History of Roto-Rooter

History of Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Drain Service

plumbing history

Roto-Rooter is a plumbing and drain service company based in the US. The company specializes in providing commercial and residential drain, sewer and plumbing repair services. This company was started back in 1935. At the time, the company specialized in the clearing of obstructions and tree roots from sewers. Today, the company has numerous drain and sewer service technicians and plumbing experts who offer their services in the US and Canada.


Samuel Oscar Blanc is the mastermind being the Roto-Rooter. The idea came to him in the 1920s. He was very disturbed by a clogged drain in his son’s apartment that he decided to come up with a solution for the problem. In 1933, he created a sewer cleaning machine using a motor from a washing machine, a 3/8″ steel cable and some wheels he got from a child’s red wagon. The cable was used for the purpose of rotating very sharp blades which cut through tree roots getting them out of the sewer. The machine basically replaced the need to dig through sewers manually.

In the mid-1930s he began selling his machine at $250 and even started a business around the brand which was known as Roto-Rooter Corporation. This created a lot of employment opportunities for a lot of people and made a huge difference for many families during the great depression. This is because during this time it wasn’t a requirement for people to have a license to provide plumbing services. For this reason, anyone who was able to operate the Roto-Rooter was able to provide plumbing services and earn an income. A good number of people also started their own Roto-Rooter businesses in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains. The Roto-Rooter machine completely changed how people cleaned their sewers. With this machine, a lot of people stopped digging through their sewers to unclog them. They relied on the expertise of the Roto-Rooter to get rid of all kinds of sewer obstructions.

In 1980, Samuel Blanc sold his company to Chemed Corporation based in Cincinnati. The corporation bought all Roto-rooter independent franchises and operated them under the main headquarters. The corporation amassed a lot of success after this. However, in 1984 and 1985, they sold some of their holdings dropping their stake to 60%.
In the 1980s some of the franchises began providing plumbing repair services for commercial and residential clients. This was a great move for the company because it generated a lot of profit. Today, half the business provides plumbing services and the other half deals in the provision of drain and sewer services. Currently, the company has over 600 locations throughout North America. They serve about 90% of the population in America and 40% of the population in Canada.

Today, Roto-Rooter is the largest plumbing service provider in Canada and in the US. In 2015, the company celebrate its 80th anniversary and has since then, generated a lot of success. They have franchise companies in South Africa, Brazil, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Canada and they are constantly being featured in TV shows and movies. Roto-Rooter is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Written By: GodsChild