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Let's get nostalgic about plumbing

I can't help it. Every time I visit a commercial or residential restroom, or a commerical or residential mechanical room I want to know what is installed to make everything "tick." That's just how I roll these days, I guess. But you know what really blows my mind? My visits to the Plumbing Museum in Watertown, Mass. To compare what you see in today's plumbing installations compared to the days of yesteryear, it really is quite amazing. While the Museum itself is a non-profit organization of its own, it is proud to share the space with its clients and industry colleagues. If you live in the Northeast or are in or around Boston visiting, you should really make this one of your stops. You'll be glad you did.


The Plumbing Museum opened in Worcester, Mass. 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 from all over the world. The Manoogs wanted a family organization that would continue the stewardship of the museum.

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.


As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, we rely on our friends and visitors for support.  "The Tradesmen" is one way that you can contribute to our efforts and receive valuable perks.  Annual membership fees are only $50.00 and all proceeds benefit museum operations and programming.

Members Receive:

      -An official certificate and membership card

      -Unlimited admission to museum exhibits

      -A souvenir T-shirt

      -10% off all museum gift shop merchandise

      -Members-Only E-mail newsletter

      -An exclusive invitation to our annual "Tradesmen" gala

Companies can give to the museum via our Corporate Sponsorship program, the details of which, can be found on our website


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