PLUMBER, (from the French plombier, derived from the Latin phi/nion, lead), an artist who works in lead, and to is confided the pump-work, as well as the making and forming of' cisterns and reservoirs, large or small, water closets, &e., liar the purposes of domestic economy. The plumber does not use a great variety of working tools, because the ductility of the metal upon which he operates does not require them. They consist of an iron hammer, rather heavier than a carpenter's, and with a short thick handle; two or three wooden mullets, of different sizes; and a dressing and flatting tool. This last is of beech, about IS inches lung and ;2:1. inches square, planed smooth and flat on the under surfice, rounded on the upper, and one of its ends tapered ow round, as a handle. With this tool the plumber stretches out and flattens the sheet lead, or dresses it to the shape required, using first the flat side, then the round one, as occasion inay suit. The plumber has also occasion fur a jack and a trying plane, similar to those of the car penter (see PLANE), with which he reduces the edges of sheet-lead to a straight line, when the purposes to which it is to be applied require it. Ile should also be provided with a chalk-line, wound upon a roller, flu• marking out the lead into such breadths as he may want. Ills cutting-tools con sist of a variety of chisels and gouges, as well as knives ; the latter of which are used fbr cutting the sheet-lead into slips and pieces, after it has been marked out by the chalk-line. Files of different sizes are requisite for the plumber, in various operations. In soldering, ladles of three or four sizes, for melting the solder; and iron instruments, called grozing-irons, are used by the plumber. These grozing-irons are of several sizes, and commonly about inches in length, tapering at both ends, the handle-end being turned quite round, to allow of its being firmly held while in use. The other end is a bulb, of a spindle. shape, or sometimes spheri cal, of a size proportioned to the soldering intended to be executed. They are heated to redness, when wanted for use.
A plumber's measuring rule is two feet in length, divided into three equal parts of eight inches each. Two of its legs are of box-wood, and duodeeitnally divided ; the third leg consists of a piece of slow-tempered steel, attached to one of the box-legs, by a pivot, on which it turns, and falls, when not in use, into a groove cut in such kg for its recep tion. This steel leg will pass into places that the others
could not enter, and is also useful for occasionally removing the oxide, or any other extraneous matter, from the surface of his heated metal.
Scales and weights arc also necessary to the master plumber, as he cannot charge for anything till it has been weighed. Ile must also be supplied w ith centre-hits of all sizes, and a stock, to work them in, fbr the purpose of making perforations in lead or wood, through which he may want to insert pipes, &c. Ile also has occasional recourse to com passes, to strike circular pieces of lead, to line or cover figures of that shape. Plumbers charge their sheet-lead by the hundred-weight.
PLUMBE1tY, or PLUMBING, (from the Latin plumhum, lead), the art of casting and working in lead, and using it in building. As this metal is very easily fusible, it is east into figures of any kind, with great facility, by running it in proper moulds of clay, plaster, &c., but the chief articles in plumbery are sheets and pipes of lead ; which form the basis of the plumber's work.
Lead is obtained from the mines, and, from its being gene rally combined with sulphur, it has been denominated a sulphuret. After the ore has been taken from its bed, it is smelted, first being picked, in order to separate the unctuous and rich, or genuine ore, from the stony matrix and other impurities ; the picked ore is then nin.er h.:wipers. actuated by Machinery, and afterwards washed to carry off the remainder of the matrix, that could not be separated in picking. It is next put into a reverberatory furnace to be roasted, as the workmen call it, during is hich operation it is repeatedly stirred to facilitate the evaporation of the sulphur. When the surface begins to assume the appearance of a paste, it is covered with charcoal, and well shaken together : the fire is then increased, and the purified lead flows down on all sides into the basin of the furnace, whence it runs off into moulds prepared for its reception. The moulds are capable of receiving 1 5 III). of lead each; and tlitr contents, when cool, are called pigs in the commercial world.