Queens garbage service finds vintage sealing kit for lead pipes
This is a vintage sealing kit that allowed for lead to seal pipes and keep them from leaking. As you can see in the photos, I found a piece of raw lead, which would have been melted in the rusted pot over a burner or open flame. The ladle was then used to scoop up the piping hot lead and then poured into the plumbing joints to seal the pipes.
Pipes are no longer made from lead — now they’re made of all sorts of materials, like steel, iron, various metals, ceramics and more — but for a long time, wood and lead were the only two materials that composed pipes.
Although lead is still used in old domestic and other water distribution systems, and it’s the favored material to use for water pipes because of its malleability, it’s no longer allowed to be used in many residential buildings because of its high levels of toxicity.
Up until several years ago, lead poisoning was rampant across the United States, affecting one in six children nationwide. Lead pipes were used all the time during the Roman era, but surprisingly, the Romans were rarely poisoned because of the extremely high levels of calcium in the water. The calcium allowed for a thick layer of plaque that separated the lead from ever touching the water.
Fun fact: “Plumbing” is the Latin word for “lead.”
Overall, this was another great find on a rubbish removal job. It’s something I was missing from my antique collection, so I was excited to take it home to display in my garage.
What types of antiques have you found lately? Let us know in the comments.