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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What I see:

My profession, my trade, my life’s work is changing. Though the basic underlying principals of modern plumbing have been in force for over a hundred years now, tools, methods and materials are all changing the face of today’s plumbing. Many old timers have seen the slow demise of cast iron, bell and spigot DWV piping and the change from galvanized to copper and the steady rise of the plastics. With the general acceptance of these new materials the very nature of the work itself changes. A single skilled craftsman can now accomplish jobs that would take a crew of three to five men. And he will do that job in half the time. It was not that long ago that plumbers were notoriously famous for having bad backs from lugging sticks of cast iron pipe up two flights of stairs day in and day out. Cast iron tubs and sinks along with massive china toilets have given way to fiberglass, stainless steel and much lighter and more compact toilets and fixtures. These advances all lead to a more productive and healthier plumber. When I was an apprentice many moons ago, there was no such thing as battery powered tools. Every screw we drove and every piece of pipe we cut was done by hand or with a heavy corded power tool. My foggy brain is trying to remember if we even had chop saws back then. I don’t think we did but even if they were available the boss was too cheap to buy one. Then again, I seem to recall that we apprentices were working for $ 4.25 and hour too. So many things have changed and are still changing. It is the nature of the business and the trade. Through it all though, the basic principals remain the same. We still calculate DFU, SFU, flow rates and pressure loss the same way we did a hundred years ago. The principals of proper venting, backflow and cross connection will in all likelihood never change because all these things rely on engineering that was done flawlessly so long ago by men that were what we are today. Professionals entrusted with Protecting the Health of the Nation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For an excercize in patience and a delicate touch, I have students cut cast iron with a cold chisel. It takes a lot longer and is a lot trickier than they think.
 
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