Plumbers Are Famous In Every Sense


We can never underestimate the importance of plumbers and gasfitters in New Zealand. When a toilet is clogged, or if we need repairs to our hot water system on a cold winter morning, they become the most important people in our world. In fact, in situations like that, they’re stars. Just imagine how uncomfortable and miserable we’d be without them.

With plumbers having such star power, it’s not surprising that many of the world’s most famous people have plumbing backgrounds. For example, Sir Michael Caine was a plumber’s assistant and was seeking an apprenticeship before the movie world took him away from the industry. Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Cocker also dabbled in plumbing before they decided to concentrate on music.

And then there’s the Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley, who went further than Caine, Osbourne and Cocker by actually opening his own plumbing company. Actually, the dancing Flatley was walking in his father’s footsteps: Michael Flatley Sr immigrated to America from Ireland in 1947 and started a plumbing company of his own in Chicago, which he called Flatley’s Plumbing Express. Incidentally, Flatley Senior’s plumbing enterprise is still in operation after all these years

Albert Einstein is another famous person worth mentioning. While he was never a plumber, he is widely quoted as saying: “If I could do it all again, I’d be a plumber.” Einstein would have been one smart plumber but given the increasing complexity of the industry, intelligence is a common virtue among most plumbers anyway. Becoming a certified gas fitter, for example, is no walk in the park. It has become a specialised field requiring no small degree of expertise.

If we’re talking about famous plumbing people, we have to mention John Harrington. In 1596, Harrington invented a running-water system which flush cleaned a toilet after it was used. Unfortunately, Harrington was a little premature with this invention as many of his potential customers didn’t actually have running water to complete the flushing process. (Most people didn’t have running water until the 1800s which is when the plumbing industry really took off.)

Then, there’s the famous Thomas Crapper. He’s a household name in the plumbing world. In the 1880s, Thomas Crapper invented a siphon system which helped to empty a toilet’s cistern. He even owned his own plumbing company: Thomas Crapper & Co. It’s said that the slang term for toilet, which we use to this day, was invented by soldiers during World War One. They became used to seeing the name “T. Crapper” on the toilets of the time. The name stuck.

I guess this is all a lesson in being nice to your plumber and gasfitter. You never know what heights they’ll reach one day. But the plumbers who turn up at our places and help us enjoy the lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed are already stars. We’d be lost without them. We’d live in a world of leaking taps, blocked drains, broken toilets, cold homes, and even colder water. The plumbers and gasfitters in New Zealand are already worth their weight in gold.


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