ECA Celebrates Women’s History Month!
This month, schools, businesses, and professional organizations have been celebrating women’s history month. Here at Emerald Coast Answerphone, we thought we’d pause for a moment to learn the history of women who have contributed to some of the businesses which make up our clientele. We serve a variety of small businesses, from medical offices to stores to service-oriented organizations to air conditioning & heating companies.
But when we started to investigate, we found the history of women to be especially interesting in one of the industries in which we have many clients: plumbing! So today we celebrate women’s history by telling their story.Since early civilization, it has been the mission of plumbers to provide clean, affordable, convenient water to humanity, keeping them both hydrated and healthy. Early plumbing, which dates back to 2500 BCE, was of course crude and coarse, but water running from a pump well through a clay pipe to a home was a genius invention which saved people time and labor in carrying essential water back and forth for cleaning and cooking. History does not say who first thought to do this, but given that the reason was for cooking and cleaning, chances are the innovation came from a woman or for love of a woman! Chances are, of course, that plumbing has always been a male dominated field, probably because the physical labor involved—digging, carrying large pipes—was more suited to the physique of men.
In Ancient Rome, plumbing took new directions. Public baths were fed by sewer and aqueduct systems, invented by plumbers, who also learned ways to heat and cool the water to make bathing more comfortable. During the Dark Ages in Europe, when cities were crowded, plumbing was at its low point—without the invention of water toilets and holding tanks, sewers simply led to the same rivers where people drank and bathed.
The lack of sanitation, the rampant run of the Bubonic Plague, made living wretched and dying miserable.Happily, a woman saw a better way. That woman was no less that Queen Elizabeth I, who was very hygienically-minded. Up until her reign, a royal toilet consisted of a private room with a hole, out-house style. Waste fell from the hole to the next floor, where there was another hole, to the next, and so on. Twice a year, servants went to the basement and mucked out the mess. Queen Elizabeth asked for another way, and her godson, Sir John Harrington (he got the “Sir” as he was knighted for his invention) invented the first English toilet. This was largely ridiculed and ignored for 200 years, until the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria was not amused by crudities, and her reign brought the world the first flushable water closet.
In 1919 in the United States, it was the campaigning of the wives of the Master Plumber’s Association which lobbied for sanitation reforms in the country. During World War II, women learned this important trade, taking up plumbing and other important skills while men were off at war. According to the Smithsonian, Lillian Baumbauch, the first female Master Plumber, was even a pen pal and a pin up girl to troops overseas! And overseas, Irena Sendler used her plumbing skills to save countless children. She convinced the Nazis that it was in the interest of the health of the nation to let her plumb in the Jewish ghettos of Germany. In addition to keeping sewers running and water fresh, Irena smuggled hundreds of children out of the ghettos in toolboxes and potato sacks. Most of these plumbing women returned to the home after the war, not venturing out again until the Women’s Movement of the 1960s and 70s. But today, female-owned and operated plumbing businesses have opened up all over the world.
Emerald Coast Answerphone wants to make certain that the women in your company continue to work with innovation, courage, and commitment.
Let us help you manage your work loads effectively and efficiently so that you can go about the business of making history. Remember, the first 28 days of our services are free-so give us a call!