Jan 9, 2013   //   by Daniel Cordova   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on What is a Rooter?

We have often been asked the question “What exactly is a ‘rooter’?”  The name ‘rooter’ has been popularized by the various big name plumbing companies, but not many people know what it really is.  Do you know?

Well, simply put, rooter is a generic name given to a machine that is used for drain cleaningOften this machine is also referred to as a plumbers snake or a drain cable.

Now for a bit of history about the rooter, the gentleman who invented the rooter machine did so with the intentions of being able to clear clogged drains that were blocked from tree roots which stopped the drains from functioning properly.  This gentleman’s name was Samuel L. Blanc.  He reportedly developed and used the first rooter back in 1933.  Of course the first rooter was not as technologically advanced as those that we, as professional plumbers, use today, but the concept is still the same.  The first rooter built by Blanc was assembled from a washing machine motor, roller skate wheels, and a steel cable to rotate the blades.  Prior to this invention though, if there was a clogged pipe or toilet in your home, a plumber would have to dig up the whole yard to find the problem.  So much has changed since then!

Furthermore, the commonly known “roto-rooter” name was coined by Samuel’s wife, Lettie.  Located on Euclid Avenue in Des Moines, the home where Samuel & Lettie lived and where this sewer cleaning machine was actually invented still exists today! It was originally built as a school house in 1873, but in about 1922, Samuel purchased the building and converted it to a home for his family.  It remains a private residence today.

Well, now you know what a rooter is and where it came from.  Hopefully your next run on jeopardy will be a win!  Thanks for reading through!


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