Residential plumber at work.
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum".
The word "plumber" dates from the Roman Empire. The Latin for lead is plumbum. Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drain pipes and some were also covered with lead, lead was also used for piping and for making baths. In medieval times anyone who worked with lead was referred to as a plumber as can be seen from an extract of workmen fixing a roof in Westminster Palace and were referred to as plumbers "To Gilbert de Westminster, plumber, working about the roof of the pantry of the little hall, covering it with lead, and about various defects in the roof of the little hall". Thus a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a Plumbarius which was later shortened to plumber.
Years of training and/or experience are needed to become a skilled plumber; some jurisdictions also require that plumbers be licensed.
Some needed skills, interests, and values
Each state and locality may have its own licensing and taxing schemes for plumbers. There is no federal law establishing licenses for plumbers.
In Canada, licensing requirements differ by province, however the provinces have pooled resources to develop an Interprovincial Program Guide that developed and maintains apprenticeship training standards across all provinces. The result is what is known as the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program.
Plumbers in Australia have licensing requirements that differ from state to state but it is generally accepted a 4-year apprenticeship with a further minimum experience of 2 years (6 years total) and a further curricular requirement as a benchmark for licensing. Licensed plumbers are also expected to maintain minimum relevant training requirements to maintain their plumbing licence.
The term "White House Plumbers" was a popular name given to the covert White House Special Investigations Unit established on July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Their job was to plug intelligence "leaks" in the U.S. Government relating to the Vietnam War (i.e. the Pentagon Papers); hence the term "plumbers".
n the early evening of June 17, 1971, Henry Kissinger held forth in the Oval Office, telling his President, and John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, all about Daniel Ellsberg. Kissinger's comments were recorded, of course, on the hidden White House taping system, and four years later, a portion of that tape was listened to by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, which was then investigating the internal White House police unit known as the Plumbers.
Joe Wurzelbacher, 34, found himself at the center of a media frenzy on Thursday after "Joe the plumber" was mentioned 26 times during the final debate.