from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The plumber". From: What do you want to be? Pictures from the craftsman's life (around 1880)

Plumbing , plumber , plumbers and Tinsmiths are professional designations for artisans , the sheets edit and process into components in construction or merchandise. In large parts of southern Germany (especially in Old Bavaria ), in Switzerland and Austria , Spengler is the official name for this craft.

The profession is a classic male domain . In 2010, the proportion of women in training and professional practice in the DACH countries was no more than 2.3 percent.

The plumber is often referred to colloquially as the gas and water plumber , as this used to be the same profession. Today the official designation of this profession in Germany is a plant mechanic for sanitary, heating and air conditioning technology . The rule of thumb is: Everything that is in front of the tapping point is processed by the installer .

Etymology and names

A plumber at work (1949)

The term plumber was probably redesigned from the older Klemperer , Klamperer , Upper German Klampfer , Klampferer . Clamping means “ hammering sheet metal ”, cleating (from mouth . Clinging ) means “ firmly connecting (using a folding technique )”.

The term Spengler goes back to one of the original activities of these craftsmen , the production of clasps and fittings .

The machining and processing of metals has a long tradition in the plumbing trade . The job titles indicate the metalworking activities:

The terms plumbers and Spengler have (through various linguistic detours) the old names tinsmith and Spangemacher replaced.
Flaschner used to make field and powder flasks and other vesselsfrom metal, while
Blechner with sheet metal working - as now.

Similar terms can be found in the European-speaking countries , for example ferblantier , zingueur or couvreur in France, sheet metal worker in the English-speaking area, plåtslagare in Sweden and blikkenslager (occasionally also kobber- og blikkenslager ) in Norway. All names include the term “sheet metal”, in French zingueur even the material “zinc”.

Plumbers are named differently from region to region:

  • Plumber in most of northern and central Germany .
  • Spengler in large parts of southern Germany, Hesse, Switzerland, Austria and South Tyrol.
  • Flaschner in parts of Baden-Württemberg and Franconia; also in the southern Vogtland and southern Westerzgebirge as well as in northern Bavaria.
  • Rarely, sheet metal bat , Tinsmiths or tinsmith .
  • The body plumber belongs to the motor vehicle trade and restores sheet metal damage to vehicle bodies .

job profile

Areas of activity

A plumber's area of ​​activity: cladding roofs with copper sheet (tower dome of the Dresden residential palace )

The plumbing includes the processing of thin sheet made of iron or non-ferrous metals (mostly zinc , copper , aluminum , coated sheet steel and lead ) for the production of roof coverings , roof drainage and ventilation systems , previously also bottles and other containers and other household goods.

The plumber's job is mainly to clad roof surfaces, facades and chimneys with metal sheets and to assemble rain gutters. He manufactures the required components by hand or by machine. Further tasks are the creation and assembly of fitting parts made of metal profiles, sheet metal and plastics for pipes, ducts and ventilation technology devices, as well as the maintenance and repair of plumbing products.

A transition form to handicrafts is ornamental plumbing or gallantry plumbing , which produces tinny ornamental decorations for use in construction (such as weather cocks and gable tips).

In Germany, plumbers, construction plumbers and insulation plumbers are considered to be a shortage occupation for skilled workers and are on the positive list for foreign skilled workers from non-EU countries.


In basic training skills such as basic activities are / soldering , brazing , crimping , tails , folding , edges , measuring , Technical Drawing , Specialized mathematics , materials science , etc. taught. The trainee should be able to design , assemble and repair sheet metal.

The entire training usually lasts three and a half years and is remunerated on average with the following graduation: year 1 with € 630, year 2 with € 641, year 3 with € 716 and the fourth year with € 753. In addition to direct career entry, there are further qualification options such as a master craftsman's degree, a technician's degree and various courses of study.


In Austria the profession is a teaching profession . Apprentices complete the three-year vocational training as a plumber with the final apprenticeship examination and can continue their training to become a master . Due to the relationship regulation, the training as a plumber is credited to parts of the apprenticeship time in other (related) apprenticeships; z. B. in the apprenticeship for body construction technology , installation technology or sun protection technology .

In contrast to men, women are considered to be heavy workers within the meaning of the Heavy Labor Ordinance and the related professional list. Employers have to report the existence of heavy work in women from the age of 35 (men from the age of 40) independently to the health insurance ( § 5 Heavy Labor Ordinance ).


In Switzerland this profession is called Bauspengler . The following training opportunities exist:

  1. Spengler EFZ ( Federal Certificate of Proficiency ): 3 years of training
  2. Spengler EBA ( Federal Professional Certificate ): 2 years of training

Tools and machines

Folding pliers

The optically and technically satisfactory sheet metal processing requires a large number of special tools.

Measuring and scribing tools

  • Scriber, angle scriber, zinc scribe, scribing template
  • Protractor
  • Stop bracket
  • Pointed compasses, arched compasses
  • Circumference tape measure
  • Mark

Tools for deburring, adjusting and cleaning sheet metal

  • (Sheet metal) deburrer
  • (Wire) brushes
  • (Hand) sinker
  • (Triangular) scraper, spoon scraper, hollow scraper
  • Lead reaming tools: set wood, pounding wood, banana and drift hammer to adjust lead sheet

Tools for special activities and auxiliary work

The Hauerbrücke is used by roofers to process roof slates on site and can be used by plumbers for adjustment work on small workpieces.

The pipe vise of installers used to fix pipes, approximately in the cutting of threads.

The filing clamp is used to fix small workpieces during fine adjustment work, similar to a small vice.

Nail irons or nail lifters are used to pull out fasteners and pry off sheet metal and the like. used.

To cut

Sheet metal is cut manually with sheet metal snips for straight cuts or cuts that are curved to the left or right. Special tin snips are called universal scissors, Berlin scissors, figure scissors, (figure) hole and round hole scissors, continuous scissors (Pelikan scissors), band iron scissors, profile scissors and roofing scissors. Soft and thin sheets can also be cut with multi-purpose scissors. The slitting shears are guided manually but driven electrically.

Complicated cutouts can be made with the manual or electric nibbler, which cuts fine strips from the sheet metal with a movable tongue. Even more precise cuts can be made with the electric (profile) nibbler, which has a cutting tooth that moves up and down. Curve cuts in thicker sheet metal can be made with the hand-held electric jigsaw .

Semi-stationary cutting devices with manual or electric drive are the roller or lever sheet metal shears, the (eccentric) plate shears, the (through-feed) guillotine shears and the (roof) gutter cutter.

Straight cuts in thick sheet metal are made in the stationary slitting and other electrically operated sheet metal snips. Thick material can also be cut with a reciprocating saw and metal circular saw , while soft ( composite ) material can also be cut with an electric hand-held circular saw, panel cutter (sword saw, trimming chain saw) and edge milling machine.

Disc cutters or circular cutters are used for circular cutouts. Larger bores are made with conical and step drills.


Hammers are used for direct processing of sheet metal or together with other hand tools:

  • Spengler hammer
  • Folding hammer
  • Pin hammer
  • Polishing hammer with spherical head
  • Finishing hammer
  • Tail hammer
  • Hammer
  • Soft hammer
    • Mallet
    • Soft-face hammer with plastic inserts
    • Aluminum hammer
    • Copper hammer
    • Adhesive hammer - filled with a plastic mass, is used for driving in decorative strips u. used

Drifting hammers have a domed or spherical head and are used for “driving” - that is, for stretching the sheet metal - as is necessary for the production of bowls, bowls, pots and hemispheres.

Bending and folding

Long-nosed pliers , round pliers and flat pliers are used for fine detail work .

Plumber pliers with larger working widths are the deck pliers and a variety of folding pliers : straight, cranked, angled, corner folding pliers, uni folding pliers

Special work is carried out with pipe pulling pliers, seam opening pliers and bead biting pliers.

Bending tools for straight folds and edges of greater length are:

  • Eaves closers, angle rebate closers
  • Eaves edging - large working width
  • Two-hand edger
  • Double folder
  • Pusher
  • Seam locker

Various irons and chisels are used to process thicker sheet metal and to produce curved and cambered shapes:

  • Pinch bar
  • Shell iron, corner shell iron
  • Double folding iron
  • Rebate chisels

For use with the (standard) anvil :

  • Pen anvil
  • Lifting iron
  • Flanging iron
  • Plumber fist
  • Beading stick, tail stick (tail horn), locking hook, funnel locking hook

Bending devices are available with manual or electric drive. Smaller devices as well as rounded bending jaws are clamped in a vice or mounted on tables or stands.

  • (Hand) swivel bending machine, building folding machine, rounding machine, beading machine
  • Bead device
  • Angle bending machine,
  • Hand bending device

Hands-free work often takes place on the anvil and the vice (with protective jaws).

Soft lead sheets can also be adjusted on site with knocking wood , set wood and drifting hammer .

Gutters are adjusted with gutter straightening pliers, gutter leveling jacks, gutter bending pliers (for bending the gutter brackets) and gutter plugs.

Connection technology

With drills , punch pliers, revolver punch pliers and punches, holes are prepared for inserting rivets . Rivet connections are made with setting tools such as setting head, setting iron, hand riveting pliers, blind riveting pliers or pistol or scissor blind riveting pliers.

Thin sheet metal can be connected with the (profile) connecting pliers, which are widely used in drywall construction, without additional fasteners . Slightly thicker sheets are connected with the joining press. In each case, a strip is punched from two sheets of metal lying one on top of the other and interlocked with one another in a form-fitting manner.

Flat, pointed or angled grip pliers are used to fix the sheet metal pieces during soldering and welding .

For soldering (automatic) are soldering iron or Weichlötgarnitur, solder , flux , and optionally heat protection mats used.

Thin sheets of metal can be attached to wood, tough plastics and similar soft materials with a stapler or stapler and hammer tacker .

Sheets can also be glued for large-area connections .

See also


  • Klaus Kramer: Plumber - a craft with a history . Schramberg 1998, ISBN 3-9805874-2-8 .
  • Plumber Magazine - Expertise in metal work on roofs and facades . Publishing company Rudolf Müller, ISSN  1863-4435 .
  • Klaus Siepenkort: Metalwork on the roof and facade Plan correctly. Run safely . Verlagsges. Müller, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-481-01651-4 .
  • Manfred Haselbach: Baumetall plumber technology in building construction . Trade magazine for metal work on roofs and facades. TFV Technischer Fachverlag, ISSN  0179-2563 .
  • Herbert Schlenker: The building plumbing expertise . 9th edition. Gentner, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-87247-518-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Plumber  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations






Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günter Bergmann: Small Saxon dictionary. Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig 1989.
  2. Description of the profession of plumber at BERUFENET of the German Federal Employment Agency
  3. Positive list of shortage occupations: skilled workers , accessed on August 9, 2015
  4. Training to become a plumber. Retrieved November 19, 2017 .
  5. Heavy Labor Ordinance, Federal Law Gazette II No. 104/2006. RIS , January 1, 2007, accessed October 14, 2011 .
  6. Heavy work complete list. Austrian Social Insurance , November 2014, accessed on December 4, 2015 .
  7. Laying instructions for chimney connections with lead sheets for the roofer and plumber trade - laying techniques for chimneys, dormer and wall connections , Röhr + Stolberg GmbH, Krefeld
  8. ^ Carl Hartmann: Popular handbook of general and special technology, or the rational practice of the chemical and mechanical industry, according to the latest views and inventions, in the generally comprehensible lectures - Volume 1 , p. 454, Amelang Verlag, 1841