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Insulators/Insulation Workers

History

Humans have used various types of insulation since the beginning of civilization—from animal skins and wool to keep themselves warm to the insulating materials (straw, mud, wood, and stone) in their homes. The ancient Romans and Greeks discovered asbestos, which was used to provide protection against heat and fire. It was also woven into cloth for use in clothing. (Although the Greeks recognized the negative health effects caused by asbestos, they and other later civilizations continued to use this naturally occurring mineral for insulation and clothing. The use of asbestos is now banned in the U.S., and insulation workers receive special training to remove it from old buildings.) 

The Industrial Revolution fueled the need for insulation workers. In early manufacturing plants, heat was often excessive because of poorly insulated steam pipes. This caused difficult working conditions and a loss of productivity and efficiency in operations. With the development of the electric refrigeration systems on the one hand, and the tremendous expansion of the use of piped heat on the other, the demand for insulation workers grew quickly.