Albert Einstein the Plumber

Albert Einstein wrote a letter to a magazine in 1954 stating that were he a young man again that he wouldn’t become a scientist but “I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances”. The present circumstances at the current time were a hostility towards scientist and educators. Being that the first profession he wrote was a plumber, would lead that he had thought about and had some interest in plumbing. The Chicago Plumbers Union and Stanley Murray, a New York plumber, also must have thought this as well as the Chicago Plumbers Union offered him a membership and Stanley Murray wrote: “Since my ambition has always been to be a scholar and yours seems to be a plumber, I suggest that as a team we would be tremendously successful. We can then be possessed by both knowledge and independence. I am ready to change the name of my firm to Read: Einstein and Stanley Plumbing Co.”.

Origins of the Word Plumbing

Latin is the basis for many languages and a lot of our current words have roots to their original Latin words. The word “Plumbing” comes from the word “plumbum”, which is Latin for lead. At the time all the plumbing or waterworks were made of lead. This is also why on the periodic table the abbreviation for lead is “Pb”.

The John and The Crapper

The John:

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Sir John Harrington is believed to have invented the modern flushing toilet in 1596, however there is evidence that it was invented earlier but there aren’t solid leads as to who invented those. What is known is Sir John Harrington made the flushing toilet popular. Sir John Harrington is one of Queen Elizabeth I’s god children and author. His writings and poetry lost him favor with the Queen and got him banished from the court to Kelston. This is where he is to have created the flushing toilet and installed it in his home. When the Queen visited him and saw his device, she ordered one to be installed for her back home. Despite her enthusiasm though, most still went with their chamberpots.

The Crapper:

During WWI foreign soldiers stationed in England would frequent toilet’s made by Thomas Crapper & Co. Ltd, with their companies branding widely seen on them.  The soldiers started using the slang “going to the crapper” due to the visible branding and took this slang home after the war.

Ancient Plumbing Material – Copper

The Egyptians were advanced in many fields for their time. They had tools made from copper and other advancements including an irrigation system made with copper pipes. In 1994 archaeologists while excavating a 4,500 year old Egyptian funerary pyramid complex unearthed a sophisticated drainage system made from copper.

Famous Plumbers and Assistants

Not every actor, singer, or entertainer started their careers in the entertainment business. A few actors didn’t even set out to be in the industry but were found by agents or producers pulled them into the business such as Johnny Depp who pursued a career in music before being persuaded by a friend – Nicolas Cage. Here are a few that started out as plumbers or an assistant.

Joe Cocker – Singer and musician Joe Cocker grew up in Sheffield, England where he worked as a plumber and an apprentice gasfitter.

Michael Caine – Actor Michael Caine worked as a plumber’s assistant after serving in the Korean War.

Ozzy Osbourne – Singer, songwriter, and reality television star dropped out of school and began to work as a plumber’s assistant.

Bob Hoskins – Actor Bob Hoskins who is famous for many movies including “Who framed Roger Rabbit” and played the main character in the movie “Super Mario Bros”, which is a movie about one of the most famous video game characters – Mario who’s profession is a plumber. Bob Hoskins had trouble finding work in a poor economy in England and found temporary manual labor jobs in the plumbing industry.