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[Yak] Leaded food & drink equipment


G’day - here I go again! many of the old Romans stored and
brewed their wine in lead cisterns and containers. It has been
suggested many times that this was the reason why so many of the
Roman Emperors and nobles were somewhat insane - especially
Caligula. You see, there are many organic acids in wine, one
being acetic acid. This reacts with lead to produce very soluble
lead acetate, hence, nutcase Emperors. When I lived in
Britain, most of the houses were plumbed - (literally, for
plumbum is the old name for lead) with lead water pipes. Now
don’t jump to conclusions, you Yanks! You see, nearly all water
contains carbonic acid, which reacts with lead to produce lead
carbonate and this quickly coats the insides of the pipes and
inhibits further reactions. Even so, the AUTHORITIES bless
their hearts, didn’t like the idea of the taxpayers having the
potential to go nuts, so they decreed that we must tear out the
lead pipes and replace them with pipes of shining copper. Which
we did at great expense. NZ had copper pipes too when we
arrived in '57 and we thought that was OK Until some of us
found greenish stains where the shower, the taps and the toilet
water ran. Surely this couldn’t be copper? Surely the copper
pipes too would become coated with inhibiting copper carbonate?
Indeed they did. Only it seems to be slightly soluble. So we
tore out our copper pipes and installed lovely plastic polythene
pipes. Once more our showers and basins are pristine - well
their original colour. Oh, except for the hot water runs. They
are pale blue-green again. They forgot to tell us to remove our
hot water tanks of shining copper! So in my house, we don’t
drink the hot water. We have to wait for the cold water to heat
in the plastic kettle. By the way, I was born in a London pub,
and I well remember that in those very far off days they served
spirits from glazed ceramic barrels (??) in the Spirit Room
upstairs, via pipes of pure tin, down to the bars. I know; I
had tin soldiers moulded for me by my older brothers from some
of the melted down spirit pipes. And far harder than lead
soldiers they were too. Cheers,

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At sunny Nelson NZ