Since the purpose of this course is to treat of the best and simplest method of obtaining healthy homes and to show ' by what means the utmost convenience in plumbing work may be obtained with safety and economy, no attempt will be made to describe in catalog form all the interesting appliances manufactured to-day. Indeed, it would be impossible in a small volume to do even partial justice to their almost countless numbers. Each enterprising manufacturer requires for the cataloging of his sole individual productions, a ponderous volume, sumptuous and costly enough to pay for a small king's ransom. Before long, of course, in accordance with a law of economics which allows of no exception, a very big Trust will take charge of the whole business and place the goods before the public in a simplified form. Then the consumers will constitute the stockholders and price lists will become less mysterious and more satisfactory.
But in the meantime the work of combining the descriptions of all the myriads of artistic and tempting creations in a single volume or set of volumes for ready reference must be left to some specialist in business cataloging like "Sweet's" Indexed Catalog of Building Construction which will place them all before the architect and his client in such a form that they can actually be found when they are wanted. But "Sweet's" will not be able to discriminate against some of these goods in favor of others, even in the interest of the public, because the same individual cannot to-day serve both as business agent and critic at the same time. An old and reliable authority assures us that a man cannot at one time serve two masters.
To the Reader.
The business cataloging, therefore, being provided for elsewhere, the public will now only require a knowledge of the scientific principles which should guide them in their selection and use of these goods. It will be found that all the plumbing appliances and methods of construction in use to-day may be grouped under certain classes or types, and that by means of such classification any one may, without laborious technical training, be enabled to discriminate independently between the good and the bad, even though the bad may possess in some cases the most pleasing external appearance.
Accordingly we have arranged in this volume a classification and explanation not of appliances but of types and methods of construction which will enable the reader to judge for himself independently, and acquire all the modern plumbing conveniences and sanitary advantages with the greatest safety and at the same time with the least expense.
The reader is warned that he will find in these pages many ideas and conclusions which are not considered orthodox among many plumbers and framers of plumbing legislation.* The existing state of things has been freely criti-
*Some practitioners, very properly estimating highly the "practical" side of the plumber's work, have questioned the ability of a non-practitioner in plumbing or a "theoretical" man to fully comprehend an art which is so technical in its nature. While an architect does not deny that he must be something of a theorist in the Interest of progress, he nevertheless contends that the nature of his work requires Mm to be essentially and first of all practical Although he may be unable to wipe a joint or set a fixture with skill, he is nevertheless trained to fully comprehend the philosophy and purpose of these proceedings. The very first thing he discovers In the practice of his profession is that there is no sound theory which is not based on facts and on facts alone cized whenever it has appeared, after exhaustive experimentation and investigation, that simpler and better methods are possible. It is now possible for anyone to demonstrate for himself with little expense whether or not the contentions made herein are correct, without going through all the tedious and costly experiments which have led up to them, and if the writer wished to lay claim to having performed some slight service in his several years of effort along these lines, perhaps an item might be in his having called attention to and in a measure having developed the means and implements needed for such demonstration.
His chief claim, however, is in having labored for many years to show to legislators and to the public in general (with definite, favorable results on plumbing legislation in more than one city), the importance of very greatly simplifying our plumbing; in having first pointed out the significance of recent bacteriological discoveries in providing further justification for these simplifications, such, for instance, as the omission of the main house trap, whereby an exceedingly important purification and dust and germ filtration of the air of cities through the agency of the moist surfaces of the sewers and individual house drains, is effected; and finally in having devised certain practical means for obtaining these simplifications hitherto considered impossible.
It is hoped that Boards of Health will avail themselves of some simple standard form of apparatus and methods of demonstration which any plumber can construct of ordinary piping, with cistern, vacuum gauge, and ordinary quick-closing valves, and relieve a long-suffering public of a burden in plumbing construction, still required in the majority of cities and towns of the United States, which is, to express it in the mildest terms, a most gigantic blunder. The cost of such apparatus would be more than paid for by the saving in the plumbing of a single building.
It is quite as important and useful a part of the work of an investigator to build up as it is to tear down. It is indeed, in a certain sense, useless to criticize an existing state of things unless some practical remedy can be offered to take its place. No apology seems, therefore, required for the presentation here of certain new methods and appliances which have been developed in the course of these studies to meet the new conditions advocated, nor for the protecting of some of them by patents. Yet the writer recognizes that however much the public may desire to see an inventor share with it a small part of any benefit which may be derived from his efforts, he is nevertheless, and, so long as a destructive form of competition continues to form the basis of the business relations between men, must be, regarded rather in the light of an "innovator" to be opposed and punished by all who are financially interested in the existing order of things.* Therefore, it is the industrial system and not the individuals affected which is responsible for the long continuation of abuses from which the public might otherwise be quickly freed, and for the tardy recognition the inventor receives. Any return at all should really be regarded by him as more than he ought to expect under such conditions, and the writer should feel really much gratified that he has so far been able to escape from this unequal contest with some of his bones unbroken.†