They smell bad, flood our houses and destroy a lot of stuff. So when the worst happens, who do we call to fix it? The heroic plumber! However, the average person does not know much about the noble profession, so we assembled some facts to enlighten us all about where our modern plumber comes from.

First, a brief history of plumbing: “Plumbing” comes from the word for lead, which is plumbum. People who worked with lead were called Plumbarius, which was eventually shortened to the word we use today. Plumbing dates back to roman times when the Romans used lead pipe inscriptions to prevent water theft. After that virtually no advance in the profession was made until the 19th century when actual sewage systems were created to eliminate cesspools. More recently, technology has taken off and resulted in the modern piping and water treatment that we enjoy everyday.

Here are some crazy facts about plumbing and its rich history:

  1. Albert Einstein was made an honorary member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union after he had announced that he would be a plumber if he had to live his life all over again.

  2. In the technology capitol of the world, Japan, some urinals have voice activated flushing mechanisms. The urinals respond to several commands, including “fire”.

  3. Over 100,000 US dollars were spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind. The answer: three out of four people have the flap in the front.

  4. 90% of pharmaceuticals taken by people are excreted through urination. Therefore our sewer systems contain heavy dose of drugs. A recent study by the EPA has found fish containing trace amounts of estrogen, cholesterol-lowering drugs, pain relievers, antibiotics, caffeine and even anti-depressants.

  5. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet. We hope you brought a good book.