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Lady Plumber Began at Age 2

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By Louise Daniels

When you’ve been doing something since you
were two years old, you’ve been at it for quite a
while, even if you haven’t turned 30.

That’s the way with Lillian Jacobs. She’s been
a plumber as far back as she can remember, and
maybe farther.

As well as anyone around seems to know she is
the only lady plumber in the country master
plumber, that is. And she unplugged her first
stopped-up pipe before her third birthday party.

IT DIDN’T matter that she didn’t have a
license because only one person knew about it at
the time. An aunt was visiting her family, the
W.J. Baumbach. Lillian and her aunt were
home alone one day when the shower drain
acted up Quick as a wink the toddler found the
“plumber’s friend” and fixed the clogged pipe
good as new.

“I’ve been at it ever since, “Mrs. George W.
Jacobs, who is the same Lillian a few years later,
said the other day as she bounced a cherubic
three-month-old daughter on her knee in her
home at 4839 Arlington Blvd. The daughter,
incidentally, isn’t even an apprentice

Lillian Baumbach Jacobs’ career started
logically enough because her cousins and uncles
and father-he owns the W.J. Baumbach
plumbing firm--all are plumbers and she heard
lots of plumber talk around the house.

HER FATHER and Lillian have always been
great pals. She was his small shadow wherever
he went in the early days. At first as an observer
- where her nuisance value must have been
considerable-she went on jobs with him. Later
she served her formal apprenticeship, then
moved on to journey-man and later passed her
written examination and became a master

From the very first Lillian was looking far
ahead, even beyond today. In case there ever
was need for it she wanted to be able to step into
her father’s boots and head the Baumbach firm.
This she could only do if she had a master
plumber’s license.

When she began, she said, few people guessed
that she was a girl. “I always dressed like a boy
with overalls and my hair tucked under a cap,”
she explained. Looking at her today it’s hard to
think that even the distraught owner of a
gushing pipe could have been so deceived. She
is petite, feminine and extremely pretty.

THE WORST trial in a plumber’s life, Mrs.
Jacobs remembered is the customer who calls in
the middle of the night. It’s usually a leaky
faucet that has gotten on someone’s nerves.
Lillian Jacobs is still amused by the woman who
phoned her one day and said that her diamond
ring had fallen down the washstand drain. Mrs.
Jacobs gave her full instructions about not
running the water until she could get there.
“Oh”, the customer explained, “it happened six
months ago.”

Lillian Jacobs hasn’t been going out on
plumbing jobs for several years now. She
spends her time working in the office of the
firm. For a while she was the buyer for all their
construction jobs. “It is the office work that
interests me most,” she said, “but I had to learn
the business from the ground up.”

George Jacobs, her husband, attended Virginia
Military Institute and William and Mary
College. He is an auto body repair man and
never has been a plumber. Wendy Joy is their
4-year-old daughter and Lydia Anne is the baby.
When Lillian Jacobs isn’t caring for her family
or working in the office of her father’s firm she
is apt to be sewing or knitting. She likes hand
work but prefers big work like slip covers.
Maybe it reminds her of the old days when
things had to be cut to fit too-only not in glazed

When something goes wrong with the plumbing
in their home what does Lillian Baumbach
Jacobs, master plumber, do? Why, she wrings
her hands and phones for a plumber, of course!

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