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Moving back as far as the Roman times, in ancient Rome Man has started using stone to cover up drain covers.
http://wiki.myword.ru/index.php?title=Worlds-first-reinforced-decorative-stone-grating-Incorporating-the-beauty-of-stone-without-compromising-load-bearing-strength-the-marriage-of-aesthetics-and-performance-remained-unchallenged-in-the-market-y for drain cover (grate) is manhole cover. Say "manhole cover" and pictures of spies/heros using the underground sewage system popping out of manhole cover in Hollywood films appear.
Historically since that time Man invented the sew