late 14c. (from c.1100 as a surname), "a worker in any sort of lead" (roofs, gutters, pipes), from Old French plomier "lead-smelter" (Modern French plombier) and directly from Latin plumbarius "worker in lead," noun use of adjective meaning "pertaining to lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)). Meaning focused 19c. on "workman who installs pipes and fittings" as lead water pipes became the principal concern of the trade. In U.S. Nixon administration (1969-74), the name of a special unit for investigation of "leaks" of government secrets.
Wooden pipes were used in London and elsewhere during the 16th and 17th centuries. The pipes were hollowed-out logs, which were tapered at the end with a small hole in which the water would pass through. The multiple pipes were then sealed together with hot animal fat. They were often used in Montreal and Boston in the 1800s, and built-up wooden tubes were widely used in the USA during the 20th century. These pipes, used in place of corrugated iron or reinforced concrete pipes, were made of sections cut from short lengths of wood. Locking of adjacent rings with hardwood dowel pins produced a flexible structure. About 100,000 feet of these wooden pipes were installed during WW2 in drainage culverts, storm sewers and conduits, under highways and at army camps, naval stations, airfields and ordnance plants.
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Robots won’t eat all the jobs, says Marco Zappacosta, the CEO and co-founder of Thumbtack, a marketplace for service professionals from plumbers to yoga teachers to personal trainers. — Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Why the robot apocalypse won’t kill all gig economy jobs," 16 June 2018 Most people will accept spending $80/hour on a plumber, but balk at putting a similar price tag on the value of their company’s website. — Jenny Knizner, USA TODAY, "Fundamentals of hiring a freelance designer for your business," 19 Mar. 2018 Then a team of plumbers begins restarting the system around St. Patrick’s Day, with the aim of having all outdoor water features back up and running by Memorial Day weekend. — Keith Williams, New York Times, "It’s Hot. How Do I Get the Spray Shower at the Park to Work?," 19 June 2018 The full-time employees losing their jobs include electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other skilled tradespeople needed to operate and maintain a large events venue. — James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Many long-time Bradley Center workers will not have jobs at the new Bucks arena," 11 May 2018 There are female plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders. — The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 That is a huge departure from construction sites, where unions representing plumbers, electricians, carpenters and various other trades each control their piece of the building process. — Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze," 7 June 2018 Ask any principal of a vocational school who is recruiting teachers who can prepare students for traditional jobs like auto mechanic, plumber, aviation mechanic and those needed for advanced manufacturing. — WSJ, "Time for Vocational Education Renaissance," 23 May 2018 The biggest violators, in Pakenham’s experience, are plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. — Elizabeth Royte, Daily Intelligencer, "George Pakenham is waging a one-man war on air pollution on the Upper West Side.," 10 July 2018
Jump up ^ "II. The Plumbers". The Atlantic. Retrieved 17 September 2013. In the early evening of June 17, 1971, Henry Kissinger held forth in the Oval Office, telling his President, and John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, all about Daniel Ellsberg. Kissinger's comments were recorded, of course, on the hidden White House taping system, and four years later, a portion of that tape was listened to by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, which was then investigating the internal White House police unit known as the Plumbers.