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Women and the History of Plumbing

Women Have Shaped the Plumbing Industry 

Some sources reveal that women became involved in the plumbing industry out of necessity rather than leisure. Between July and August 1858, a combination of the hot weather and untreated wastewater created perfect conditions for disease and infections. Many people, especially pregnant women and children, contracted fatal illnesses. During this time, women were forced to think of innovative ways to bring in clean water and carry out dirty water. Some of these technologies are still in use today. 

When people picture a plumber, they seldom imagine a woman. However, women have always had a place in history alongside plumbing - although many aren't credited with their contributions. Below, interested readers may learn a thing or two about how women have revolutionized the way we use sinks, toilets, and showers throughout history. 

Meet Lillian Ann Baumbach

Lillian Ann Baumbach is just one of the many women whose contributions revolutionized indoor plumbing systems. Born in 1930, Baumbach became America's first female master plumber in 1950. In addition to unclogging drains and installing new pipes, Baumbach was featured in an interview with Water Kronkite, where she shared information about her experiences. 


While she passed away in 2000, her legacy still lives on. Because of her, many aspiring plumbers were able to follow in her footsteps. 

The Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers: Housewives Turned Activists 


The Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers was founded at the turn of the century, offering plumbers' wives an opportunity to socialize. However, what initially started as a way for housewives to swap gossip and have lunch turned into a women's activism group. 

Many members of the committee held women's rights rallies, advocating for women's right to vote. They also stood a firm stand on environmental issues, workers' rights, and what would later be known as the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

One of their most notable endeavors involved the sanitation of bathrooms in the 1930s. Thanks to their efforts, many companies followed suit. Without their efforts, who knows what the state of public bathrooms would look like? 

Plumbing and Women Today 

The plumbing industry used to be a male-dominated workforce, but now, things are changing. More and more women are enrolling in technical schools to learn the tricks of the plumbing trade. If not for people like Adrienne Bennet, Lillian Ann Baumbach, and the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers, matters could be much different. 

Soon, when people are asked to picture a plumber, perhaps instead of a man in overalls, they will picture a woman in his place! 

About Marc Francis Plumbing

Marc Francis Plumbing has been providing quality customer service for over 30 years. Homeowners can expect same-day repairs and guaranteed work. Homeowners can count on them for a range of plumbing services including repairs and maintenance. Contact them to schedule plumbing service in Johnson City, TN today!