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Egyptian Plumbing

The plumbing services available to Sydney residents today are some of the best in the modern world. But the relative quality of Sydney plumbers may well be overshadowed and outdone by some of the world’s first plumbers in Ancient Egypt. People know that the ancient Egyptians built world wonders like the pyramids and the Sphinx, but were you aware of their ingenuity when it came to using water in a desert country?

Pipe Systems: The main source of water for the Egyptians was the Nile River. Archaeologists have found evidence of complex systems of pipes, first made from clay and then copper, to move water from the Nile to water crops in fields and to bring running water to homes. This knowledge and skill with pipes is probably most impressive when you find out that the Egyptians even had functioning bathrooms deep inside the pyramids.

Coppersmithing: The ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to use copper in pipe systems. In the beginning, the Egyptians relied on clay pipes mixed with straw, and they did do the job. They then went onto experiment with copper alloys and made pipes and joints out of copper to water their fields of crops. Copper is, of course, a common material in plumbing today.Coppersmithing

Irrigation: As previously mentioned, one of the main things the Egyptians used plumbing for was to water their crops. The system of pipes that they designed took advantage of the regular flooding of the Nile. They realised that their plumbing constructions could move flood waters about. They designed large basins to grow crops, and built them close to the riverbank. All they had to do was have sluices ready for when the flood came and they would trap the water in the basins for 40 to 60 days. It would then be drained away when the crops were at the right point in their growing cycle. The process would be repeated at the next flooding of the Nile.Irrigation

Plumbers still use copper piping to this day, and as as we become more conscious of saving  water, irrigation is an industry to be explored and evolved. The ancient Egyptians started us on these plumbing roads.

If you’re in Sydney and looking for plumbing services, call G.F. James Plumbing on (02) 9649 1099, or go online to

Geoff James
Written By:

Geoff grew up in Berala near Lidcombe in Sydney and attended Birrong Boys High School where he finished his Year 10 school certificate. Geoff was encouraged by his uncle to consider plumbing as he had done a bit of plumbing work on weekends during his school years. DJ Childs Plumbing in Canterbury offered him a plumbing apprenticeship and he spent most of his time working on plumbing maintenance and new roofs on commercial sites. Geoff on Google+.