While visiting the Plumbing Museum, Watertown, Mass., this past week, Mechanical Hub learned about the museum’s newest, working rainwater harvesting exhibit coming soon. “We have a lot of local vo-tech students come through here and they definitely will be interested in the new display. This will be another educational opportunity offered by the Plumbing Museum,” says Linda Veiking, event coordinator.
Concurrently, the Plumbing Museum Board of Directors held its annual meeting to discuss new opportunities and projects, one of which is the water reclamationsystem display, which is in collaboration with the Artists for Humanity.
The Plumbing Museum opened in Worcester, MA in 1979. The Manoog family hosted the Plumbing Museum until 2008. Mr. Manoog’s father, Charles, began collecting antique commodes, claw-foot tubs, ornate sinks and other plumbing items beginning in the 1950s. A museum for these items was established by son Russell in 1979. In its Worcester location, the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum had hosted curious visitors.
In 2007, J.C. Cannistraro was presented with a unique opportunity. Through the company’s association with the Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors (PHCC) of Greater Boston, word had traveled that Russell and BJ Manoog, curators of the American Sanitary & Plumbing Museum in Worcester, were looking for someone to continue operation of the museum after their retirement.
The building that is now home to The Plumbing Museum was once the property of brothers Abraham and Edward Howard who supplied their thriving Watertown, Massachusetts ice business with ice, wood and coal from their Charles River storage yard and ice house. The brothers’ father, skilled merchant and Civil War veteran Frederick Howard, started in the ice trade in 1842. Following in their father’s footsteps, the brothers grew the business and it became the Metropolitan Ice Company around 1925. With progress in home heating and refrigeration the ice trade became obsolete. The property surrounding the ice house was sold, and industrial growth changed the landscape.
In 1984, J.C. Cannistraro, Inc., under the direction of John Cannistraro, Sr., purchased the ice house from the Jac-Pac Company, a frozen meat distributor, and relocated his company from a small garage on Pleasant Street in Watertown. During the next twenty years, numerous additions and developments were made resulting in the large complex that is now the J.C. Cannistraro, LLC corporate offices and prefabrication facility.