Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

What is this?

Metal plate with forged name "B McGovern Plumber, 808 Foureenth Street" (I guess also in Hoboken). The plate resembles an access door for a boiler. The plate was about 1 foot or so in front the street curb. The basement does not extend out to the street (that I could tell). Anyway, any ideas?

<A HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=404&Step=30">To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"</A>


  • It's the FAV

    Fresh Air Vent. We always called them Schuster Vents, which I thought (as an apprentice in '72')was shoester for shoes since you walked on the vent.

    Dang things collected dirt & grew weeds better than they circulated air.

    Inside the building, you should see two closely spaced cleanouts for the house trap and future cleanout. The FAV connects between the trap and the home so that fresh air can be permitted entry into the DWV system to rise up and exit via the roof vent(s).

    Looks like they were private-labeled for promotonal issue. We have two antique curb box covers with our company name on them and I know where there are two more still in sidewalks for access to the the water service curb-stops.
  • Tony Shupenko
    Tony Shupenko Member Posts: 54
    I estimate that the home

    (row house that we no call condos) was from the late 1800's - does this vent date to that time? Just for education, when did this practice stop?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    i think it is a rare coin collection center.

    used to spirit rare and exotic American coins out of peoples pockets storing them safely far beneath the ground:)
  • in my area

    Venting plumbing systems to carry away foul 'odours' was an imprecise practice in the mid-1800's and only began to catch on with gusto in the early 1900's. Modern codes became established around 1933 in order to provide guidelines and establish minimum standards for sanitation and protecting health. NY city and Chicago led the way, out of necessity, as the late 1800's and early 1900's saw large numbers of deaths from cholera, typhoid and other water-bourne diseases.

    Although the Schuster vent is rather uncommon, there are at least a dozen of them in our surrounding neighborhoods (our offices & warehouse are located in York's historic section where homes date back to the late 1800's and early 1900's). Water infiltration was not an issue at that time because the raw sewage was untreated and the drains simply terminated in rivers running through towns. Slaughter houses and other industrial discharges were located river-side to facilitate easy removal of wastes. Folks not knowing any better would use these same rivers for recreation, bathing, laundry and much of the pandemic disease deaths were the result of drinking these same contaminated waters. Chicago was the first to chlorinate their drinking water. The deaths from cholera & typhoid disappeared - virtually overnight - and the rest of the country caught on.

    Venting issues were, as you'll read, solved by a plumber in the 1870's. Many of the homes in our historic district have their storm-water drain (with its own house trap) tied directly into the sanitary sewer system. During heavy rains, it is not uncommon to witness the back-up of sewage and storm water in the basements, which rapidly receeds once the deluge slows.

    We live in an area where house traps (or building traps) are required to be utilized. The FAV permits a bit of air to exhaust if a large volume of water is sent down the interior drains - like flushing a water closet - and natural convection is immediately restored once that body of water passes on into the house trap. I personally favor the use of house traps as they are a very inexpensive insurance for barring municipal sewer gasses from entering the property, which can be explosive. We seldom see house traps being clogged unless the occupants are flushing or discharging things that shouldn't be in the sewer system anyway.

    FAV terminations are typically via a mushroom vent cap atop a stand-pipe or flush with the home's wall with a vent-screen. In urban settings, like the Schuster FAV, we'll typically see the flush-mounted vent-screen (looks like a small 4"-diameter floor-drain-cover) a foot, or more, above grade. Flush-mounted FAV's indicate you'll find the house trap inside in the basement while mushroom vent caps tend to indicate the trap-set will be outside the building.

    Check out http://www.theplumber.com/h_index.html for a number of very well researched & written articles on the history of plumbing.
This discussion has been closed.