The History and Importance of Licensing

Creation of the Toilet and Sewer System

Humanity’s first known working toilet was said to have been owned by King Minos of Crete over 2,800 years ago. This invention was lost until one was recreated for Queen Elizabeth in 1594. The idea of the toilet was not yet ready for the world, so the invention was forgotten about for another 200 years.

The popularity of toilets caught on again with the establishment of America. Outhouses became common and the idea of putting a toilet inside of a home was considered. The first hotel to have indoor plumbing was constructed by Isaiah Rogers in 1829 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Rogers continued to impress the public with his skills by building an even larger hotel with indoor plumbing. He had even engineered it so that some of the bathrooms were on the upper levels. He worked among the likes of Solomon Willard, who had created the first system of central heating in America. Architectural breakthroughs were taking off with these two.

The first sewer systems were crafted using wooden pipes made from logs and depended on gravity to help water flow. As one can guess, this system was not very efficient. Stagnation of water was common and with that came infestation of insects and disease. 

Cast iron pipes began to be used in the early 1800s. Philadelphia was the first American city to use this type of material in its waterways. Cast iron pipes transitioned into plain or tin-lined lead pipes, then on all the way to stainless steel. This development lead people to want bathrooms that were more and more lavish.

Regulations and Public Health Codes

With all of these creations came the need for regulations. After the Civil War, it was discovered that water played a large part in the transportation of diseases. Further research and studies were conducted that showed how important it was to maintain the quality of American waterways. 

The world placed the English Public Health Code of 1848 the standard. The New York Metropolitan Board of Health followed. The board developed the Metropolitan Health Law that was known to be the most expansive health legislation ever created. 

Plumbing became a booming field of work. New trade associations were formed to keep up with the plumbing demand and keep the quality of the industry in check. America’s first associations include the National Association of PHCC, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and the American Society of Sanitary Engineering

History of Trades and Unions in America

In the 1920’s industrialization began to take over America and by the 1930’s 20 percent of the labor force was in manufacturing even with the lack of work from the Great Depression. Industrialization allowed workers with limited skills to leverage their experience on higher paying assembly lines which caused a boom in the trade industry. In 1938 the Congress of Industrial Organizations was established and started the rise of unions within the industrial economy. Most unions started requiring tradesmen to be licensed through their organizations to maintain fair working conditions. This was before trade school and exams became a big initiative. 

By the 1970’s the trade industry was becoming more competitive and less reputable which caused a spiral in the economy and the boom of trade schools. Trade schools began popping up all over the United States and around the country allowing an outlet for young adults to become certified in a reputable trades career.

Licensing School and Exams

As trade schools began popping up, the competitive nature of education began to rise. To this day anyone can start a trade school. In fact, many popular trade schools are for profit. It is important to do your research when applying to trade schools. Many schools are great but there are a few that may not have the student’s best interest at heart. Here is a good Forbes article to start your research. We also have some great information on trade school in our blog posts.

Trade schools and education companies began developing exams to require contractors and tradesmen to become licensed. The idea was the license would protect the worker and the customer. To this day many contractors and trades workers must be licensed in their field by state regulations.

Meeting the Skills Gap

In 2015 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 68% of high school students attend college. That means over 30% graduate with neither academic nor job skills. 

A few decades ago public schools provided opportunities for students to learn about careers in trades but today students barely know that these opportunities not only exist but are extremely under employed and therefore pay well (some positions more than an entry level job with a bachelor’s degree). The trade industry has had a skills gap for the last few years and still needs many jobs filled. The trades need to make a comeback and getting your license is the first step to a great and fulfilling career!

Advocate for Licensing is an advocate for the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical contractor to properly identify their licensed status for public awareness. Professional Contractors have the license or certification to work in homes and businesses. Without the proper certification and licensing to become a skilled trades professional, it compromises the integrity the trade industry. The contractors listed on the website are licensed or certified according to the codes and laws set forth by each governing state and/or entity. Licensed Contractors work in compliance with local and state codes set forth by their governing trade industry board. Get more information at or call 844-954-2367 today!