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News Flash

S Ebels
S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
Plumbing is the topic on Modern Marvels History Channel. They are talking about ancient Rome right now. Radiant heating and public latrines and aquaducts. Did you know that the word plumber come from the Greek word for lead?


  • zeb_3
    zeb_3 Member Posts: 104
    just saw it

    pretty cool to see some of that history on tv
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117

    .....would have love it see it....sigh!
  • todd s
    todd s Member Posts: 212
    on the tube

    Just watched a program on PBS channel 13, called "Secrets of the Dead" about the Spanish Influenza of 1918.(This was on opposite the history of plumbing) I've been intrigued by this since Dan mentioned it in his article about indirect heating. We converted one of these to a closed hydroair system years ago and after the fact found out why it was originally installed this way. The homeowner is a pathologist and was very impressed by the thinking behind his original but costly system. Guess I'll be up past midnight watching the rerun on the History Channel.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    I believe

    that it is "Plum" for lead and "Bum" for worker. The original was Plumbum, a worker of lead as plumbers were the ones who used sheet lead to from vessels and piping. I guess the tag "protecting the health of the nation" had'nt happened yet since death from lead poisoning had'nt been pinpointed yet.

    There is rumour that the lead problem was solved by a "Yatesy the Elder". A discusion of this problem was found carved into a tablet, dicovered in a Roman Wall.


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  • Jeff W
    Jeff W Member Posts: 12
    Buy the video

    This is a great video to own---click here to buy it!
  • Aidan (UK)
    Aidan (UK) Member Posts: 290
    Converted what?

    "We converted one of these to a closed hydroair..."
    One of what, Todd? Have I missed something?
  • leo g_86
    leo g_86 Member Posts: 1
    hey scott

    i don't know if it was mentioned in this show, but i was reading in a mag a couple of months ago, that now, "they" feel, that lead poisining was not happening in ancient rome. something to do with the algae growth and oxigination of the lead surfaces.

    leo g
  • todd s
    todd s Member Posts: 212

    An "indirect" heating system. Dan has a great description of this under heating Q&A up on the left of this page. This was a real interesting system. Its the only house I've ever seen with a hot water boiler right next to a steam boiler (both are Burnham). The original oversized steamer was removed, new one sized for the remaining radiators(2nd&3rd floors). The hot water boiler feeds the airhandler(first co.),Superstor ss60, and 3zones of baseboard. This house also has a 2-story wraparound porch with removable screens so in the summer the french doors can be left wide open.
  • Aidan (UK)
    Aidan (UK) Member Posts: 290

    I had missed that. Having just read the article; it ties in with a few other things I’ve heard of.

    I think it was generally believed that disease was transmitted by ‘foul odours’. I’ve been told that the Houses of Parliament have ventilation ducts, square brick flues, which were supposed to have a candle or a lamp placed at the bottom. The chimney convection effect was supposed to draw fresh air through building. The Houses of Parliament (curiously, an anagram of ‘Loonies far up the Thames’) were built beside the Thames, which at that time was an open sewer. ‘The Great Stink’ caused the MPs to get the London sewerage system built by Joseph Bazalgette from 1858, involving about 90 miles of main sewers and 1100 miles of street sewers, all built in vaulted brickwork. It all still forms the backbone of the sewerage system today.

    I also once worked on a 1960’s system-built school, which had a heating system similar to the indirect system. Like the indirect system it used 100% fresh air but used fans, instead of convection, to move the air. The fresh air was heated in a AHU, but there were no return ducts and no cooling. The air was discharged to outside from a ‘letterbox’ flap at low level in each class. It didn’t work. I think it could have been made to work if we could have installed return air ducts, but much of the structure contained asbestos, so it wasn’t practical. It also had a lot of glazing, facing south. The kids froze in winter and cooked in summer.

    I didn’t think there was anything like the indirect heating systems in this country, but just thinking about it now, I can recall having seen pictures of cast-iron radiators installed in ducts, on a forum about old, and mostly big, houses.

    I did the design and specification for the pipework for a lab facility where they worked on the samples recovered from the Norwegian miners who had died in the 1918 epidemic amd had been buried at Spitzbergen.
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