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Plumbing supplies have become dominant with the change is emphasis from rural to urban societies. For most of history nature has been the primary method of plumbing, from gravity in aqueducts to rainwater making rivers to remove our waste. The theory of being downstream was all to real for those downstream of a metropolis. The Thames River which runs through London was considered a cesspool and the Hudson River of New York City was considered dangerous to your health. Improvements in plumbing and their corresponding fixtures means that supplies have become a massive industry and an indicator for modern growth. The industries of mining, smelting, and upkeep, like plumbers, fix whatever goes wrong. In this article we will map the length and breadth of the history of plumbing supplies and the common variants that exist today.

Preliminary plumbing existed in various forms throughout the world, but has been traced to the Indus River Valley in modern day India, Pakistan, bits of Afghanistan, and the corner of Iran. The public sanitation system they seemed to have, or arguably the ritualistic center of the city, was the pinnacle of BC urban city planning. A centralized sanitation system for the betterment of public health seemed to exhaust the refuse from the city. More popularly the Roman system used extensive aqueducts to introduce running water to the city center. Modern plumbing took place in the roman bath houses which brought in fresh hot water to central chambers. The plumbers of that day used gravity and simple understandings of hydromechanics to produce their systems. The modern incarnation of plumbing has exploded with the various engineering positions and the science that has developed and grown the number of items that plumbers around the world use. Thankfully, the industry has been standardized so that plumbers can work on almost any appliance if they understand the system in question. Plumbing supplies have also multiplied with the growth of the industry.

Plumbing supplies are notoriously specific to a given application. With varying pressures of liquid and gas exchanges to measure and meter, it is imperative that you track the system to be sure that it functions properly. Common applications like the toilet involve a proper full mix of vents, pipes both potable and black water. The venting is to be sure that the noxious gases of the sewer or septic system do not flow backwards into your home like the first manifestations of the “water closet.”

Various plumbing supplies are categorized at either male or female fitting, a specification which is elaborated on in the FAQ section. Other important specifications are the diameter and pounds per square inch ratings of the various devices that you’re using. The diameter is a passive indicator of the maximum potential output, as well as the expected level of usage. In factory settings it is not uncommon for water-cooling applications to require more water per minute that most houses and indeed neighborhoods consume in a day. The PSI ratings are usually fairly minimal for household terms. Again in industrial standards different levels are used to measure the outputs, but generally the structural integrity of the piping is not questioned. Things like earthquakes and bursts of pressure are still dangerous and should be accounted for. The fire hydrant system is a good example of maximal water pressure throughout a system so that the water propels itself out of the hydrant. Applications with greater PSI are sometimes regulates to hydrodynamic measurements where extreme pressures are used as a means to do work. Again, it is critical to note the scale and size of any plumbing supplies to be sure that they fit your application because of the specificity and accuracy required in plumbing.

It is also important to note the difference of plumbing fixtures and plumbing fittings. The fixtures are what utilize the end result of the plumbing. Appliances such as the sink, toilet, and shower all represent common plumbing fixtures. However, plumbing fittings occur within and are attached to the pipes themselves. Fittings might interface between the pipes and the fixtures, but they will never be a fixture in and of themselves. All three items are critical to understanding the differentiation between plumbing supplies and the subsequent articles will help in outlining the various categories.

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