Plumbing Trivia - 7 Fun Facts

1. Why are manhole covers in the U.S. manhole coverround instead of square?
A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover could be turned diagonally and fall through. Circular manhole covers are also easier to place back into original position, and do not need to be rotated for alignment.

2. The word “plumber” is derived from the Latin word for lead – Plumbum. Lead use to be the primary material used in the creation of pipeworks used to carry water into cities and towns, before it was found to be a cumulative poison.

3. Who invented the modern toilet?
The flush toilet we use today came from a variety of inventions throughout history. In 1596, Sir John Harington invented a design that had a flush valve to let water out of the tank and wash-down design to empty out the bowl. In the 1880s, Thomas Crapper’s plumbing company built flush toilets and received a royal warrant. He popularized the siphon system for emptying the tank, and replaced the earlier floating valve system, which was prone to leaks.

4. Who invented the shower?
While rudimentary showers can be found throughout India, Egypt and Mesopotamia, the first real shower was invented by the Greeks around 300 B.C. Ancient Greek athletes would freshen up within the Stadiums using a piped in water supply that would spray down through showerheads shaped like the faces of boars and lions.

5.Hot water can be one of the most dangerous things in your home. At 120°F, 49°C, it would take 10 minutes to burn skin. At 125°F, 52°C, it would take 2 minutes to burn skin. At 140°F, 60°C, it would take 6 seconds to burn skin. At 150°F, 66°C, it would take 2 seconds to burn skin.

6. One of the biggest myths is on the direction the water in the toilet bowl swirls. Contrary to popular belief, the direction of the swirling water doesn’t depend on whether the toilet lies in the northern or southern hemisphere. Instead, the direction the water takes depends on the direction that the bowl’s rim jets are pointed. The water can be made to flush in either direction in either hemisphere.

7. Who’s the most recognizable plumber in the world?
Mario, the Italian-American plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. He is one of the most famous characters in video game history.