The author of the Maison Rustique warns his readers against the use of lead pipes: the dangers of lead poisoning had presumably been noted. As with baths, the piping of water to fountains, whence it was distributed by hand to the houses, was not as convenient as the private water supply that began to trickle in, all too literally, in the seventeenth century. But to offset this, it satisfied two important functions that tended to disappear with the reign of greater mechanical efficiency – art, in the shape of the handsome fountains that decorated the squares and public places of the medieval city, and sociability, the occasion for meeting and gossiping as people waited their turn around the village pump. The pump, no less than the taproom, served as local newspaper for the quarter. (Mumford 1938:48)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1938. The Culture of Cities. San Diego: Harvest/HBJ.