Wednesday, February 20, 2013
An Amazing 1920s Invention: The Roto-Rooter
Anyway, I remember us trying to use a snake to unblock it, and not getting all that far (literally and figuratively). I think in the end we did the smart thing and called a professional plumber in to help us. Probably someone from Rotorooter- and were we ever glad to see them!
It was also in the 1920s that a clogged drain in his son's apartment gave a man named Samuel Oscar Blanc a brilliant idea. Samuel and his son Milton invented a machine with rotating blades that cleaned out clogged sewer drains. Sewers often get filled up with stubborn things like tree roots and the Blancs' machine was a super-powerful variation of the plumber's snake we were poking into our 1920s tub drain.
You can see the machine that Mrs. Blanc named the Roto-Rooter, in this wonderful photo (above right) from Wikimedia Commons - along with the elder Mr. Blanc. It features a washing machine motor, steel cables and roller skate wheels - isn't that ingenious? It is just the sort of thing we needed for our vintage Boston tub, no doubt about it.
Anyway, the Blancs sold their Roto-Rooters to individuals all through the 1930s, and gradually a lot of those folks started their own plumbing businesses. The earliest ads I found for the official Rotorooter company are from the late 1940s and I certainly remember them when I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s. I'll bet a lot of you, like me, remember the little Roto-Rooter jingle about troubles going down the drain - I always enjoyed it when it came on the radio or TV.
The company is still going strong, and ready to deal with all sorts of plumbing issues - whether you have a brand new house or, like us back in our Boston days, live in a vintage place with vintage plumbing.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; however, all the points and views are my own.