Fun Plumbing Facts

Plumbing isn’t always serious – in fact, there’s a whole bunch of fun things to learn about plumbing if you do a little digging. It is, after all, the occupation of Mario and Luigi (Nintendo’s Mario Brothers). Here are some plumbing facts we found interesting:

  • Famous and often controversial rockstar Ozzy Osbourne was a plumber’s apprentice before getting into the music industry.
  • The word “plumber” dates all the way back to the Roman Empire. In Rome, pipes were originally made from lead, which is “plumbum” in Latin. People who worked with lead were called Plumbarius, which was eventually shortened to the word we use today.
  • At 140 degrees, it takes five seconds for water to burn skin. At 160 degrees, it takes only half of a second. Home hot water systems should be set to no hotter than 125 degrees.
  • In Japan, some urinals have voice-activated flushing mechanisms. The urinals respond to several commands, including “fire.”
  • The term “plumbers” was a popular name given to the covert White House Special Investigations Unit established during the presidency of Richard Nixon in response to the leaked “Pentagon Papers” documents. Their job was to plug intelligence leaks in the U.S. Government relating to the Vietnam War; hence the term “plumbers”.
  • Sir John Harington is credited with inventing the flushable toilet in 1596, hence the American nickname for it, “the john.”