27 thoughts on “New! – The Chicagoboyz Museum of Plumbing”

  1. Wow, my son and I were just talking about this. Iwas telling him the old saw about how plumbers love diy by people trying to save the plumbers fee.

    Then paying the plumber double after they fubared it.

    We have a situation with a client who does not want to wait til June 1 to set up a piece of equipment. My son is worried he will do it himself next week.

    He might. I don’t think he will but if he does, he’ll probably turn 2-3 billable days into 5-6.

  2. Way off topic but just wanted to shout out to Mike K a thanks for the Wareham recommendation in another comment thread. I started reading the first book of The Privateer and it is terrific so far. Only about 50 pages in, he is back in England thinking of going into manufacturing but very promising.

    I had also mentioned a book about Wilkerson and a number of other British/scottish industrial revolutionaries but could not remember then name. I found the book it is “The Industrial revolutionaries: The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914” By Gavin Weightman.

    Excellent book for people who like industrial history as I do.

  3. I’ve done a few “this will last to Tuesday and it won’t do any harm ‘repairs’ for friends who could ill-afford weekend holiday emergency plumbing rates.

    I once patched a car’s upper-radiator hose out in the backcountry, using vinyl torn from a 3-ring-binder cover, and my shoelaces. I re-filled the cooling system with clean-ish water carried in my Tilley-hat from a nearby stream.

    My thought (and instruction) was that they get a new hose when they got to civilization, but apparently the patch worked so well that they drove the hundreds of miles home on the interstate instead, and I only discovered this when I gave them a jump-start the following spring and discovered that my shoelaces were still on-duty.

    I think I need to work on my communication of the temporary and tenuous nature of field-expedient patches.

  4. Not a DIY story but our dishwasher died a month ago. I called an appliance repair company that had done a good job in saving an electric range (If we got a new one I wanted gas but that would/will be a big job). Anyway, the tech said the water pump was bad and the part would be about $450. That’s approaching the cost of a new one but we said go ahead. Three weeks later, still waiting for the part and no estimate of time, so we bought a new Bosch for $700. Highest rated in Consumer Reports.

    Maybe this is the parts delay issue but we finally gave up. Not about to install myself. Thirty years ago I remodeled my own kitchen from bare walls. I had retired after back surgery and saved myself about $25k. Plus it was fun. Not now.

    JH, his series gets confusing about v 10 as you are into the second and third generation and I have reread them to get all the names straight.

    His WWI RFC series is as good. Lots of engineering. He’s a bit of a lefty but life about 1830 for the poor was pretty grim.

  5. Last night I found I had a sample of one of his naval books in my library. I probably downloaded it on your recommendation since you have mentioned Wareham before. I don’t remember reading it but will gte to it eventually.

    Re the grim life of the time it was it was much worse everywhere else. We think of those happy carefree days on the farm, singing while they wove and spun. BS. bad as city and factory life may have been in England,and it was worse than pretty grim, it was still an improvement for most people by any measure you want to name.

  6. The AW naval books might be the ones about China, “The Earl’s Second Son” which are about the Boxer era. Again the details are very good. There is a very good American memoir called “The Old Navy,” which is about the same era in China but is non-fiction. His other series about the Navy is “The War to End all Wars” and has a lot about the Navy and about one midshipman who is kicked out as incompetent and joins the army. His story has a lot about trench warfare in WWI. I have not found away to verify his accounts.

  7. Re the grim life of the time it was it was much worse everywhere else. We think of those happy carefree days on the farm,

    Wareham has some stories about America (He is not fond of us) and a group of imigrants from England to upstate NY. They are about 1810 to 1830 when my great great grandfather arrived in the same area of NY. He died in 1864 and is buried in Bombay NY. This was about the time of the Erie Canal. He and his wife were Irish immigrants, both from Antrim in northern Ireland. They had 11 children who all grew to adulthood. One, my great grandfather, and several of his siblings, went to Illinois, no doubt via the canal, and my great grandfather had 12 children, 9 of them boys, who also lived to adulthood. They worked hard no doubt but all were much healthier than the factory workers in England of the period. Farmers’ families were healthier but I’m not sure how true that was of England, where they seemed to be more likely to starve. Probably that is what drove the emigrants.

    Anyway, my great grandfather retired to town and built a beautiful house. At one time, I wanted to try to buy it but it has since been torn down. It was said to have had beautiful wood work. The Catholic church in the town, Odell IL, has two stained glass windows as you enter. The one on the left was donated by Mr and Mrs Michael Kennedy and the one on the right was donated by my grandmother’s parents. They worked hard but that was not grinding poverty.

  8. Mike K…”The “Corn Laws” supported the aristocracy until repealed but added to the starvation of the poor.” Certainly, added to the starvation of the *urban* poor…but what about the *rural* poor? This writer:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/58187.html

    …argues that the repeal of the Corn Laws, coupled with cheap grain from America, was very detrimental to the rural poor and smallholders.

  9. Here is his house and his tombstone.

    I am reminded of a picture of my Illinois great-grandfather’s place, taken in the early 1900s. It shows two houses. The new house had central plumbing. I don’t believe the new house was initially wired for electricity, as an uncle told me that his rural Illinois childhood home didn’t get electricity until the 1930s. I don’t know how the cost at the time to build a new house with central plumbing compared to installing central plumbing on a preexisting house. Was the new house built for reasons of cost-effectiveness or for reasons of prosperity, or a combination?

    The house stayed in the family until the late 1960s.

    I think American famers were much better off than English or Irish, which is why they emigrated if they could.

    There was a lot of cheap to free land in America. The Brits weren’t giving away quarter sections of farmland, as the US government did with the Homestead Act.

  10. argues that the repeal of the Corn Laws, coupled with cheap grain from America, was very detrimental to the rural poor and smallholders.

    Grain in the history of the world was a very important factor. Athens depended on “corn ships,” presumably from the Black Sea and the steppes. America and Canada and Australia eventually drove the British out of farming by exporting millions of tons of wheat. The potato was not native to Europe. The rapid population growth in England was a mystery but probably related to better sanitation. John Snow proved cholera was from water wells. That was 1854. Florence Nightingale made similar progress in the Crimean War. The rudiments of epidemiology were appearing soon after the Napoleonic wars ended. The end of the corn laws helped to feed the majority of the population. It hurt farm laborers but they were in a bad way before that.

    My father talked about farming, which was what he grew up in. He remembered his father ridiculing another local family that sent their son to college to get a degree in agriculture. “Go to college to learn how to farm?” Thirty years later that family had bought up all the farmland in the county. They bought my grand mother’s farm she had been born on when she died. Who had the last laugh ?

  11. American Galvanized Water Pipe with Cuban Inner Tube Patch, Early 21st C.

    Cuban inner tube patch? Is this photo from the US, or from Cuba? Cubans have earned a rep for improvising parts to keep 60-year old cars running. Unfortunately, it’s not only 60-year old cars that have maintenance issues in Cuba. Havana buildings collapsing. (At one time I had located a website that had a very good collection of collapsing buildings in Cuba, but lost its location. As it is a very well-documented topic, a generalized search does just as well.)

    Wow, my son and I were just talking about this. I was telling him the old saw about how plumbers love diy by people trying to save the plumbers fee.Then paying the plumber double after they fubared it.

    Some plumbing I’ve done successfully myself- though it probably took me a lot more time than it would a plumber. With some of my DIY plumbing I’ve had to, like you say, pay double for a professional. In any event, I’ve done enough plumbing myself to not begrudge paying plumbers what they charge.

    Here are some interesting tales of DIY plumbing. Sippican Cottage : Plumbing in Maine. (goes on for more than one page)

  12. That photo reminds me of the plumbing in my house circa 2010. My husband was a pipefitter. His nephews were plumbers. His uncle an electrician. Anything that got fixed in that house was done on a Sunday afternoon with cold beer for payment. I wasn’t aware that I’d married into a Cuban family.

  13. Mcs,

    I think Biden is on his way out. But I see a different scenario from many.

    Kamala resigns first, out of shame and embarrassment. I suspect around October.

    Out of shame and embarrassment, congress names our president emeritus to replace her.

    Once confirmed Joe Biden resigns to spend more time with the grandkids.

    Trump 2021!!

  14. Getting back to the patch, I learned how to patch pipe that way in Machinist Mate “A” school back in ’67. The navy called it a “soft patch” and we used them a lot on the rotted old ship I served on.

    But not with pipe clamps. We used marline which is sort of a super twine we used for everything. Pipe clamps do not distribute the pressure evenly.

    Put the gasket material over the leak. Make sure to extend it to all sides of the leak sufficiently.

    A gob of whitelead helps seal it if you have it handy.

    Form a loop of the marline and lay it along the pipe. Then start wrapping the marline around patch and gasket, tightly and with no gaps. When you get to the end pass it through the loop then pull the loop under the wrapping.

    It’s much like whipping a rope end.

    Guaranteed for 100,000 nautical miles or until you transfer off the ship whichever comes first.

    Writing this reminds me of something I learned in basic training. A mnemonic so we would not forget:

    “worm and parcel with the lay, turn and serve the other way” I still remember the mnemonic even if I have no idea how to apply it. Something about wrapping rope with rope.

    I also remember “rub your balls with graphite” for the distance marker colors when two ships are alongside underway refueling of the like.

    And, from nuclear school “bad boys rape our young girls but violet gives willingly” to decode resistor color bands.

    Mike, the Wareham book is falling into battle.

  15. I wondered about the worm and parcel rhyme.

    It turns out to gave a fairly lengthy Wikipedia entry

  16. John Henry,
    I wonder what D.C. establishment you are talking about. My stomach turns just contemplating what sort of depravity, that revealed, would cause even the faintest blush to the cheeks of our selected leaders.

    The “patch” obviously doesn’t stop the leak, just redirects it somewhere more convenient, like a bucket. The joys of a coastal climate where pipes rust faster from the outside than the inside. Brass or copper fittings in galvanized pipe are a sure recipe for trouble down the line.

  17. John Henry,

    I see one glaring flaw with your 10:35 prediction: Harris has no shame, not even one single molecule of it

  18. Mike K, John H:

    I assume you mean this:
    The Privateersman (A Poor Man at the Gate Series, Book 1) Kindle Edition
    by Andrew Wareham

    FWIW, as I write, that one is available for free on kindle. A little crack to get you hooked. :-P

  19. }}} My father talked about farming, which was what he grew up in. He remembered his father ridiculing another local family that sent their son to college to get a degree in agriculture. “Go to college to learn how to farm?” Thirty years later that family had bought up all the farmland in the county. They bought my grand mother’s farm she had been born on when she died. Who had the last laugh

    Problem was, he didn’t learn “how to farm”, he learned how to run a business. (yes, to the extent that one can learn such a thing by books rather than experience. To be successful requires some luck, some natural ability, some experience, and some teaching… You probably want at least 3 of those to be successful).

    I worked for a college farm econ department in the 80s, when all the small family farms were fading fast (the only small farms that remain supply to a niche market, such as ginseng, or organic produce, etc.)

    One of the real problems was most of the small farmers worked via “shoebox accounting” — they plopped all their money into a shoebox, paid bills out of the shoebox, put cash received for production into the shoebox — and had very very few ideas if they were actually making money or not, much less if the crops they were growing were making any money.

    And of course, “Oh noes, problems!!” made for cheap gummint loans, which helped zero when the real problem was the general unprofitability of an improperly managed farm business. Margins on ag products had become too small — most crops made $300 or less an acre (corn made $600, tobacco $2000 — and yes, as tobacco use was curtailed by lawsuits, etc., there was “a need” to bail out tobacco farmers, of course).

    Oh, and we wrote software to automate certain forms banks tried to use to validate the cost-effectiveness of loans being given to farmers — i.e., see if the farm was likely in trouble loans would not fix.

    But no no no no — hue and cry!! — that would deny loans to farmers who neeeeeeeeded them to stay afloat!!!

    So, rather than being forced to sell when they actually still OWNED anything, it was foreclosed on by the banks 5y later, after they’d run it completely into the ground.

    MEANWHILE, Scotty Pippin becomes a “farmer” with extensive ag properties…. :-S

    Yes, the basketball player.

    And THAT is how your family bought up all the farmland in the county, and became agricultural land barons.

    Because you need to run the farm as a business, with careful attention to expenses, sunk costs, cash flow problems, and return on investment. Knowing how to grow plants and animals is/was only PART of the job in the last half-century and more.

  20. }}} John Snow proved cholera was from water wells.

    But… but… but…
    ‘You know nothing, John Snow!!”

    :-P

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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