There is possibly no branch of construction work which has undergone within the same given time such great changes of a far-reaching nature as plumbing construction. These changes look to the betterment of sanitary conditions, and are going on continually. As a consequence of all this, any work relating to plumbing construction to be of real value to the reader must deal with modern methods and appliances, for the old-time construction called for such entirely different methods, materials, and appliances, that the trade of the younger plumber of to-day has little in common with the trade which the older school of plumbers learned in their younger days.
The practice of filling books on plumbing with instructions and historical data concerning old-time plumbing construction has no features to recommend it, and the author, believing in the truth of this statement, has avoided the employment of all such material. The ambitious plumber of to-day, if he is to keep abreast of the times in his chosen line of work, cannot afford to waste much time in gaining knowledge of an obsolete nature.
Many factors have taken part in the advancement of sanitary construction.
The good features that have arisen in plumbing construction are not to be credited to any one influence, but to many and varied influences. In the first place, the people of this country have been educated to demand and to expect the best possible living conditions, and the result is that the standard is constantly being raised. The public years ago began to demand more efficient regulation of plumbing construction in towns and cities, and the results arising from this demand and its fulfillment have been of the best. Municipal plumbing ordinances are constantly being revised or added to in the effort to provide the public with the most perfect sanitary conditions that are to be obtained. Competition is another factor which has brought results.
Manufacturers everywhere have striven to improve their goods, and the advancement which they have made in all lines in recent years is truly wonderful. The plumber whose duty it is to execute work of construction has been most influential in bringing about changed conditions. It is he who is better able than others to observe the good points of different methods and devices, and their deficiencies, and to him is due the credit of very many of the improvements in the construction of the plumbing system which the public now enjoys.
So far as it is within his power the author has endeavored to acquaint his readers with the improvements that have been effected in the many different directions.
The work is designed to cover the entire field of plumbing as far as possible. It takes up not only plumbing as practiced in towns and cities under strict plumbing regulations, but plumbing construction under conditions obtaining in country districts, where the problems which arise are often of an entirely different nature, and where there is not in existence any public regulation of sanitary work.
The subjects considered cover a variety of lines of work, including fixture work in detail, the construction of the drainage and vent systems in detail, and complete plumbing systems of buildings of various kinds.
The work is designed essentially to cover subjects pertaining to drainage alone, but it is clear' that in many instances the subject of water supply is closely associated with the drainage problem, and the author has therefore deemed it advisable in several instances to go somewhat into the general subject of water supply. This is especially true of country plumbing systems and of the systems of large city buildings.
In conclusion, the author would say that to him the collection and arrangement of the information which "Modern Plumbing Illustrated" contains has been a matter not only of much labor, but of much pleasure as well. It is a subject which has held his interest for many years, and the interest which he has long had in all that pertains to the betterment of plumbing construction and to the betterment of the plumbing trade at large will always continue.
It is his sincere hope that the following pages may hold information of interest and of value to his readers, and that they may prove a source of help in time of need.
In bringing out a new edition of "Modern Plumbing Illustrated," the author becomes more fully aware that in the years which have passed since its first edition appeared, the science of plumbing has seen no great change in any of its essential principles, and whatever advance has been made has had largely to do with the developing and perfecting of detail. Such additions as have been made to this present edition will therefore be found to be along such lines.