What would life look like without indoor plumbing?

If you were poor, you would have to haul water by hand. If you lived in a city such as Paris, perhaps you could pay a water carrier for you.

Apartment buildings had communal toilets, which were emptied into a waste pit and also received kitchen refuse and the water from dirty dishes. In urban England, some workers would empty this pit at night and use it as fertilizer.

Full immersion bathing was extremely expensive due to the amount of work needed, so this was mostly only an aristocratic habit. Normal people would use a washcloth, a pitcher, and a washbasin.

What is the history behind pipes?

Pipes are used to transport fluids for thousands of years. At first, piping was used to transport the growing cities water supply and irrigating the cultivation that fed its populations. The first systems used materials such as bored stone, wood, clay, and even lead. The Egyptians used copper pipes around 3000 BC, and the Chinese used bamboo piping systems around 2500 BC to transport natural gas from shallow wells and light their capital, Beijing.

In Europe, pipes began to be used by the Greeks around 2000 BC. They used mostly clay and hollowed stone, but sometimes they also used bronze.

The Romans and the Persians used aqueducts, which were not actual pipes but conducted fluids nonetheless. Their systems used gravity to transport water from thousands of miles away into their cities to supply public fountains and baths as well as private residences, where they would become the basis for the plumbing systems as we know it today, back in the first century.

The word plumbing, in fact, comes from the Latin word for "lead" ("plumbum") because the most effective pipes used during the Roman era were lead pipes.

Galvanized pipe as we know today would first be used in the XIX century. Already in 1815, William Murdock created a coal burning lamp system in London using discarded muskets. As he needed more metal tubes, entrepreneurs came up with new ways to make pipe and improve the production efficiency, which brought steel pipe prices down.