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Plumbing - about materials
Water systems of ancient times relied on gravity for the supply of water, using pipes or channels usually made of clay, lead, bamboo, wood, or stone. Hollowed wooden logs wrapped in steel banding were used for plumbing pipes, particularly water mains. Logs were used for water distribution in England close to 500 years ago. US cities began using hollowed logs in the late 1700s through the 1800s.8 Today, most plumbing supply pipe is made out of steel, copper, and plastic; most waste (also known as "soil")11 out of steel, copper, plastic, and cast iron.11
The straight sections of plumbing systems are called "pipes" or "tubes". A pipe is typically formed via casting or welding, whereas a tube is made through extrusion. Pipe normally has thicker walls and may be threaded or welded, while tubing is thinner-walled and requires special joining techniques such as brazing, compression fitting, crimping, or for plastics, solvent welding. These joining techniques are discussed in more detail in the piping and plumbing fittings article.
Snakes for plumbing
A drum auger is a motorized auger with modular blades designed for various gauges of pipe. A drum auger is powerful enough to cut through tree roots. Used unskillfully, they can also damage plastic pipework and even copper tubing.
Main article: Roto-Rooter
The Roto-Rooter is an electric auger invented in 1933 by Samuel Blanc, an American. His wife called the invention a Roto-Rooter, because the cable and blades rotated as they cut through tree roots inside sewer pipe. Competing companies made imitations after the Blanc's patent expired in 1953, but the machine is manufactured by and for a United States company called the Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service.
Types of plumber's snakes
Hand auger / hand spinner
Hand augers are useful for clearing sink and bathtub drains. They are unsuitable for sending through flush toilets, because the wire might damage the bowl; also, flush toilets have relatively large drain pipes in which the narrow snake can be become tangled. (A 1?4-inch cable, for example, should never be used in a drain with a calibre of more than two inches.)
Closet auger / toilet auger
The closet auger (named after water closet) feeds a relatively short auger through a hook-shaped length of metal tubing. The hook shape makes it easier to feed the auger into the toilet. A plastic boot on the end of the auger protects the finish of the visible porcelain. Since most toilet clogs occur in the trap built into the bowl, the short cable is sufficient to break up or retrieve the greater majority of clogs.