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Fifth-generation Augusta plumbing business still going strong

Plumbing business handed down for five generations

Sunday, March 11, 2012 4:06 PM
Last updated 8:16 PM
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Charles Brittingham’s plunger has rescued diamond rings, toys, fishing hooks, dentures and cellphones from the toilets of many homes.

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Charles Brittingham and his son, Clark, are the fourth and fifth generations of plumbers in their family. They hope to expand into heating and air conditioning.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Charles Brittingham and his son, Clark, are the fourth and fifth generations of plumbers in their family. They hope to expand into heating and air conditioning.

The owner of Brittingham Plumbing Co. at 1912 Central Ave. still works hands-on as a plumber after 30 years in the industry, along with several employees who assist him with residential and commercial clients.

“I like helping people out. Most of the time, when you leave somebody’s house, they’re happy. They’ve got hot water now or their leak is fixed. It’s a job that I enjoy doing,” Brittingham said.

Fewer young people are entering the trade as older plumbers retire, said his wife, Larissa, who works part-time doing marketing and advertising.

“It’s definitely not something that people aspire to go to school to become anymore,” she said. “Especially with code changes, plumbing standards and the more environmentally focused the country is becoming, we’re going to need more trained plumbing professionals.”

Brittingham comes from a long line of plumbers. His great-grandfather opened Tho­mas G. Brittingham Plumb­ing & Heating at 308 Ninth St. in 1901. He moved to Augusta in 1895 from Bal­timore to work on construction of the Bon Air Hotel.

Brittingham’s grandfather, Thomas H. Brittingham, studied mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech and opened H. Brittingham Plumbing and Heat­ing in the 1940s at 12th and Miller streets.

“Back then, the plumbers did a lot of the heating because there were radiators. Eventually, we’d like to get back into heating and air, too,”
Charles Brittingham said.

When Thomas H. Britting­ham retired, he divided his clientele and helped his sons, John Joseph and Herman Brittingham, and his son-in-law, Peter Menk, get started in the plumbing business.

Brittingham’s father, John Joseph, started Brittingham Plumbing in the early 1960s on Walden Drive. Brittingham continued the business with many of his father’s old customers in 1982, after working with the Plumbers and Pipe­fitters Union.

Today, Brittingham’s son, Clark, the fifth generation in the family business, is preparing to take the South Carolina master plumber exam so he can help his father expand into the state. Another son, Daniel, soon plans to attend school to learn about heating and air-conditioning, he said.

Clark Brittingham enjoys the variety of the job.

“It’s very interesting. You could be outside, you could be inside. You can be in a nice house, you can be in a nice business,” he said.

In the future, the business plans to expand and go completely digital with its
scheduling and customer invoices for plumbers on the road.

Sunday was World Plumb­ing Day, and Brittingham Plumbing hopes to raise awareness about the importance of plumbing with water drives and missionary work.

CHARLES BRITTINGHAM

TITLE: Owner of Brittingham Plumbing Co.

BORN: March 25, 1956, in Augusta

EDUCATION: Master of plumbing license

FAMILY: Wife, Larissa; children Clark, Daniel, Dalton, Natalie Jo and Drew; grandchild, Kallie Jo

CIVIC/EXTRACURRICULAR: St. Mary’s on the Hill, Knights of Columbus, Savannah Riverkeeper, Georgia Plumbers Trade Association, complimentary plumbing work for Habitat for Humanity and Golden Life Christian Center

HOBBIES: Water sports, biking

CLARK BRITTINGHAM

BORN: Dec. 21, 1982, in Augusta

TITLE: Technician at Brittingham Plumbing

EDUCATION: Working on master of plumbing license

FAMILY: Wife, Michelle; child, Kallie Jo

CIVIC/EXTRACURRICULAR: Warren Baptist Church

HOBBIES: Riding bikes, go-cart and car racing

Comments (6) Add comment
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Sweet son
10817
Points
Sweet son 03/11/12 - 08:29 pm
1
0
Plumbers creed: Hot on the

Plumbers creed: Hot on the left, cold on the right, payday is Friday and that "stuff" don't flow up hill. Good luck Brittinghams!!

daviddunagan
331
Points
daviddunagan 03/11/12 - 09:17 pm
1
0
Keep up the good work Bit.

Keep up the good work Bit. Glad to see you expanding.

obkad
222
Points
obkad 03/12/12 - 08:16 am
1
0
plumbers don't get the credit

plumbers don't get the credit they deserve. It's a tough business and making sure everything is installed rights takes a lot of talent and experience. Good plumbers are hard to come by..

augustadog
93
Points
augustadog 03/12/12 - 09:21 am
1
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Proud to see my first cousin,

Proud to see my first cousin, "Bit" doing well. He is a hard working, good family man! Best wishes in the future from your Lawrence Cuz!

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 03/12/12 - 09:32 am
0
0
Slow news day.
Unpublished

Slow news day.

mommytobe12
0
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mommytobe12 03/12/12 - 02:28 pm
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My husband Daniel Stewart

My husband Daniel Stewart also works for Brittingham Plumbing and he loves his job.. Plumbers do a lot of work, and they definitely do not get the recognition that they deserve!! Keep up the good work guys!!

LouLou
6
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LouLou 03/12/12 - 02:43 pm
0
0
I had 6 uncles that worked

I had 6 uncles that worked w/Brittingham Plumbing several years ago, always had high respect for Brittingham. Agree with mommytobe12,plumbers do alot of work and recognition is not what it should be. But that didn't stop them. It was like one big family working there. I know the ones that are passed on are smiling with these young ones carrying on the family business

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