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Lillian Baumbach: The Pretty Plumber

Who Was the First Woman Plumber?

When most people are asked if they know a plumber who is a woman, the answer will be no. The Department of Labor estimates that women make up around 2% of the plumbing industry, and many of them are in ownership or office support roles. Most people are convinced that plumbing isn’t a woman’s job, but the facts are that historically, women have excelled in the industry. 

The career opportunities for women in the plumbing industry are exploding, and women would do well to take advantage of this moment in the job market. Take a moment to learn about women in the plumbing industry in celebration of Women’s History Month with these plumbers in Lancaster. 

The Road to Becoming the First Woman Master Plumber

woman Lillian Baumbach was just 21 when she passed her test to become the first female master plumber in 1951. The road to becoming a plumber wasn’t any different for her than for her male counterparts. She still had to complete years of on-the-job training as an apprentice and journeyman before she was allowed to test. 

Lillian took a liking to plumbing at a very early age. Her father owned a local plumbing company, and at the age of nine, she began to accompany him to jobs. Plumbing at the time was tiring work. All of the piping was made of heavy metal and had to be installed using heavy tools. But Lillian just tucked her hair into her cap and went to work like everyone else on the job site. 

The Army’s Favorite Pen Pal

letters After she passed her master’s exam, news about “The Pretty Plumber” spread quickly. With the Korean War underway, GIs on the front line heard about her and wrote to learn more about her. She corresponded regularly with 250 American soldiers stationed around the world. She included photos of herself in the letters on the job in coveralls and holding a pipe wrench. One company even voted her as their pin-up girl. 

With all of the attention she was getting, a local mechanic decided to make his move. He proposed to her that year, and they were married shortly after. She continued to work at her father’s company and take care of the plumbing around the house. 

The Legacy of Women in Plumbing

The industry has changed a lot over the years and for the better. When the glass ceiling was shattered back in 1951, plumbing was physically demanding work. Nowadays, plumbing is a much less labor-intensive job since most piping is done with lightweight plastics. This should put any woman’s mind at ease if they are intimidated by the supposed heavy lifting. 

The truth is there are no real reasons why women wouldn’t thrive in the modern plumbing industry. Currently, there are hundreds of women nationwide that have taken that step. Becoming a master plumber can give women the promise of a rewarding career with steady pay or provide them with the opportunity to have the flexibility of running their own business. 

About Joe’s Drain Cleaning, LLC

Joe’s Drain Cleaning, LLC provides residential and commercial plumbing services to Lancaster. They have an A+ rating with the BBB. Their upfront pricing and financing options make it easy on homeowners’ budgets. Call Joe’s Drain Cleaning, LLC today for professional plumbing services in Lancaster, OH.