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Moving back as far as the Roman times, in ancient Rome Man has started using stone to cover drain covers.
The layman term for drain cover (grate) is http://www.kurdnetwork.com/event/17605/what-is-a-french-drain/ . Say "manhole cover" and images of spies/heros using the underground sewage system popping out of manhole cover in Hollywood films appear.
Historically from the time that Man invented the sewage system since the Roman Times to drain water and urban waste away for sanitation purposes, manhole covers (drain covers or grates as we prefer to call them) have already been in