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The history of plumbing has special significance to all who arc involved
in the design and installation of plumbing systems. It provides depth
of knowledge, broad objectivity, helpful guidance, needed cautions, and
informative records of plumbing performance and adverse experiences.
Recognition of past mistakes and learning from them provides an elevated basis for plumbing system design and installation.
The progressive development of sanitary standards in America
evolved from very primitive and rude beginnings. Intolerable health
conditions and epidemics of waterborne diseases caused strong health
protection measures to be adopted in highly populated metropolitan
areas. Extcnsive disastrous tires in congested city rcgions led to construction of large public waterworks sy~lems used for both fire-fighting purposes and for potable water supply to buildings.
Introduction of plumbing systems in buildings brought with it unique
problems related to public health, personal hygiene, building design,
plumbing- materials, advanced techniques, and governmental regulations. As these problems evolved during a revolutionary period of industry, the solutions den'loped were intimately related to new materials,
methods, standards, and standardization.
HislOry provides a clear record of many mi~lakes, bad practices,
shoddy materials, and insanitary installations which were made in the
introduction of plumbing systems into buildings. In each case, appropriale corrections had to be made and precautions prescribed for the future.
Performance required of building plumbing systems gradually became
a recognized subject, and a long list of plumbing principle~ was developed and published. The broad performance objective is to provide


reasonable safeguards for sanitation in and adjacent to buildings to protect the public heahh, safety, and welfare against the hazards of inadequate or insanitary plumbing installations.

In ancient tImes, plumbing and sanitation wen: not alwavs pnmltive.
Human beings elevated them to significant levels in past ages. HislOry
reveals that one of lhe hmdamental diHerences between civilization and
barbarism is related tu the imtallation of piping systems for providing
an adequate, pressurized supply of safe drinking water, sanitary disposal
of sewag-e, and efficient, unobjectionahle disposal of storm water. This
is evidenced by the fad that those peoples who enjoyed high ('ivili/.ations
in the past had developed plumbing- systems for protening healrh.
Confirmation un this matter is provided in the reports of discoveries
by archeologists while dig-g-ing in various parts of the world where ancient
civilizations were known to have Hourished. For example, the ruim of
a plumhing svstem estimated to be from 3000 to {iOOO years old were
{(lUnd in excavations in the Indus River valley in India. In Egypt, sections
of copper waler pipe estimated to he about .1500 years old were unearthed along with palace apartments in which each bedroom apparently
bad btTH provided with a !>;lthroom.
In the ancient empire of Balwlonia, a nation centered in lhe general
area between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers, the science ofhydraulie engineering- seems to have had its beginning. A nctwork of canals,
all skillfully planncd <llld regulated, covered the area. Large brick draillag-e sewers with access holes were imtalled in Babylon. Greek writers
told of the I Ianging- Gardens of B;lhylon; from this, il fIlay be inferred
that some means for pumping water to considerahle heights had been
developed at thaI time.
From Babylonia came [he Hammurabi Code, a code onaws regulating
business <lTl{l cmlOffi. Il is reported to have been drawn up prob;lbly
by Shulgi, second king- o!" the third tTr dynasty, in the period between
2400 and 21~0 II.C. Included in this code were regulations governing
the construction ofbuTidillgs. This period evidently was a vcry !()fmative
one In the organization o!" society and the progress of civilizalion in

On the island of Crete, the remains of a plumbing system at least

3000 years old were unearthed ill excavations on the site of an ancieTlt
palace at hlll)SSOS. Evidence was found of plumbing fixtures, a water
supply system, a sanitary drainage s\'stenl, and a heating system. One
of Ihe fixtures was a bathtub made of hard pottery and 5 ft (J.5 Ill) in
length. It wa~ a Aoor-standing model wilh an integral base, resembling-


in shape the ust-iron bathtub-on-base widelv installed ill America in

the latter part of the nineteenth century. Another fixture was a waler
closet, abo ofh<lrrl pottery. It showed evidence of having been equipped
with a W<lter closer seat and a Hushing device. Found intact were long
.\cTtions of clay drain pipe of the bell-<lnd-spigOI Iype. Pipe lengths "ere
shon, and branch fittings wcre providt'Cl with T and Y ronnenions adjarent 10 the bells or hubs.
OJ";lll the am'ient peoples, the Romans carried sanitalion to the highest
and broadest degree of development. From their language, Latin, have
rome such words <lslomlallOn and plumbrr, the latter being derived from
arliji:\" pl,UIlIJOJlw, meaning a worker in lead. Roman aqueduds still grare
the Italian countryside and tank among the world's engineering triumphs. Extensive large undcrg:round sewer systems, public and privare
baths, lead and bronze water piping:- systems, and marble fixtures with
gold and silvcr Iittings have come to be symbolic of the civilization of
Ancient Rome. An especially signifIcant feature of progress Illay be cited
;lS being the fact that much o!" the underground public water supply
svstem was constl"lKtecl of standardized caSI lead sections.
Public bathing colonies dolled the Romall Empire. Some rovercd
as milch as a square mile. One of them, the bat hs of Diodetiall, an:omHlOdated 3200 uathers. Balhs and batbing pools were lined wilh ceramic
glazed tile. In re~idenccs, bathtubs often un:upied an entire room and
were supplied with unth hot and rold water. Hot water was provided
by means of lead or uronze piping:- which conveyed water anoss open
fires. Bathtubs often were clrvcd from solid marble or lined with ceramic
glMed tile <lnd equipped with gold or silver Iittings.
Aher almosr a thousand H'<lrS of world rule, the empire of Ancient
Rome crumbled. III tbe fifth century,
to successive inva. it was subjected
siolls bv Goths and Vandals. barbaric tribes from the nonh of Europe_
In 4:18, Vandals swept south through Rome. sacked it of all things of
value including any metals that rould be removed, and destroyed its
public \\orks. With the destruction of Rome, its civilizalion rapidly decaved, and sanitary standards regressed almost to the vanishing point.
The following 10 centuries have been historically termed the nark
:lgP5. For many centuries, people in general paid liule al1el11ion TO personal cleanlilles.~ alld other domestic sanitarv needs involvmg the usc
of watet. Bathing:- was frowned upon by persons of influence and nol
tdken seriously even by members of the ruling dass, mallV of whom
preferred to use perfume. Plumbing fixtures fell into disuse. including
watet closets which had been developed and widely used during the
founh and hlih centuries in Rome. They were not used again until
about the twelfth century, and even then their usc was extremely limited.
During tile !I.)llrteenth cenlUry, Europe was ravaged by disease. Hu-


bonic plague swept the continent and England reponedly killed 25 million people. To improve sanitary conditions in Paris in 1395, the
authorities ordered a stop to the practice of throwing sewage out of
building windows onto the streets below. But this was a common practice
that continued unabated in other cities.
As late as the <-'ady part of the eighteenth century, European cities
had not been equipped with sanitary sewage disposal hl.Cilities. The mortality rate in many (:lties eXC('eded the birth rate. When building owners
were ordered to install domestic sewage vaults, considerable opposition
was raised. It was not until the latter part of the eighteenth and early
part of the nineteenth centuries that European cities started to provide
public sewer systems beneath city streets. Slowly people began to use
the convenient public sewer facilities for the disposal of sewage from
buildings and to develop progressively higher sanitary standards.


Although America has become a symbol of high standards in plumbing
and sanitation, these evolved from very primitive and rude beginnings.
Along the Atlantic Coast, firmly established settlements developed local
industries and conducted trade with Europe. Among the numerous early
settlements were several whkh later became major pon cities, such as
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Each faced the same
general sanitation problems and progressed in developing sanitary standards almost simuhaneously.
Available reports of the progressive development of sanitary standards
in New York may be cited as typical. Following settlement of the porl
area in 1626, houses were built. None had within them any water supply
or sewage disposal facilities. Drinking water was used sparingly as it
had to be carried from springs or wells, or purchased by the bucket
from water peddlers who traveled through the streets selling water from
wooden barrels on horse-drawn trucks. Outdoor earth-pit privies were
used as toilet facilities. Wastes from dishwashing, clothes washing, and
bathing were disposed of outdoors by dumping them onto the ground
adjacent to buildings. Rainwater from roofs also was disposed of onto
the ground. As the population of the settlement increased with the arrival
of new immigrants, conditions deteriorated. Shallow wells became polluted by seepage from earth-pit privi<-'s, areas around homes became
excessively fouled from sewage and refuse dumped onto the ground,
and streets were quagmires of mud long after rainstorms ended.
Heahh conditions became intolerable in time and forced organization
of a Common Council in 1675. The council appointed a health officer
in charge of sewage and refuse disposal and other health matters. Water-


tight privy vaults began to be installed instead of earth-pit privies as

toilet facilities. S~avenging regulations governing tht-, disposal of privyvault w<lstes were put into effect in 1676. Publil.: wells were pn~ie~ted
in 1677 and completed in 1686. Street gutters were installed in builtup areas in 1687, and homeowners were ordered to pave sidewalks.
In 1700, a sanitary ordinanl.:e was adopted prohibiting the dumping of
scavengers' barrels of vault wastes into the street gutters. In 1703, an
open-ditl.:h public sewer or sewage canal was constru~ted, and city surveyors were appointed to establish street and sewer g-rades. Complaints
arose about the uns<lnitary conditions created by the open-ditch publil.:
sewer, and in 1717 the sewer was extended to empty into New York
Bay. In 1728, the first underground sewer was laid under the streets
of New York. The first water supply reservoir was constructed in 1776.
II I.:ollected water from wells and ponds and distributed water through
a supply system consisting of hollow wooden logs laid under principal
Epidemics of waterborne diseases occurred in New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, and other population centers along the Atlantic Coast. Public
pressure developed as complaints to authorities mounted regarding the
unsanitary disposal of sewage and the lack of an adequate, available
supply of safe drinking water. To improve conditions, boards of health
were established, Phlladelphia organizing a board in 1794, and Boston
in 1797.
As a health protection measure, communities began to install all public
sewcn undergl UUlld aud to extend them to buildings, although many
people considered the sewers merely as a means of eliminating unsighdy
conditions. These early underground sewers wt-'re constnlCted with flat
stone tops and bottoms and brick masonry sidewalls. They were intended
to serve just for stonn water drainage from streets and buildings. But
they soon became loul and odorous from sewage and garbage dumped
into street gutters. [n 1831, catl.:h-basin traps were installed in street
gutters to interet-'pt solids conveyed by storm water draining into the
public sewer.
In 1830, after numerous serious fires had demonstrated the need
for an adequate, available supply of water for fire fighting, New York
City installed its first public waterworks. This consisted of a large aboveground water supply tank into which water was pumped from shallow
wells, and from which water was supplied through two 12-in cast-iron
underground water mains to fire hydrants installed along several of the
main streets where business buildings were located. But this system
proved to be totally inadequate when a severe fin' hroke nnt nn Decem_
ber 16, 1835. A total of 530 buildings were destroyed overnight.
The disastrous fire of 1835 in New York City awoke the people to


action and led to developments of great significance and benefit. Peopkbecame aware of the ne(:essity for having an adequate pre,surized water
supply system readily and constantly available for fire lighting in builtup areas. They also realized that there was great need, both as a sanitary
measure and as a laborsaving convenieIKe. fur having an adequate pressurized water supply system from which sale drinking water could be
piped directly to buildings. Soon after the fire, plans were proje(:ted
for providing a large public water supply system which would satisfy
both of these Il('eds.
This p[(~ject was completed seven years later, in 1842, at whidl time
the original Croton Aqueduct System was placed in operation. In this
system, water from th(' Croton River was collected in Croton Reservoir,
40 mi north urthe city, and supplied tlu:,refrulll through ,m und(,rground
piping system to two distribution resel"\'oiL~ in the city, one at42d Street
and another in Central Park. From these reservoirs, water was di~tributed
through a system of cast-iron water mains installed underground in city
streels, and fire hydrants were installed on ~idewalks at appropriate locations along the curb. Building owners were permitted to have water
service connections made to the public main, and water service piping
extended therefrom to supply laucets or hydrants in building cellars
or yards. At that time, the population of the city of ;'\Jew York was about


The installation 01" pressurized water services into building cellars and
yards in New York City in 1842, upon u)mpletion of the (:rotoll Aqueduct
System, marked the start of a radical change in building comtrunionthe imtallation of plumbing systems in bui ldings. Pres;;urized water supply piping systems made it possible to satisfy, at the turn of a faucet,
the need of building ol:(:upants for a safe and abundant supply of watet
for all domestic purposes and to eliminate the drudgery, lahor, and
inconvenience of having to carry water Irom the source. No plumbing
fixtures had been installed within buildings prior to this time, except
for a few nude sink installations reportedly made in kitchens and provided with water supply by meam of adjau:,nt hand pumps that drew
water from shallow wells.
As late as HH5, records indicate that buildings were not provided
with interior drainagt-" piping systems. Most buildings were equipped
with exterior leaders which conveyed storm water from roofs to pavements and sidewalks from which the water ran into street gutters. In
some cases where branches had been installed !i'om the public sewer
to buildings, the exterior leaders discharged directly into slH:h branches


or building sewers. Before fixtures could be installed with water supply

and drainage piping systems, building sewers had to be installed first
so as to ~onvey sewage away from the buildings lo a suitable disposal
terminal, such as a publi(: sewer system. To satisfy this need in New
York City in 1845, sanitary building sewers were permined to be connected to the existing public sewer system which originally had been
provided just for storm water disposal. These building sewers, and the
main drains installed underground in buildings at the time, were constructed with Hat stone tops and bo{{oms and brick masonry sidewalls.
By 1850, plumbing fixtures had been installed in a number of New
York City homes. These were principally private residences owned by
wealthy people who could afford to alter their buildings to accommodale
such bH:ilities. Provision had to be made to protect the fixtures and
piping against frost damage by means of healing equipment, or insulation, or both. Earliest installations consisted of woodell and sheet-metal
sinks in kitdlells, wooden washtubs in kitchens or in cellar or basement
laundry rooms, and sheet-metal bathtubs in special bathrooms or closets.
For Ihese early installations, waler supply and drainage piping were
attached to building walb and either left expo.~ed in rooms or concealed
in boxwork. A bandmade trap was installed in the drain of each individual
fixture to prevent escape of obnoxious odors and sewer gases from
fixUlre wasle outlets. However, these traps often losl their water seals
owing to siphonag-e <llld b<lck-pressure conditions in the drainage system,
and this caused fouling of the atmosphere 01 rooms in which fixtures
were placed. Check valves and Illanv specially designed traps wen~ installed in efforts to prevent loss of trap seal, but such devices were
found to be lotally ineffective. At that time, the principle of venting
fixture drains to protect lrap seals was unknown.
Neverlheless, progress was made in the installation of plumbinR" systems in building~. Fixtures were pla(:ed in locations where they would
not be too objectionahle. Sinks and washtubs were put in kitchens and
basements. Lavatories and bathtubs were lucated on various Hoors and
connecled to separate sta(:ks. Long hopper water dosets, so named because of their funnel or 10nR hopper shape, were installed in toilet rooms
or compartments <IlTcssible only (i'om oUldoors, becausc it was nmsidered hazardous (0 health for rooms which hOllsed such odorous fixtures
to be directly ac(:essible limn the interior of huildings. This type of
water closet was installed so as lO be relatively frost-proof by placing
the trap and water supply valve below the Hoar level.
In the late 1850s, people bccame more and more aware of lhc' need
for improving sanitary standards in and adjacent to buildings. Wideningreulgnition was given to the fact that plumbing systems in buildings
could provide adequate safe water for- drinking, rooking, hathing, and


for Hushing fixtures and also could safely and efliciendy dispose of sewage and other wastes from buildings. Extensions were built on many
homes specifically to provide bathrooms at the upper stories of existing
buildings. Lavatories, bathtubs, and water closets were installed in these
extension bathrooms, many of which were also provided with heating
equipment. Double doors were placed in passageways between extension
bathrooms and the main building in order to prevent bathroom odors
and sewer gases from entering the living quarters.
Dire(:tly f()llowing the Civil War, immigration swelled the populations
of industrial cities in the eastern part of the country. In many cities,
rows of attached three- and lour-story tenement houses were built to
take care of the additional population. These buildings were provided
just with yard hydrants for drinking water supply, while toilet facilities
consisted of rows of privies built above watertight privy vaults located
in the backyards of the buildings. Extremely objectionable, unsanitary
nmditions soon devt'loped under such circumstances. Health authorities
had to take stringent action to hah the spread of dise'lse. To protect
the health of building OCCUp'lnts, the public was alerted to the necessity
of equipping buildings with 'ldequate means for supplying safe drinking
water for domestic purposes and with adqu'lle facilities for sanitary dispos'll of sewage. Health amhorites advocated the installation of plumhing
systems in buildings, and as 'l result this became a subject of re!!;ulation
in sanit'lry codes.
In the early I H70s, water-supplied kitchen sinks came into general
use in private homes and other small buildings. Fireboxes of coal-tired
kitchen ranges were equipped with water backs and water fronts, and
circulation piping was installed between these water-heating units and
hot water storage t'lnks so as to make pressurized hot water available
in volume at Jixtures. The use of outdoor privies and privy vaults for
private homes was discontinued gradually 'lS indoor water dosets, directly connected to building drains, were installed in toilet rooms an:essihie from backyards.
A major stymie to more rapid introduction of plumbing systems in
buildings was the fact thaI, as latc as I H74, no way was known for preventing fixture trap seals from being lost because of siphonage and backpressure conditions in the drainage systern. Where fixture trap seals
were lost, objectionable odors and sewer gases escap<-'d Irom the system
at fixture outlets and f"{mIed the atmospher<-' of rooms in buildings. A
significant instance of this occurred when a plumbing system was installed in a large new private dwelling in New York City in 1874. Soon
'lfter occupying the building, the owner complained to the plumbing
contractor that the sten<-h of sewer gas from fixtures in the building
was unbearable.


After receiving this complaint, the plumbing contraClor discussed it

at a conkrence with other New York City master and jounleymen
plumbers. At this conference in 1874, the theory of protecting fixture
trap seals by means of vent pipes was originally proposed. The theory
was that air pressure in the drain at the outlet of a fixture trap had {()
be in relatively exact balance with the atmospheric pressure at the inlet
of the trap, and this balance could be maintained by means of a vent
pipe connected to th<-' drain at the trap outlet and extended to atmospheric pressure outdoors so that aIr could How freely into or out of
the drain in response to pressme variations in the drdin. This theory
was tested by contraClors and journeymen in the field on numerous
installations, and it was proved to be correct. However, numerous details
of vent-piping installation and sizing had to be determined by further
testing and field experienlT before continuous, satisfanory performance
of vent piping was assured, Neverthelc:ss, the principle of venting sanitary
drainage systems by means of attendant vent pipes, to protect fixture
trap seals against loss by siphonage and back pressure, was established.
The way had been found to prevent objectionable odors and sewer
gases from escaping <It fixture waste outlets and fouling the atmosphere
in buildings.
News of the development of the principle of venting sanitary drainage
systems spread rapidly to all parts of the country. Detailed information
on vent-piping installation, test reports, and experience with systems
in service were carried in trade publications, association reports, and
newspapers at the time. A major breakthrough h<ld been achieved in
knowledge of the design of plumbing systems in buildings which made
it possible {() locate plumbing fixtures inside without fouling the atmosphere. Objections to installing plumbing systems in buildings rapidly
vanished, and plumbing installations proceeded at a greatly accelerated
Within a few years, kitchen sinks were installed in each dwelling- unit
in tenement houses. Owners of private homes began to have kitchen
sinks put in, followed soon after by laundry trays, then bathtubs, and
later by lavatories placed in appropriate locations for convenient use.
About 1880, the use of privies and privy vaults in the backyards of
tenement houses was discontinued, In their place batteries of hoppertype water closets, directly l"onnened to building drains, were installed
in either backyards or cellars. Similarly, at schools privies and privy
vaults were removed. They were replaced by installations of troughtype water closets. known as school sinkJ, directly connected to building
drains, These fixtures were provided in s<-'par,He schoolyard toilet buildmgs,
By 1881. the health protection benefits of sanitary plumbing systems



buildings were dearly recognized by health ollicials in Cities. Prior

{O this time, in New York City, 90 percent of <Ill human wastes had to
be disposed of by removing such wastes from privy vaults and transporting them through buildings, along city streets to docks, and then out
to sea where Ihey were dumped. This method of sewage disposal was
a severe health hazard and had [() be eliminated for this reason. Sanitary
plumbing- systems in building-s were the answer. People ill cities knew
this from hard experiellce. They beg-an to rely upon plumbing- facilities
for improved sanitary condilions, and to reduce their daily work and
increase their enjoyment of living-. For economy in installation, sinks
and laundry trays were grouped tog-ether i.n kitchens; and water closets,
bathtubs, and lavatories wefe grouped together in bathrooms. This was
possible to do in cities with public walel- supply and sewage disposal
systems. But in rural areas, having no such public systems available
for building connection, homes had no plumbing facilities. The only
sanitary provisions lor building occupants in such areas were an outdoor
earth-pit privy and a well. Portable washtubs and bathtubs were llsed
either indoors or under an outdoor shed in most such areas.
In the I H90s, two important fixture developments, combined with
newly available gas and dedric public" utility systems laid under city
streets, aided in further expanding- the use of plumbing systems in buildings. The firS[ water closet design considered to be really sanitary was
introduced about I ~90 with the development of the washdown water
closet. Almost simultaneously, the free-standing, white-enameled ("asliron bathtub appeared, They were hailed as important new sanitary advances, as they were reasonably priced, mass-produced fixturc's whi<:h
homeowners desired. Doctors and health aUlhonties advocated the expand<'d use (lfhot water as a sanitary measure and proclaimed the health
benefits of balhing. The ready availability of (1)blic utility gas supply
systems, whidl had been newly laid under city streets, aided in expanding
the use of hot water supply systems in buildings and the installation
of gas-fired water hc:aters. The availability of public utilty systems for
supplying dt'nri<:ity for light and power in buildings made possible the
installation of ellicient electric pumps for pumping water to plumbing
fixtures at allY height. It was at this time that skyscraper-type office
buildings were first ere("{ed in !'\ew York City, Chicago, Philadelphia,
and other major cities. These buildings \vere equipped with plumbing
systems that performed satislactorily and unobjedionably, and suitable
kinds and numbers of fixlUres were provided in convenient locations
for building on:upants.
At the start of the twentieth century, laws had already been enaded
in many areas of the country requiring the installation of plumbing systellls in buildings and the provision of suitable kinds and numbers of




fixtures in lonvenient locations for the use of building- on:upants. In

general, .~llCh areas were larg-e municipalities where public water supplv
and public sewer sy~tems were available for building- connertions. In
areas beyond the limits of public sptems, it was deemed unreasonable
to require insTallations of plumbll1g- systems and fixtures. Nevertheless,
people desired sanitary plumbing hICilities and sought to equip their
buildings with appropriate sntellls. Hol water supply was especially desired as manufacturers publicized their new ckvdopments in W,Her heater
equipmelll. Coal- and g-as-fired sidearm water healers <lppeared on the
scene. Automatic controls were developed to eliminate the dangers associated with ilIanual operat ion of water heaters. and range-boiler manufacturers introduced tanks made of several different kinds of materials with
greater durability.
\1any new tenemelLts were ('[ected iu large industrial cities to house
the swelling populations. These buildings had sinks and laundry trays
in each dwelling unit. but water do sets were provided in toilet compartments an:essible from the public hallways 011 each floor. In many cases,
more than one family used the samc toilet ClCilities. 11 soon was apparellt
that such arrangements \'ITT"(' inadequate and objectionable and fostered
unsanitary conditions. lledlth authorities put new reguiatiulls intu effect
requiring thdt water closets ue installed in toilet rooms or bathrooms
in each dwellillg unit, dnd strelluous e/fl)rts were made to bring existing
building facilities up lo the revised standards.
Following World War 1 and continuing through The earlv 1920s, the
large industrial cities expanded tremendously. "Jew hOllsing developments were uuilt on Ihe fj-inges of cities, and public waH"r supply, sewer,
and llIility systems were extended to serve the new buildings. All these
were equipped with the musl modern plUlllblllg systems dnrI hxtures
of the day. Complete bdthroolJl instalL-lIiOIlS, consisting- of a water doset,
lavatory, and bathtuh with an ovcrhcan shower were provided in each
dwelling unit along with modern btchen sinks and laundry trays. The
growing importance ofsanirary plumbing systems in buildings was shown
by large-scale plumhing installations in hotels, ollice buildings, factories,
food processing plants. and dairy buildings. \-fost buildings were provided with more plumbing equipmellt than was refJ\lin~d by law. \fultistory residential buildings in great mUllber-s were erected in the central
parts of cities where land values were relativcly high. They too were
fully equipped with complete bathroom, kitchen, and laundry fixlures
of mudern, sanitary design. Many were equipped with colored plumbing
fixHlres which were introdu(:ed in the middle 1920s. But tbis tremendous
new building: COllstrunion wave re<lchcd its peak in 1929 and calTle to
a sudden halt in 1930 when the severe business depression occurred.
During the I930s, relatively lew new buildings were erected until


the laner part of the decade. This period was devoted principally to
the correction and modernization of plumbing systems and equipment
in existing buildings. Many buildings with inadequate plumbing facilities
were improved by the installation of additional, new plumbing fiX{lJres
and the replacement of old, obsolete types. lmportantcorrenions were
made in the potable water supply systems of huildings to diminate all
water supply piping connections and fixture supply connections which
were recognized as potential sources of contamination. This drive for
correction of systems was led by health, water supply, and building of~
ficals so as to avoid a repetition of the amoebic dysentery epidemic
which occurred in the city of Chicago during its World's Fair in 1933.
Other imponam improvements were made in the hot water supply sys~
terns in existing buildings. Many were equipped with modern, automatically controlled hot water heaters designed for use with gas, oil, or
electricity as the source of heat. During this period, the public utility
systems around the country extended their electric supply lines into a
great portion of the rural area. This provided a soun:e of power for
pumping water from wells and for supplying plumbing systems with
all the water needed to maimain the same sanitary standards that were
eI~oyed in the cities. Private sewage disposal systems were provided
by means of undergT(mnd septi(: tank and leaching field installations
in appropriate locations. In this way, modem sanitary plumbing systems
and fixtures became available even in remote regions of the country.
In the latter 1940s, following World War II, and continuing through
the 1950s, 1960s, and imo the 1970s, there was a tremendous expansion
of housing developments and industrial plant construction outside the
cemral areas of cities in the United States. New buildings were erected
along new principal highways, and public water, sewer, gas, and electric
systems were provided for building service needs in most areas. Private
systems were utilized in many areas where public systems were not available. All such buildings were equipped with modern plumbing systems
conforming to sanitary standards elevated to a higher level than ever
previously el~oyed by people. In the central areas of cities, many old
buildings were removed, and in their places large skyscraper office buildings and residential buildings were erected. They too were equipped
with modern plumbing systems designed in accordance with the higbest
sanitary standards in history in order [0 serve the gr~'atest occupancy
loads of all time.
Tower building LOllstruetiorl aCLelerated in the late 1950s and early
1960s, and necessitated changes in design to meet changing conditions.
Increased building heights and increased water usage, including water
for air conditioning, required water supply tanks so large that they caused
significant space problems and were uneconomical. To meet the chang-


ing conditions, desig-n was changed to provide tankless, automatic con~

stant-pressure booster-pump systems which required a minimum of
valuable building- space and which also provided a sealed-in supply of
potable water from the source of supply to the plumbing fixture outlet.
In 1966, a critical shortage of copper occurred in the United States
because of stoppage of shipments frolll foreign sources of supply. Inventories of copper UWV tube and fittings were rapidly exhausted. Large
developments of single family residences were halted for most of 1966
hecause of the unavailability of copper DWV piping which had originally
heen planned to be installed. This urgent need was soon filled by nonmetallic, plastic DWV pipe and filling-s, which were then introduced into
use for building- plumbing systems under carefully prescribed installation
A most significant change in the design of buildings used by the
public began in 1961. The object of the chang-e was to make all buildings
and facilities, including plumbing, used by the public accessible lo, and
functional for, the physiully handicapped, lo, through, and within their
doors, without loss of function, space, or facili ty where the general public
is concerned. The changes were set forth in the American National Standards Institute standard, Specifications for Making Buildings and Facilities Accessible to and Usable by Physically Handil'apped People,
originally issued as A117.1-1961 (Reaffirmed 1971) and recently superseded by A 117.1-1980. By 1971, governmental regulations were enacted
mandating the necessary changes including many related lo plumbing
systems in buildings.
Since 1974, when the supply of foreign oil to the United States was
interrupted and oil prices rose sharply, ways to conserve energy have
been a constant concern. Some important conservation measures relate
to the design of plumbing systems. Elimination of water waste, limitation
of water use to a reasonable minimum, limitation of hot water supply
temperature and rate of flow from hot water faucets, insulation of hal
water heaters, tanks, and piping, and use of heat reclaiming systems
and solar heating systems are some of the conservation measures to
be applied in the design of plumbing systems for buildings.

The modern sink, laundry tray, lavatory, bathtub, water closet, and other
fixtures did not evolve overnight. Their development extended over a
period exceeding 130 years. Even after appropriate fixture designs were
achieved, public demand for them had to be stimulated. Expressions
such as "Cleanliness is next to Godlinl'ss," were adopted and popularized
to induce people to practil:e sanitary habits. Fixtures were sold more



on the basis of the comfort, convenience, and privacy they afforded to

u~ers than on health protection benefits.
Portable fixtures were used at first. In bedrooms, a wooden washsland
and toilet set were provided. The top of the wa~h~talld was usually
covered with a marble sbb on wbi(:b were placed a glazed pouery washbasin and large water pitl'heL Other items included a glazed pottery slop
jar and a chamber pOI, which were generally concealed in a compartmenl
in lhe lower part of the ~tand. Towcl~ were hung from bars attached
to the sides of til(' stand. Portable wooden wa~htub~ and wooden and
~heel-metal hathtubs were commonly u~ed. One oflhe early sheet-metal
tubs used in France ,,'as shaped like a ~lipper. The bather ~al upon a
seat in the "hed" and extended his feel into the "toe" of the tub,
Beneath the heel was a grill upon which charcoal wa~ burned to heat
water in the tIIb.
For all sucb bcilities, water had to be carried 10 them, and wa~les
and sewage had to be carrico aW(ly co (In appropriale plal:e lor disposal.
The lahor and inconvenience inw)lved thereby were lactors which influenced many people against adopting and practicing sanitary habits, It
gradually became evident that in order to raise sanilary standards and
protect heahh, it was nece~~ary to provide pressurized water ~upply
piping systems to convey an adequate, safe supply of water direcdy to
fixtures and to provide sanitary drainage piping systems {() convey sewage
directly from hxture~ to an unobjectionable lermiual for dispo~al.
In the 1840s, pressurized w,Her ~Llpply systems and ~allitary drainage
svstems were first introduced into buildings in the United Slates. Thereafter, plumbing fixtures began to be installed with connections to such
svstems, and the development of plumbing fixtures proceeded al a rapid
pare to salisfy a constanTly increasing- demand. The first fixtures to be
installed in buildings reportedly were kitchen sinks and water dosets.
Shortly afterward, wa~htubs, bathtubs, and lavalories were installed.
Earl\' wa~htubs were Ill<lde of plain, bare wood while sinks and bathtubs were mereh' wooden frames or wooden boxes lined wilh sheet
metal. Sheet lead was used at first for lining~, then sheet zinc, and later
sheet copper. Showers were provided abO\T some of the early bathtubs.
Although these fixtures were llsable, they had many objeclionable features. Linings were easily dented and damaged; they developed leaks
al seam~ and at waste and overHow connections and became un~ightly
owing- to corro~ion. To improve the appc<lrance of bathtllb~, it was u)mman pra<:tire 10 paint the exposed surfa(:l' of zinc and copper linings
with white or cream-colored paint and to ["epaint them again and <lgain
as the paint chipped or peeled off.
~lore durable sinks of black rast iron were devdoped. They soon
gained popularity over sheet-metal-lined wooden-frame sinks. The cast-


iron sink was of the rectangular flat-rim type and was installed on a
supporting wooden frame or was placed against the wall with the rear
rim resting on a wall cleat while tbe front was supported from the Aoor
by means of two cast-iron legs inserted into slots on the front of the
sink. Often a cast-iron splash back was fastened to the wall above the
rear rim of the sink. A single hole was provided in the center of the
.~plash back so as to permit a faucet to be connected there and firmly
fastened above the sink. Later models of splash backs were provided
with two holes to permit installation of both hot and cold water faucets.
Early lavatory installations evolved from the old wooden w<lshst<lnd
and pottery toilet set. A gl<lzed pottery w<lshbasin, either round or oval
ill shape, was installed beneath a large opening in a marble slab and
all<lched to the underside of the slab bv me<lIlS of bolts. Holes wen"
drilled through the slab to permit long-shank IdllcetS 10 be att<lched
{hereto with spouts project inp; <lbo\'(' the basin. An opening in the botlom
of the basin was equipped with a waste plug outlet filling for direct
connection to Ihe drainage piping system. The joint between the top
of the basin and underside of the nwrblc slab was sealed bv, means of
plaster of p<lris. lhuatly the marhle slab and washbasin assembly was
installed against a wat! and supported by wooden framework. Drip trays
ohen were installed 011 the Hoor beneath washbasins beGlUse of the
incidence of leakage dcvelopment at the plaster joint between basin
and slab.
One early improvement in washbasin design was the provision of
an overflow lining on Ihe side of the bowl so that an overflow pipe
could be imtalled between the overflow fitting and the dram just below
the waste-om let plug. This was followed by another improvement, an
integral overHow built into one side 01 the glazed pottery washba~ill.
The first of the early water closets was known as the l!ah'e rlose!. It
was devdoped by Joseph Hramah, an English inventor, about l7H8.
As the original model did not work too welt, it \\'as improved later by
the addition of a Hushing rim. The deep bowl of this do~et was flushed
and relilled with water by means of a valve controlled by an air cylinder
adjusted in anordance with the water pressure provided by a Bramah
pump. This type of water closet was used for many years in toilet {'(Impartments of railroad cal~.
About lR:13, the pan doset <lppeared on the scene, after having origiluted in England. This type of water closet soon gained prd(:rence,
as it was much cheaper than the Bramah valve closet, and continued
to be in common ust.' for more than 40 years. The pan closet consisted
of a deep lead bowl with a hinged copper pan that held water in the
bowl to form a water seal. The hinged pan was dumped by means of
a hand crank. The bowl was Hushed hy manual operation of a valve in



the waterline, supplied directly from an elevated water-storage tank

which often was located in an attic. Elevated Hush tanks, installed just
about 5 II (1.5 m) above the fixture, were later used to flush pan water
Around 1850, long hopper water closet bowls came into common
use. They were made of glazed poltery and shaped like a long funnel
or hopper, aller whidl they were named. This type of water closet was
instalkd so as to be relatively frost-proof. It discharged into a trap located
below the Hoor and was flushed by means of a valve in the water supply
piping- which was directly conne("(ed to the bowl of the fixture. Exposed
water supply piping was covered with insulation, and the water supply
valve was located below the Hoor. This . . . alve was operated by a rod
conneded to the underside of the water closet seat, so that the bowl
was flushed continuously throughout the Jwriod a user sat on the seal.
Almost coincidentally, short hopper wakr closet bowls were produced
for installations where frost protection was not a problem. These bowls
were of glazed pOllery and shaped like a short hopper. This type 01"
water closet was designed to be installed on, and attached to, the top
Hange of a cast-iron P trap equipped with a Hoor standard. The joim
between the bowl and the trap flange was made with pUlly and secured
by means of damps. The bowl was Hushed by water from an elevated
flush tank.
About 1870, the plunger closet was introduced and gained popularity.
It too originated in England. For about ~() years, it was widely installed
in buildings where it was not subject to frost conditions. But it required
frequent maintenance and repairs to keep it functioning properly.
In the 1870s bathing became much more popular. This was partly
due to the lact that in 1872 the 'Hlcient arts of loullding and enameling
were united in the production of the first enameled cast-iron bathtub
which featured durable, smooth white-enameled surfaces. Two years
later, mass production of such bathtubs was started by a New York
manufacturer. This was the beginning 01" modern enameled cast-iron
plumbing fixtures.
Soon thereaher, solid procelain bathtubs were imported from England. They had smooth white hard-glazed surfaces which made them
easy to maintain in sanitary condition. However, they were prone to
crazing and were heavier and more expensive than enameled cast-iron
bathtubs. The popularity of porcelain tubs was relatively limited, the
enameled tubs being both lower-priced and reasonably durable.
Two-compartment and three-compartment washtubs, made of millcut soapstone slabs, were marketed. At first, the installer had to assemble
the fixture at the building site, install it on standards, and seal the joints
between slab sections with a paste mixture of litharge and glycerin.


Completely assembled soapslOne washtubs were later manufactured to

meet the competition of solid porcelain and solid concrete washtubs.
About IR80, the first all earthenware w'ater doset, known as the wa.\hout
doset, was developed in England. An integral trap was built inlu its design,
and it had provision for auaching a toilet seat directly to the top of
the bowl. This lauer feature eliminated any need for installing framework
and legs to support a toilet seat above the bowl, as was the case with
all the earlier designs. Sinct: this waler doset was made completely of
earthenware, it was easier to maintain in sanitary condition. In addition,
il had better flushing characteristics than any of the earlier water closets.
It was flushed by means of an elevated flush tank located on the wall
about 5 ft (1.5 m) above the fixture.
Up until 1880, the desi~pl of plumbing fixtures originated principally
in England. Hut, thereaher, developments in plumbing fixture design
proceeded independently and at an an~elerated pace in the United States.
Much of this may he attributed to the <:ompletion of new railroads which
opened up the western part of the continent, the formation of large
industrial corporations to exploit natural f('solln:es of the undeveloped
areas, the continuous increase in population due 10 waves of immigration, and the tremendous demand for nt:w homes and buildings to house
lhe swelling numbers in industrial centers all over the country.
By 1890, all earlier desiglls of water closets were made ohsolete and
relegated to the category of unsanitary lixturt:s with the development
of the washdown watt:r closet, which originated in America. This was
an all earthenware water closet having an integral S trap and provision
for attaching a seat dire<:tly to the lOp of the bowl, features similar to
the washout closet. But the washdown water doset showed such design
advanc('.~ as siphonic action, greater depth of water in the bowl, greater
water coverage of interior bowl surfaces, elimination of unventilated
spaces, and complel<- scouring of all interior bowl surfaces with each
flushing. These advall<-:es prevented prog-ressive fouling of interior fixture SUrfa<-TS and odorous conditions after extended service. When first
introduced, the washdown waler closet was lIushed by water frolll an
elevated Hush tank located on the wall about 5 ft (1.5 Ill) above the
fixture. This Rush tank was designed to hold 8 gal (30 L) of water and
was equipped with a siphon-type Hush valve which siphoned from the
tank at least 6 gal (22.7 L) of water at each flushing. Several years later,
Rushing was also accomplished by means of a Flushometer, the first
automatic Hush valve introduced on {he market.
III the 1890s, lhe free-standing, white-enameled cast-iron bathtub on
legs enjoyed great popularity as a replacement lor earlier models made
of sheet metal and wooden framework. The free-standing bathtub was
much more sanitary and durable. However, it was dillicult 10 clean under



the fixture and between the !LxLUre and the adjacent wall. As a result,
many free-standing bathtubs ""'ere later proYidcd with cast-iron bases,
rather than short cast-iron legs, m order to keep the floor under the
bathtub dean.
By 1900, American pOllery manufaclIlrers had developed glazed vitreous chinaware with smooth, impervious surfaces. Tbis materi<ll was so
well suited to plumbing fixtures that it became a stand<lrd for water
closet bowls and was preferred by many individuals for various other
fixtures. In view of this, lllallY plumbing-fixture manufacturing firms
combined so as to unite the arts of pottery, founding, and enameling
under single firms.
Bathtubs, sinks, wash trays, and lavatories made of glazed terra cotta
were 1JI,lTlufanured and proved popular for a time. These sinks, washtrays, and lavatories were relatively heavy and had to be provided with
sturdy legs or bases lor support. The bathtubs were designed to be
built mto wall and floor constructioIl, a feature which was hailed as an
advance of considerable merit from a sanitary view. The popularity of
these terra cotta IixHlres gradually diminished with the development
of similar designs in enameled cast iron, whidl were lighter and more
economical. However, fixtures made of g1<lzed vitreous (:hina continued
to (:ompete in terms 01" weight and (ost with those made of enameled
cast Iron.
The beginning of the twentieth century saw the development of the
water doset as we know it today. \Vater closets designed for wal1hung installation appeared ahout 1905. In 1915, manufacturers introduced the lowdown Hush tank and water closet as a combination unit.
consisting of a Hoor-outlet type washdown water closet and a porcelain
flush tank designed for installation on the wall just above the top of
the water closet. From 1916 to 1920, other advances in water closet
desig-n included a reverse-trap model and the use of siphon jets for
stronger siphoni{: <lction and a reduction of noise in operation.
During- th(' 1920s, improved design features appeared, such as priming
jets in washdown~type and reverse trap water closets. increased surface
area of water in closet bowls, and hlrther reduction of noise in operation.
One-piece water closet bowl and flush tank units were introduced in
the 1930s. They provided relatively silent operation owing (() a number
of design improvements, including the use or a quiet-action ball cock
in the flush tank compartment and a bowl design which produced rotary
ur vortex movement of water in the closet bowl sullicient to aHord adequate scouring action and complete siph<magt of the cOIltents of the
Improvements have continued to be made in the design of water
cloS(,ts. The most recent has been the introduction in 1960 of a wall-



hung water closet allc! lowdown Hush lank combinatioll of simplified

design, weighillg leSs. !han the other wall-hung models and provided
wIth a light weigh! concealed metal fixtun: carrier of simplified des.ign
hv which it can be attal.:hed to stnH'tur;JI elements of walls.
Great improvements have also been made in the design of sinks and
laundry trays. Prior to 1900, the A,lt-rim and roll-rim sinks wen: equipped
with separate splash backs on whidl se.:parate [mcets \\,er(' mOlllued.
But, about that tllne, the.: need fllr improved sanitatIon in kiTchens of
dwelling unilS resuh('d in ,1 trend away from the use of Hat-rim sinks,
wooden enclosures heneath sinks, and separate.: splash backs. One-piece
roll-rim and apron-type sinks with irllegral splash backs appeared about
1910. and faucets wen: mounted on the vertical back wall of sinks. These
one-piece sinh were designed for installation on walls by means of
Ilie.:tal bracke.:ts securely attached to the structural clements of the wall
and were not provided with legs flU' support from the floor. Larger
one-piece roll-rim and apron-lype sink and drainooard combination fixtures were introduced about 1920. Tbey had integral splash backs and
\\Tn' desig'ned to be ins!alled on walls with me!al hrackets, But owing
to the gTeater weight and size of the.: combination, thev also had to be
supported ftom the floor hy means of two legs set beneath tbe /i'Onl
rim of the fixture.
One-pie<'T sink and washrray combination fixtures and two-tompaltment sink tomhinatiOIl fixtures were intrllduced abollt 1930, -I'hey were
designed willi roll rims or aprons and illlegral splash backs on which
cumbinatioJl faucets 'were mounted. Because of !heir weight ;md size,
these fixtures were not ouly secure!v att<lche.:d to the wall, but also SIlPported from the lloot by means ollwo legs set beneath the Iront rim
of the fixture or by: two pedestals, Olle beneath the sink compartment
altd the other beneath the wash tray contpartmenT.
In 1940. a shott integrAl back and ledge w"s introduced into
the deSIgn of sink alld washtray combinations and two-compartmelll
sink combinatiolls. A combination faucet was spetially designed for instaliatioll on the ledge of the lixture, which was attached to tbe wall
by means of metal brackets and additionally supported by a strung metallic cabinet with an adjustahle base set beneath the fixture rim.
Soon thereafter, oTie-piece Hat-rim style sink alld washtrAY combiIlAtiolls aud two-t-ompanment sink combin,Hiol[ fixtures for counter-top
installation were introduced. Thcse flat-rim fixtures were installed in
waterproof counter tops by means of;j metal frame with a watertight
seaL The counter top was provided with" short splash back and installed
on top ofa floor-standing cabinel securely attached to the wall by brackets. A deck-type COliluitJation fauccl was specially designed for lIlstallation on the countcr top adjacent to the fixture.


These improvements in the design of sinks and laundry trays were

made principally in enameled cast-iron fixtures. However, they were
also included in enameled pressed steel fixtures following- their introduction in the late 1920s, In 1950, one-piece lIat-rim counter-top sinks
made of stainless steel were imroduced. Thus, improved sanitary design
has now been built into sinks and laundry trays in several differem kinds
of durable materials,
In the early 1950s, the design of kitchens was changed so as {Q provide
extended counter-top space, with cabinets above and below. This change
was utilized to permit the under-counter installation of two household
plumbing appliances, the domestic dishwashing machine, and the domestic automatic laundry washing machine. In large multistory residential
buildings, automatic laundry washing machin<-'s wcre installed in general
laundry rooms on each floor or at basem<-'nt or <-Tllar levels.
In 1952, plastic bathtubs, plastic shower stalls, and plastic wall enclosures for above bathtubs and shower receptors were introduced by fixture
manufacturers, and wen' utilized in many large, new multistory residential buildings.


Plumbing systems in buildings are designed and constructed using- the
materials currently available in our highly industrialized society. Each
system is composed of many diHerent individual p<lrts, pipes, fittings,
valves, fixtures, <lnd numerous other items. which arc <lssembled to hm(:tion and provide the performance required to satisfy the needs of building occupants and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people.
To s<ltisfy these needs ecunornically, most ufl!le many parts of plumbing
systems arc mass-produced by industry.
Since the start of the industrial revolution in England in the mid1700s, the great change from an agricultural and handicraft economy
to a modern industrial economy has prog-ressed hand in hand with new
discoveries and inventions <lnd the exploitation of new sources of power
and raw materials. Their utilization throug-h exp<lnding mass production
of goods to satisfy publi<: demand has wnlUght untold benefits to the
people and has revolutionized their way of life.
Standards are at the base of all mass production. Before starting to
m<lss-produce any given item, industry must first establish a standard
for it, incorporating every feature necessary to satisfy the public demand
or need li:)r it, and then proceed to make it <It a cost that will satisfy
the consumer. Consequently, standards arc evervbody's business in the
broad sense.
The earlie.;r stand<lrds for plumbing materials were those devised



Table 1-1

Plumbing' fixtures and fittings:

Vilreous china
Enameled Last iron
Slainless steel, residential use
Porcelain enameled formed steel
Gel-coated glass-tiber reinforced polyester n~sin bathtub units
Gel-coaled glass-fiber reinforced polyester resin shower receptor and shower
stall units
Laundry equipment, household
Dishwashers, household
Dishwashers, Lommt.'rcial
Drinking fountains and drinking waler
coolers, self-contained, mechanically
Floor drains
Finished and rough brass plumbing fixture fillings
Shower head, hall joint (inlegral volume
Supports for off-the-ftoor plumbing fixtures for public use
Ferrous pipe and filtings:
Cast-iron soil pipe and fittings, extra
heavy and service weight
Cast-iron threaded drainage fittings
Hubless cast-iron sanitary system pipe
and fittings
Iluhless stainless-sted couplings
Cast-iron water pipe, cast-in-metal
Cast-iron water pipe, Lasl-in-sand lined
Cast-iron water pipe (2")
Cast-iron water pipe linings
Sted pipe, seamless and welded, zinc
Malleable iron fitlings. threaded, 150 lb
Pipe finings, threaded (bushings, locknuts, and plugs)
Roof drains











A 112.18.1 M-1979




















Table 1-1 (Continued)


Ferrous pipe and fItting's (conlmlled)

\'<Ilves, hack water
V'.l.h-es, gate, cast iron, threaded and
Hanged, 1:!5 and :!50 Ib
Nipples, pipe, threaded
Cnions, pipe, steel or malleable iron
Nonferrous pipe and tittings:
Brass pipe
Brass tube
Copper pipe, standard pipe size
Copper pipe, threadless
Copper waler mhe, types K, t, and M
Copper dlalilag-e lube. type OWV
Cast-bronze suewed tittings, 1:!5 and
250 lb
CasT-bronze solder joint pressure fittings
Casl-hronze solder joint drainage IIttings
Brass or bronze Ibnges .md Hanged filting's, 150 and 300 lh
Casl-hronzl:' IItlings for flared (opper
\Vroug'ht-copper and bronzl' solderjoint
pressure fittings
\Vroug'ht-copper and wroug'hl.copperalloy solder joint dr,]inage fillings
Lead pipe, bends <J1Jd lraps
lTmolJs, pipe: br,]ss or bronle, :!50 Ib
Valves, ball
Valves, bronze, gate
Valves, bronze: angle, check and globe;
screwed Ranges, solder; I:!.'l, 150, and
200 Ib
Valves, waler pressure reducing
\lonllKlallic pipe ami fittings:
Ashestos-cemem pipe, nonpre%ure
Asbestos-cement pipe, prnsure (wOller)
Asbestos-cement pipe, perforated
Bituminized-fiber pipe, homogeneous
Biluminized-fiher pipe. homogcncous,





\\'W -V-53! 0-1973






B 1t-1.2:i7ii








W\V -P-:i25A-191:i7
W\V -lJ-516A-1967
\VW-V -.'l4 D-1974


A II:! ,26.2-197.1)














Table ,-, (Continued)


Nonmetallic pipe and filtings (mil/inned)

Bitumillized-liber pipe, l<lminatl~o wall
Bituminizcd-fiber !-_)lpe, laminated wall,
Cby pipe, perfor<lted, stand<lrd <lnd extra strength
Compression joints for vitrified cby bell
and spigot pipl'
(:oncrele pipe, sewer. llOnrelll[orced
Acrdoll itrik-but<ldiene-s t)Tene (A BS)
plastic pipe, schedules 40 <Iud 80
Acrvlon ilrik'-but<ldiene-st\Tene (A ns)
plastic pipe filtings, socket type,
schedule 40
Acrdollitri I c-butad iene-st)Tene (A 1\S)
plastic drain, W,ISIe and venl pil>e <lnd
Solvent cement for acrvlunilrik-butadienc-st\Tene (ABS) plastir pipe and
Polyethdene (i'~:) plastic pipe, schedule

Plastic Hlsert fiLLings fur pulyethvkne
(PE) plastic pipe
Polyviml chluride (PVC) plastic pipe,
schedules 40, HO, and 120
Polyvin;.-l chloride (pVC) plaslic pipe fittings, socket type, schedule 40
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic drain,
waSle and vent pipe and fillings'
SohTnl cement II)r polYVlllvl chloride
(PVC) plastic pifJe <Iud fillings
Backflow prcvcntion deVICes:
Ail g<lpS ltl pllllllhing S\"stcms
Vacuum breakers, antisiphon
Vacuum breakers, hose nmneu]on
Vacuum breakers, prc%u!"c' typc
Doubk chcck wilh atmospheric vent
Reduced pressure pnnciple ba(:k presSlllT, hackflow preventer
Double check v<llve hack pressurc. hackHow assemblv





AI 76..?-7 I



























AI 12.12-1979
AI 12.1.:1-1976
AI 12.1.7-1976







Table 1-1 (Continued)



Miscellaneous materials:
Cleanom.~, metallic
Calkill~ lead, type I
Cement lining
Coal-tar enamel, protective coatlllgs for
steel water pipe
Fixture setling compound
Grease inteneptors
Hose damps
Hydrants for utility and maintenance use
Pipe hangers and supports
Rdiefvalves, pressure and temper<ltllre,
and automatic gas shutolr devices for
hot waler supply systems
Rubber gaskets for asbestos-cement pipe
Rubber gaskels for cast-iron soil pipe
and fittings
Rubber gaskets for concrete sewer pipe
Water hammer arresters
Water heaters, automatic storage type
\\later heaters, electric, storage lank
W<lter he<ltcrs, instantaneous
Water meters, cold, displacement type
Water meters, cold, current type
Water meters, cold, compound type
Sheet copper
Sheet le<ld, grade A
Soft solder





n"-p-OO 1536-1968
WW-C-140B(2) 1973
Al 12.21.3-1976




QQL-20IF(2) 1970






Sl~n<l~n.h h,wd in lhis lable an, lh,' latest ~,'ailable ~t publica,ion of ,hi, book A, stan<lard. arc
cnlSed ~nd updaled regularly, cefcrcnu' 10 standards m contracl specificalions should be made to
,he late" edilion in each e~,,,

t Abhc""ialion' used ;Il thi,

,~ble to

"uka'.. Ih.. ,ou"", of ,'a,'h




Amencan National Slandards [m';lut", Ino




tI", f()lIo",ing

N"", Yock, '\IV lOOill.




OH 44 113,

S"ci",y foc T"sttng ,md Ma'<>cials, 1'tl6 Ran' S',",'"l, Philaddphia, PA 1'1103.

Am"rican WaleI' Wocl<>


6666 W

Ca" Iroo Soill'ipe Institute, 2029 K S,reet,



Society of Sanitary Engin"ering, 960


p~r1 Kubr ."~n,bcd cde<: 1<>


Ilrainage [""titUle, 5342


~.W ..


A'Tnu". D,nHT. CO 80235.

Washington, DC 20405.

pt., Indianapulis, It--. 46208.

FS F"d"ral Supply Serv;ce, Standards Division. General Senic". Administration (standards are oblainabl., from lhe Supcnn'endent of Documents, Government Print;nR Office, WashinRtOn, DC 204(2).


Table 11 (Continued)


Miscellaneous materials:
Cleanuuts, metallic
Calking lead, type 1
Cement lining
Coal-tar enamel, protective cuatings for
steel water pipe
Fixture setting compound
Grease intercepturs
Hose damps
Hydrants for utility and maintenance use
Pipe hangers and suppons
Rdiefvalves, pressure alld temperature,
and automatic gas shutoff devices lor
hot waler supply systems
Rubber gaskets for asbestos-cement pipe
Rubber gaskds for cast-iron soil pipe
and fillings
Rubber gaskets for concrcle sewer pipe
Water hammer arreSlers
Water healers, automatic storage type
Water healers, electric, storage tank
Water heaters, instantaneous
Water meters, cold, displacement type
Water meters, cold, current lype
Water meters, cold, compound type
Sheet copper
Sheet lead, grade A
Soft solder






TI"-P-OO 1536-196H
G 101
WW-C-440B(2) 1973




QQL-20IF(2) 1970







Standards hsted In thi., t"bl<' arc the latest a"ailable at publication 01 tins book As 'tandards arc
revi,,,d and up,dmcd rel(Ularly. refcrcn'T to ,t1ndard' In conlra("( 'peuh.-"tion, ,hould h" made 10
the latcst edition in each case,

t Abbrc"i"'i",,, ,,'cd in lhis table tu irrdi""te the ,ourn' of "".-I, par' Kubr "an,L,rd rd"r 10 !he !"II"winl\
ISSUIllI\ o"galn,a"on"


Ameriean N,,'ional Standards [mritute. 1430 Broadwa\'. New York.


American Suciety 01 Sanilar)' 1'."l\incer;,,!\". 9UU Itlrll";,,atin!\" BlI;ldinl\. Cle,'etand. OH 44 II.~.



American Sueiet)' lorT"'hog "od Male'nab, 1911i Ibn' S'"'. Plnbddplll". PA 19103.
Am,";mn Water Works A"o";a,ion. 66li6 W Quiney A,'enue. Denyer. CO 110235,
Cast 11'00 Suil Pipe Institute. 2029 K Street. N.W .. Wasl!inl\ton. DC 20405,

Plumbin!\" amll)",inage Institute, 5342 Bouleyard !'\.. tndianapolis. IK 16208.

tS Federal Supply S,'nl<"e. Standards Ilivision. General Se ...... ices ,\dm;nistr"t;on (standards are "b",;n"hie lrom the Superintend"n' of I'k>ntmeot'. Guyernment Pnnting Office. Washing",n, I)C 20402).



by individual manufacturers for their products in England in the early

1800s. Similar standards wert applied in th(' United States by manufacturers in the production of pipes, fittings, and fixtures, which reportedly
began about IH42. Prior to this time, plumbers had to make their own
lixtures, traps, and Iitlings. The trend toward manuhtctured piping and
fixtures gained momentum coincidtllt with the installation of public
water supply systems ill large (:ities. Clay, cast iron, and lead were the
earliest kinds of materials 1l1anufactured for plumbing systems, followed
shortly thereafttT by wrought iron, brass, and copper in the 1850s. Cast
or factory-made traps became available abollt 1871.
The development of standards for plumbing materials may be classified gcnerally into four stages: (1) by individual wmpanies; (2) by industrial associations, technical societies, and government bureaus; (3) on
a national scale; and (4) on an illlernational scale. From one stage to
the next, the importance of, the difficulties involved in, and the number
of organizations interested in a given standard increase grcatly. Usually,
two or more stages develop simultaneously as the result of a significant
and apparent need to resolve many problems which affect numerous
diverse industries and require a common solution. In this Wt,ly, standards
are vitally necessary to establish the best way known for produl'ing any
given item. Generally at:cepted standards falilitate the integrating processes necessary for large-scale production and distribution and for satisfying the demand of the ultimate consumer or user.
National standards for plumbing materials began to appear during
and shortly after World War L In the 19~Os, such standards were developed rapidly to embral'e most of the range of plumbing materials. Since
then, these standards have been changed in accordance with evident
needs, and new standards have been developed coincident with the introduction of new materials and new methods and with changing conditions.
Since World War II, the use of new materials, methods, and techniques
for plumbing systems has resulted in a broad advance in the development
of new standards and the updating 01" old standards to meet current
needs. Standards for the principal kinds of plumbing materials currently
used in building construction are listed in Table 1-1.


Every stale has police power to protect the health, safety, and welfare
of its people. Many states exercise such power directly through state
agencies, while some states delegate specific powers, duties, and responsibilities t.o mllTlicip<llities established under slate law_ Regulations lo
protect drinking water supplies against the hazards 01" pollution and
contamination and to provide lor safe, sanitary disposal of sewage are



necessan to protect health. The design, installation, and maintenance

of plumbing systems ;lre subjens wilhin Ihe category of regulalions neressary 10 protect health.
When plumbmg fixtures were first introduced into buildings in America, about 184~, no plumbmg regulations exisled other than those dealillg with the m<tilllenance of privy vaults. Rut as the populations of (he
industrial cities swelled in size and people were crowded into new tenement houses with ven meager unsanitary b.cilities located in Ihe backyards in close proximity to the buildings, health condilions deteriorated
and epidellllcs occulTed. The situation became so bad that in 1R6n,
after urgent appeals were made. the leRislature of the State of ]'\jew
York granted power t.o Ihe l\ktropolitan Board of Health of !\lew York
elfY to control and n:gulate plumbing in the city. Soon thereafter, the
Nt:w York City S<JllitalY Code included plumbing regulatioJls.
These regulations required that care be taken to prevent pollution
01 the public water supply and that adequate drains and soil pipes be
provided ill buildings. Fixlllres connected to sewers had to have approved means. i.e .. fixture traps \\'ilh water seals, for prevf'l1Iing gases
or odors from passing out through the~ tixtures into rooms. Vt:ntilation
and means of cleansing waler closc(s and privies were required, ventilatlon ill this case meaning a loral ventilation pipe connected beneath
the seat of {'a<:h water closet bowl or privy vault. It was prohibited for
the contents of privy vaults and cesspools to run 011 into the ground
or street. Toilets were rt:quired to be kept dean, and no oHcllsi\T gases
or odors were to be permitted to pass into the house or any other
hO\lse or building. So far as is known. these were the earliest regulations
dealmg- with plumbing systems in buildings. Thev were prepared bv
health authorities aflcr nUlllerous l"{HllCrt..'llu's with plumbing cOlltractur.s.
In IHTi. soon after the theon of venting was uriginally proposf'd,
tested. and provf'd to be correct. the \Jew );'ork City Board ot Health
declared ullvented fixture traps (0 be useless and Hnsak and required
all fixture traps to he protened by means 01 adequate vent pipes. In
addition. all soil and waste stacks were to be extended to the atmosphere
above buildlllg rook III 11377, 'mil ami wasle stack terminals had to
be IO{dted at kast 2 It ({l.G m) ahove building roofs; privy vaults were
requirerl to have an 8-in (200-mm) \"f..'ntilation pIpe extending above
the roof of the building-; and owners. tenams, and lessees were made
liable for violations. In IHHO, after conduning lllany lest.s on venting.
using glass pipe and fixture Ir<tps, minimum sizes of vent pipes for various
Silt'S of traps were established bv the Board 01 Heahh. In I H81, the
installation of water dosets ill looms used for living or slceping purposes
was prohibited.





The enanrnent of plumbing- system re~ulations in other densely populated cities of the countrv pr()(:eeded almost simultaneousl\" with those
put into dICct in New York City, as cited in the f()regoing discussion.
All m<Jjor cities adopted plumbing system regulations as part of their
sanitary codes, but V\'ashingtun, DC, in the 1870s, put its plumbing
regulations into a separate code, which became known as the first
plumbing (:ode in thc nation.
:\1any ("ilits followed the example ofWashiIlgton, DC, and established
separate plumhing codes. States began to authorize the establishment
of examining boards of plumbers in cities and to empower such boards
to write plumbing regulations in cooperation with local health boards.
As plumbing praetia's in difttrent municipalities varied considerably,
their code requirements soon refleeted these variations, althou~h thev
were usually of minor importance.
A most signifiulH regulation was put into e1ren in Nev,' York City
hy the Board of Health in l8H3. All water supply ("(lIlnections made
to fixHlres below rim level were ordered removed; their future use was
disomtinued, and it was strictly prohibited to make them. This regulation
was the result of an investig'ation aud series of tests conducted by the
board after receiving a report from both master plumber and journeymen
plumber associations that many existing water supply connections to
plumbing fixtures were potential sources ofuJlllantination to the potable
water supply system, as water could he drained or siphoned back into
the system tbroug-h supplv ronne-nions made- 10 fixtures below rim level.
One- of the most hazardous of these connections was the direct water
supply \'al\T for flushing hopper-lype water dosets. Flush tanks equipped
witb bottom supplied, submerged ball cocks and bathtubs equipped with
either bottom or side-wall bell supply inlets were- among- the fixture~
from which watn I.:ould dram back into the potahle waler supply ~ysteill.
Iow('\'('r, tbis n~gulation was not strictly enfoHTd once the power
ovn plumbing st<lndards was transferred from the Hoard of Health in
1890 to an Examining Board of Plumbers and a Department ofBuilding-s.
These agencies did uot havc the same strict means of eni()fcelllent as
did tbe Hoard of lIeahh. This was of special importancc with regard
to fixlures which had been origmally approved in existing buildings.
I kalth boards had power to ordn correction of unsanitary conditions
and health hazards regardless of prior approvals. The altitude of building
depanment ollicials became relaxed on the subject of this regulation.
In lH9G, they permitted installation uf a patented Hush valve, known
<lS a Flu~hometer, for Hushing- water dosels -and urinals by means of a
dired connection to the pOlablc water supply system, Al hrst, these
valves were permined 10 be installed onlv when supplied from a separate
water supply system for wate-r closets and urinals. But this was later


relaxed further to pennit flush valves to be supplied simply from separate

risers for water closets and urinals.
By 1913, the plumbing codes of cities throughout the nation had
become comprehensive documents which specified how almost every
detail of plumbing systems in buildings was to he installed; what fixtures
had to be ins taIled for the use of building occupants; minimum permissible sizes for drains and vents based upon established methods of detcr~
mining loads on such piping-; minimum permissible sizes for water supply
piping; the various types and kinds of materials which had been approved
for various uses; and administrative proc('dures which had to be followed
in securing permits to do plumbing- work, inspection and testing of installations, and other related details. Plumbing codes had become lengthy,
detailed, and very complicated. Nevertheless, the codes of different litil's
very closely paralleled each other in most respects. Differences in the
various codes related principally to items such as kinds of venting methods pl'rmiued, kinds of materials recognized as durable under service
conditions in different areas, and numerous minor poims of relatively
hull' sig-nificance.
The need for standardization of plumbing system regulations had
long btTn realized and voiced by master plumber associations, plumbing
inspector associations, and plumbing equipment manufacturers associations. Experiem:e with standardization in the mass production of products by industry, and the tremendous benefits that resulted therefrom,
as especially evidem by the end of World War I, further promoted the
idea of trying to achil"Ve standardization of plumbing <:ode regulations.
This was in tune with the trend toward accelerated standardization in
every phase of industry from 1918 onward. Interested associations appealed to the United States government to initiate authorilative studies
and develop model plumbing regulations which could serve as a recognized standard.
A comprehensive eHort toward standardization of plumbing codes
was made by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1921. A building
code commiuee ofthe department began to formulate rules for plumbing
systems in smaIl dwellings. To investigate and determine the facts regarding the hydraulics and pneumatics of plumbing systems, scientific experiments were cOIlducted by the National Bureau of Standards. The findings
of these experimeIlts were applied as lhe basis for numerous plumbing
requiremems. The committee's report appeared in the publication Building and Housing Report No.2, "Rl'commended f\.linimum Requirements
for Plumbing in Dwellings and Similar Buildings," dated July 3, 1923,
and published by th{' U.S. Department of Commerce, National Burt'au
of Standards.
The building code committee of the U.S. Department of Commerce



reconvened in 1928 to review the resuhs of 5 years of use of its 1923

model plumbing requirements. Several changes were made, chieHy in
pipe sizes, and a revised reporl was issued. This reporl appeared in
the publication Building and Housing' Repon No. 13, "Recommended
Minimum Requirements for Plumbing," dated August 30, 1928, and
published by the U.S. Deparlment of Commerce, National Bureau of
Standards. Supplemental revision.s were made up to May 1931, and the
final repon combining the original and supplemental reports was published in 1932.
During the early 1930s, hot water storage tank explosions began to
occur frequently and demonstrated the need for hot water supply systems
to be equipped with positive means for preventing excessive pressure
and temperature conditions. Pressure and t<-'mperature relief valves were
developed to meet the need, and plumbing codes soon included regulations requiring such devices to be installed at appropriate locations in
the hot water supply system.
In the city of Chicago, during its World's Fair in 1933, an amoebic
dysentery epidemic occurred. It was of extensive proportions as shown
by subsequem reports issued by the Chicago Board of Health and was
directly anributed to contamination of water supply piping systems in
several buildings. The report emphasized that all water supply connections made to fixtures below rim level were potential sources of contamination to the potable water supply system and should be eliminated
as health hazards. Laboratory tests furnished ample confinuation of this
fact, and public demonstrations were held to show how readily water
supply systems could be contaminated by most of the water inlets to
fixtures in common use at the time. These tests and demonstrations
merely confirmed the correctness and properness of the sanitary code
regulation adopted in 1883 by the New York City Board of Health,
prohibiting all water supply connections made to fixtures below rim
leve! and ordering discontinuance of such dangerous connections. The
necessity for such regulations to protect potable water supply systems
against contamination was amply demonstrated by the amoebic dysentery
epidemic in Chicago 50 years later.
By 1935, regulations had been adopted in most plumbing codes to
prohibit below-rim water supply omnection to fixtures. Enforcement
of these new regulations was pressed by health authorities and water
supply authorities acting in close collaboration to protect health and
to maintain the potable quality of the public water supply systems.
Changes in the water supply connections to fixtures in existing buildings
had to be made. In many cases, the changes were simple, while in others
they were costly. In some cases, where the function oflixtures depended
upon a below-rim water supply connection, changes were either impracti-



calor impossible to make. But necessily was the mother of invenlion,

for vacuum breakers were soon developed as satisfaclory proleclive devices for use in cases where fixtures had to be equipped with below
rim potable water supply connections. In 1938, regulations dealing willi
permissible vacuum-breaker installations on fixture water supply connections appeared in many plumbing codes.
The L.S. Department of Commerce iii 1935 established a Central
I lousing Committee to sludy ways of improving the housing situation
in the nation. In 1938, a subcommittee was formed to study plumbing.
This group picked up lhe work ot" the previous building code comminees
and proceeded to develop a st.mdard plumbing manual for use in connection with low-cost housing where the special need was to take advantage
of all legilimate economics. This committee's reporl appeared in the
publication Building Materials and Structures Repon No. 66, "Plumbing
Manual," dau,;cl November 22,1940, and published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards.
From the day it was organized in 1883, the National Asso<:iation of
Master Plumbers was vitally nmcerned wilh plumbing codes and their
improvement. Assol'ialion members had to comply with such codes in
their daily work and thus had intimate knowledge of the good and bad
poims of plumbing system regulations. Slandardization commiue<'s 01"
the association were continuously active in promoting development of
standards for all types of plumbing equipment and materials. In 1933,
the association's standardization committee developed and published
a model plumbing code. It was recommended 10 code-writing authorities
as a suitable standard. To resolve numerous code problems and to develop a scientific basis for code provisions, a research program was sponsored at the State Uiliversily of Iowa, resulting in considerable scientific
data on plumbing system design. Many of these findings were applied
by lhe standardization committee in revising its 1933 model code. In
1942, the :"Jatiollal Association of Master Plumbers published its new
code, recommended to code-writing authorities as a modern standard.
During \Vor!d \Var II, there was an exlreme need 10 conserve critical
metals, particularly lhose wmmonly used in plumbing systems. The
Offi<:e for Emergency Management of the Executive Offi<:e of the Presidenl asked for and received the cooperation or the !'iational Association
of Master Plumbers and the L'niled Association ofJourneymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe FiHing Industry of the Cnited Stales
and Canada. They collaborated closely Wilh representatives of many
federal agencies to develop an emergency plumbing code which limited
lhe use of critical melals wherever possible while maintaining safe and
sanilary plumbing slandards. This code was published in 1942 by the



Office for Emergency ~Ianagemcnt as the Emergency Plumbing Standards f(Jr Defense Housing. It was based upon plumbing requirements
mntained in Building Materials and Structures Report No. 66, "Plumbing Manua!," but appropriate changes were made as required for the
conservation 01" uitical metal.s. This emergency plumbing c"ode was applicable throughout the natioIl for the balance of the war period.
In 1946, as a result of favorable experience with the EmergeIlcy
Plumbing Standards dunng the war period, the United States Housing
and Home Finance Agency sponsored a joint committee, known as the
Uniform Plumbing Code Committee, to engage in research on the nation's plumbing needs and to drali a plumbing mde suitable for adoption
by code autborities throughoul the nation. Participating with representatives of many federal agenc'ies on this commiuee were representatives
of the ~ational Association 01" Master Plumbers and the United Association of Journevmen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
Industry of the United States and Canada. Research work at the :-.Jational
Bureau of Standards and ,It the Public
, Health Service Environmental
Health Center provided lht" committt"e with scientific data to resolve
some of the controversial matters in plumbing system regulations. The
committee's work resulted in the publication "Report of the Uniform
Plumbing Code Committee," dated July 1949, and published by the
V.S. Department of Commerce and the Housing and Home Finance
For lIlany years, tbe \Vestern Plumbing Officials Association (WPOA)
had also worked anively to develop uniformity of plumbing code regulations. This association produced a model plumbing code in 1938 and
designated it as the Uniform Plumbing Code <ldopted by the WPOA.
It was revised at 2-year intervals in order to keep <lbreast or new materi<lb
and mel hods of construction, the last edition appearing in 1948.
Another organization interested in stalldar-dization of plumbinp; system regulations was the American S()(:iety of Sanitary Engineering. In
1942, this organi,.atioll published a set of standards for use as a guide
in plumbing inst<lllation. A uJmmittee was established also to develop
a model plumbing code. BUI, somewhat later, instead of pursuing this
task independently, the society decided to collabor,lte with other organizations <llId ap;encies interested in developing a model plumbing code
th;lt would have broad sponsorship.
The American Swndards Association, founded in 1918 by live great
engineering sorieties and later broadened in membership to include
all nationally recognized terhnical societies, trade associations, and government agencies having an interest in standards, became actively interested in lhe coordination of dJ(nts to develop a single, generally accepted


standard plumbing code. In 1936, the association's A40 sectional committee organized a subcommittee to undertake the task of establishing
minimum requirements for plumbing, but little progress was made and
the subcommittee was disbanded in 1939. A new subl'ommitLee was
organized in 1941 to develop an American Standard plumbing codt".
This nt"w group was made up of official representatives from a wide
rangt" of interested organizations. The final report of the subcommittee
was approved by the A40 sectional committee and its sponsors, the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Public
Health Association, and then was suhmitted to the American Standards
Association for adoption and designation as an American Standard. This
standard was adopted on February 17, 1949, and designated American
Standard Plumbinp; Codt", A40.7-1949.
In 1949, the existence of several different model plumbing codes
rt"commendt"d by various authoritative associations dearly indicated the
desirability of reconciling differences between the various codes and
developing a single standard plumbing code which would be generally
accepted for adoption by code authorities
throughout the nation. Under
joint sponsorship of the U.S. Department ofComml'n:e and the Housing
and Homt" Finance Agency, a Coordinating Committee for a National
Plumbing Code was formed. Represented on this commitLee were the
American Public Health Association, American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, American Society of Sanitary Engint"t"ring, Building Officials
Conference of America, Conference of State Sanitary En,l,.-ineers, National Association of Plumbing Contractors, Western Plumbing Officials
Association, the Housing and Home Finance Agency, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The committee was assisted by labor.,uory research at the National Bureau of Standards and the State University
of Iowa, and by advisory committee work of representatives of many
federal agencies. The report of this committee appeared in the publication "Report of the Coordinating Committee for a National Plumbing
Code," dated June 1951, and published by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Housing and Home Finance Agency.
Soon thereafter, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and
the Amt"rican Public Health Association, sponsors of the American Standards Association A40 sectional committee project, conducted a survey
of organizations interested in the plumbing code standardization project.
Favorable response to the coordinating committee's report was received.
Several suggestions for improvement of the report were considered and
incorporated into the draft of a proposed American Standard National
Plumbing Code. Following approval by the sponsor organizations, the
proposed new standard was submitted to the American Standards Association for adoption. This new standard was adopted on January 25, 1955,
and designated American Standard National Plumbing Code, A40.8-



1955. It soon became the recognized, generally accepted standard for

the engineering design of plumbing systems in buildings.
The need 10 update the A40.l:l-1955 standard became evident with
new developments in materials, methods, and technology. A new American National Standards Commiuee A40 was organized in 1964 and proceeded to update the A40.l:l standard. In this revision project, the
National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Comraclors served
as one of the sponsors.
In 1968, the proposed revision was submitted for approval to the
lJnit<'d States of America Standards Institute, successor to the American
Standards Association. (Since then, the Uniwd States of America Standards Institute has changed its name to the American National Standards
Institute.) The proposed revision did not receive approval because the
institute found that consensus had not been achieved. Lost by this action
were years of committee efforts and many important revisions rdated
to new materials, methods, and technical ,advances.
A serious void existed for a great number of parties of interest. There
still remained the unresolved need for a modern, updated standard which
both plumbing contractors and plumbing engineers deemed essential
lor their work.
To satisfy this need in 1971, the National Association of PlumbingHeating-Cooling Contractors look the lead and published the National
Standard Plumbing Code. Its stated purpose was to provide local and
state governments, code administrative bodies, and industry with a modern, updated code following the format and sequence of A40.8-1955
so as to provide maximum convenience lor users. The National Standard
Plumbing Code presenled ...ignificant revisions related to new materials,
methods, and technology.
With the June 1973 revision, the American Society of Plumbing Engineers joined this effort by endorsing the National Standard Plumbing
Code. Representatives or the American Society of Plumbing Engineers
now serve as members of the code committee and participate in a cominued code updating program.
A swing toward state plumbing codes, and away from municipal
plumbing codes, began in the 1930s. The amoebic dysentery epidemic,
which occurred in the city of Chicago during the period of its World's
Fair in 1933, and subsequent reports on the epidemic issued by the
Chicago Board of Health brought home to responsible state officers
and state health officials the realization that there was need for more
extensive and more adequate protection of the public health and welfare
against the hazards ofunsanilary and substandard plumbing installations.
The trend toward state codes accelerated after World War II as the
result of experience with the many unsanitary and substandard plumbing
installations of the war period and because of the great number of new


housing deve!opmt'uts which mushroomed afier the Wdr period in suhurban and rural areas, most of which had no effective protection in the
form of plumhing- system regulations, Rj.' 1956, twentv-six states had
codes to regulate plumbing system imtal1ations, These codes varied
in form alld applicability, Of theM' codes, R were mandatory statewide,
n were mandatory statewide with cerra in exceptions, 10 established
minimum standards below \...hich local municipal codes could not provide
aldlOugh they uHlld provide higher standards, 3 were IIIdlHlatory ouly
where adopted or dn'epted by municipalities, and 5 were model codes
[{'colJlHleuded to muncipalities for adoption,
A significant challge ill plumbing system regulations, the establishment of perf(lrmance requirements in codes. rather than specific requirements prescribing use of certain
, Hlethods, devices, materials, and
techniques. appeared in the State Building COllstruoion Code of New
YorL: State as the various portions of this (:ode were prolllulgated in
1951, 1953, 19,I)G, I (l5R, and in suhsequcnt amended editions, This
was OIH' of the three state codes which were mandatory only where
municipalities voluntarily accepted applicability of the code, Tbe reason
for the establislullent of performance requin:ments wa,s given in Ihe
!\ew York SLl\e Building Code Law. enacted in 1949, and appeared in
the statl'merlt of leg'i.~lati\'e findings and purposes, part of which is as
inducing high cu~b uf lOllstructioJl are various Iaw~,
ordinaJlce~, ruks, regulation~ ami code~ regulatinK the COJlstruction of
buildillg~ and the ll~e of m;nerials therem, The)' sene to increase cost,
wahout providing corrdative bl'llehb or sakt, to owners, buildl'l~, teJlaJlt~
and usns of hllildings, It i~ lhe purpose 01 this 'let to institute the preparalion of a stale code of building con~trll(1ion to pro\'lde, so far as mil}'
he pranicahle, h;Jsir <[lid unili)rm performance standards, Thus, while es
tabli~hillg reasonahle safeguards for the s('(uritv, welfare and safety of
1 he occu palll~ and users of buildi tl gs. the usc uf modern method s, devices,
materials and techniques will he encouraged. This should he effective in
lowering' cOllstnu:tion costs.
A.nlOng the


Performdnce regulations in plumhing codes have gained wider application ill recent. years. Bv making ddequate performance of any glvcn
plumbing system installation the test of its acceptilhility, the ingenuity
of the designer, inslaller, and manu!;'Uurcl' is permitted to he employed,
rather thilll being overly restrained by the necessity for conformini{
strirtly to specific requirements in codes, Such restrictions pose severe
difficulties in meeting the many Ilew and varied conditions for which
systems must be designed in differenT <Jreas, In addition, it has been
found in numerous instances that conformity with specific requirements



of generally accepted standard plumbin!{ codes does noT assure adequate

performanre of inslallations, t:~peciallv where code requiremellls art:
inappropriaTe or inadequate for conditions of the.: installations.
L:nder a performance code, such as the :'\Jew York Statt: Building
Constnu:tion Code, complianu.: ",,'ith its plumbing- performancT require.:mellts lIla~ he achieved in (,it her of two wap, The hrst way is to comply
with applicable provisions of a generally an:eptt:d standard rt:cog'nized
and listed by The code-writing authoriiY. In ~t:w York Statt:, the applicable standard is the Standard ~atiollal Plumbing Code, datnl 197ft
'rhe second way to a('hinT compliatHT with performance requirements applies to installations which dn'1I11f from applicable proviSIOns
of generally ,lCC(~ptt:d standards. In such cases, rompliarl(e may ht:
deemed to he achieved only when it shall have been conclusively prove.:d
that tbe deviations rtlt:et the petformance requirements of the code.
The second way has been proved to he of great value. ~ew ideas
in building design and technolog'y, which art' in ad\'allCe of ,ItHI deviate
from rnognizl'd stan<brds, may be approved and put into senj(T upon
conclusive proof of adeqnaev of perlilllnatll:c. Oue example which mav
be cited is tht: installation of storm waTer drainage syst(:ms, sized in
alTonlallH' with til(: rated discharge or weir-tvpe 1'001 drains. Su(:h a
system was approved for a singh' building having- 30 acres of roof area.
Another example is the introduction of the Sovent system, one of the
European single stack drainag-e systems, into st'\TTalnew, high-rise residential buildings, oue of which wa~ a 20-story-tower type. III these cases.
performance criTeria and tl:sting procedures had to be specially developed <md then applied during the consTruction pbast: so as to prove
adequacy of per!()]'mance.
The durahllity of materials and equipmcnt and the adequacy of their
pcrformance in service vary apprc("iahly with the chemical characteristics
of the water supplies they convev and of the soils in whirh they may
be installed. Some matetials which perform with aUTptable durability
in mosT water supply areas Illay have verv limited durability and perform
inadequatd)' in certain areas where conditions are adverse to their use.
Similarly, the performallte and design adequacy of building drainage
systt:rm are affl'lted hy signiftcant changes in [he physical charalteristi(:s
of the waSH'S conveyed. For example, in r('(:cnt years, suds-backup conditions have occurred with consider<Thle frequency at lower floor hxtures
in mallY differellt types of building's, bOTh new and old. This condition
resulted from the great inu:ca~e in the volume of snds accompanving
wastes in building drainaJ,!;e systems coltlcident with the introduction
and widespread use of sudsy detergents since World War II, and the
inadequacy (ij[' suds !low of vent pipes designed simply fin airflow in
certain zones of the drainage systt:tTl. Satisfactory design for adequatt:


performance under suds-flow conditions is discussed under appropriate

subjects in other chapters.
Much still remains to be done before generally acceptable standardization of plumbing syslCm regulations is achieved. In any event, regtIiations
must keep pace with changing conditions and should not be allowed
to restrict the development of new methods, devices, materials, and
techniques. The present trend is toward performance requirements,
making adequate performance the test of acceptability. This is a reasonable and objective hasis upon which to establish regulations to proteCl
the health, safety, and welfare of the people.