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Plumbing archaeology

jesmed1
jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
edited January 29 in Plumbing
Redoing a 100+ yr old church bathroom in the Boston area. Found this under the original fir floorboards. Everything is lead pipe, 1/4" wall thickness. Toilet flange/elbow is also lead, going into cast iron. In the center of the "spider" is a lead cylinder with a threaded top for cleanout. Not sure how old, but I believe the church was built in late 1890's.
Mad Dog_2Alan (California Radiant) ForbesEdTheHeaterMansctronic4JohnpipeIntplm.
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Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,878
    The only trouble with that old lead pipe is... well, there are two. Building inspectors don't like it. But the other is that it sometimes crystallizes and then breaks unpredictably. Ask me how I know...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    jesmed1JustinTheCarpenter
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    The plumber is coming tomorrow. We'll see what he says. I was hoping we could just pour the concrete floor over everything and call it good for another 20 years, because it's all just drain/waste/vent, no pressure, but I'm guessing the inspector will make us cut out everything back to the cast iron.
    mattmia2
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    That's a Drum Trap and wiped "AAA" lead (water service thickness). Beautiful, highly skilled work.  I cut those out in one piece and save them.  Mad Dog 🐕 

    I'll save that one too if the plumber will let me have it!
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    edited January 25
    pecmsg said:

    Your getting a lot of sinkers from that job!

    Exactly! And you never know when a whole section of lead pipe will come in handy. Reminds me of the old murder mystery board game "Clue." Colonel Mustard did it, in the Library, with the Lead Pipe. :)
    pecmsgWMno57Mad Dog_2ToddfromAkron
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,393
    Never seen 2 fixtures share a drum trap. Also kind of fragile if you have to unclog it. Looks like they abandoned the supply a long time ago.
    delcrossv
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Periodic table element "Pb" is the metal lead. "Plumbum" in Latin.
    Romans were using the same stuff they used in Boston.
    It sure has been a long time between Roman plumbing and John Winthrop's "shining city on the hill"--Boston.
    How long have we had copper? Pex?
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    mattmia2 said:

    Never seen 2 fixtures share a drum trap. Also kind of fragile if you have to unclog it. Looks like they abandoned the supply a long time ago.

    Yes, I cut out one of the abandoned supplies. That's the second pic. But the waste and vents were in use right up until we demo'd the floor 2 days ago.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    That's a Drum Trap and wiped "AAA" lead (water service thickness). Beautiful, highly skilled work.  I cut those out in one piece and save them.  Mad Dog 🐕 


    Curious, are drum traps allowed in NYC by current code?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KarlW
    KarlW Member Posts: 99
    ChrisJ said:
    Curious, are drum traps allowed in NYC by current code?
    They aren’t allowed in the New York State building code, so I highly doubt they’re allowed in the New York City code.

    I found this out the hard way when a drum trap in my house broke. Now I have a far less attractive AAV.
    ChrisJ
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    psb75 said:

    Periodic table element "Pb" is the metal lead. "Plumbum" in Latin.
    Romans were using the same stuff they used in Boston.
    It sure has been a long time between Roman plumbing and John Winthrop's "shining city on the hill"--Boston.
    How long have we had copper? Pex?

    The man knows his Latin! Yes, the lead pipes could have been from ancient Rome. The shutoff valves on the supplies are bronze.
    Mad Dog_2
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 907
    Your lucky you ripped the floor up. Now you have an easy time replacing the lead than doing it after everything is done. Take it out and melt the lead into ladle bricks. You never know when you might need it. Can't use lead in caulked closet flanges as the lead is considered a hazard material in mass code. It has been removed from the code as approved joining materials
    Intplm.Charlie from wmass
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    edited January 25
    pedmec said:

    Can't use lead in caulked closet flanges as the lead is considered a hazard material in mass code. It has been removed from the code as approved joining materials

    Thank you, didn't know that.

    The main reason for doing this remodel was that the floor was rotting out. Original fir floorboards covered by a layer of plywood, then vinyl. Nothing supporting the floor except random stacks of bricks laid in the dirt. When we finished pulling the floor up, the exposed old plumbing was as you see it in the photo...didn't need to dig anything up.

    I was hoping we could just tie in and pour concrete over all the old drain/waste pipes and cross our fingers for another 20 years, but I guess not. :'(

  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 907
    Like i said, better you see it now than try and clean that drain when it gets plugged, you'll never get that cleanout off that lead drum trap. that's assuming it would be accessible. there are still a lot of lead drains out there.
  • Marvelous find!  That’s the oldest plumbing I’ve ever seen here in the states. 
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 652
    edited January 25
    pedmec said:
     Can't use lead in caulked closet flanges as the lead is considered a hazard material in mass code. It has been removed from the code as approved joining materials
    Bizarre.  Ĺead and oakum is code for waste joins in Chicago. Still do wiped lead shower pans too.

    Lots of lead supply lines still in service here. Those get replaced with copper. 
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,296
    Installed when men were men. That old lead can fall apart for no reason.

    Lead sinkers not allowed in MA for fishing.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    delcrossv said:
    pedmec said:
     Can't use lead in caulked closet flanges as the lead is considered a hazard material in mass code. It has been removed from the code as approved joining materials
    Bizarre.  Ĺead and oakum is code for waste joins in Chicago. Still do wiped lead shower pans too.

    Lots of lead supply lines still in service here. Those get replaced with copper. 
    They probably don't want heavy metals ending up in ground water any more than necessary.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    edited January 26


    Lead sinkers not allowed in MA for fishing.

    This is true. I used to do some trout fishing at our local stocked pond, so I made some no-lead sinkers with brass wire wrapped around some small pond stones.

    I save the lead for unusual applications in our 100-year-old condo building. When we had our original wood double-hung windows restored, the window guy used scrap pieces of lead sheet to wrap around the cast iron sash weights when he needed a little extra counterweight to balance a sash.

    Now I keep a stash of special metals: lead pipe/sheet, brass sheet, bronze fittings, copper pipe & sheet scraps. All the good stuff that will last 100 years in the weather. :)
    delcrossvreggiMad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,393
    No more lead wheel weights either
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    mattmia2 said:
    No more lead wheel weights either
    What are they now zinc?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 652
    mattmia2 said:
    No more lead wheel weights either
    Man, that's pretty extreme. 
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Lyle {pheloa} Carter
    Lyle {pheloa} Carter Member Posts: 52
    In Worcester mass, we used to see a lot of these. At the time we could melt lead within the house and we would cut the lead drain back to the brass ferral and then melt it off of the brass adapter then attach with a no hub clamp.
    The old timers would pipe the wall hung lav and the Essex tub through the same trap. Fifty Years later, somebody would come along and see the lav draining into the wall or floor with no trap, and then decide to add one . Suddenly the laboratory would stop draining because it was double trapped with the new p trap and the drum trap below the floor.
    The last time I did a remodel on a 4 family that had this arrangement in the Merrimack Valley. The inspector asked for one proper vent per unit.
    For all the other sinks to be piped with 2 inch with a clean out on the top of the sanitary tee and a drum trap for the fixture. Plus a drum trap for the tubs.
  • I used to save the lead capsules on wine bottles. Rolled them up and stuffed them into holes in wood that were drilled or worn too large. The lead would act as a bushing and screws would bite and lock into it and hold whatever you were bracing. No lead no mo.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Alan, wood (matchsticks, larger splinters etc.) works as a good bushing for an oversized screw hole as well as lead (Pb). And its more plentiful, I'd say. Current wine capsules also seem like fairly soft metal and would also work...if you insist.
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    Plumbarius...worker of lead.  No, drum traps are prohibited in New installs.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    ChrisJCLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    Nope....Mad Dog 🐕 
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Lead is not "noble" but it sure lasts a long time.
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 546
    edited January 27
    psb75 said:

    Lead is not "noble" but it sure lasts a long time.

    Until a squirrel chews a hole in it. Lead flashing pic from my chimney about 2 weeks ago. Found 2 holes in the lead sheet chewed (probably) by the nuisance squirrel who got into our attic and had to be trapped and evicted a few years ago. Note the teeth marks all around the perimeter of the holes. Second hole is at upper left.
    Mad Dog_2dennis53
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    Nope....Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    The only reason I still don't do lead shower pans is that Lead from Overseas is horrendous..loaded with bits of iron and steel.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    delcrossv
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,296
    My boss was having some siding replaced on his house. After the siding was put on I went over to do some work and found a dead mouse on the bulkhead stairs and a small hole in the sheetrock wall above him. He must have got trapped in the wall when they took the old siding off and had to eat his way out,

    Death by sheet rock ingestion
    Mad Dog_2
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Most of the famous cathedrals in Europe have lead roofing.
    Mad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,393
    ChrisJ said:


    mattmia2 said:

    No more lead wheel weights either

    What are they now zinc?

    yes. they would fall off and get pulverized. it is one of the uses of lead where it really gets spread around, almost as bad as burning it.
    ethicalpaul
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    St Patrick's Cathedral in NYC had all copper roofs with lead seams...the gutters too. In the Mid 1980s, we extended the Steam Risers and piped out in to the gutters for Icemelting..Very steep roofs, narrow gutters, no harnesses. They tied a rope around my waist and tied other end to the huge wooden beams.inside.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    CLambbburd
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Mad Dog_2 they could have tied the other end to a parked vehicle. Someone has done that before.
    Mad Dog_2
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 347
    Scary when you think back about what you got away with .
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,692
    Thats alot of rope 5 stories down to the street. I was always as safety concerned as I could be and other plumbers called me OSHA man. In 1986, we had no man lifts, harnesses, and nobody wore a hard hat.  I've done crazy, risky things but its always well calculated. I say, "I'm crazy but not stupid."  Mad Dog 🐕 
    Intplm.reggi