The History of Industrial Pipe and Steel

September 25, 2013 in Pipe by

Industrial Steel PipeIndustrial pipe and steel is so ingrained in today’s world, that it’s hard to imagine we ever lived without it. It’s found underground, transporting water and gas to our homes, used for refrigeration and heat transfer, and integral to the oil and gas industries. Its strength and durability has made it an important part of our daily lives, but its evolution has been a long way coming.

The use of piping traces back thousands of years, and clearly it didn’t begin as the industrial pipe and steel we know today. It began fairly crudely, with reed pipes used by ancient cultures to divert water from rivers and streams into fields, helping grow crops. Eventually, the Romans would take this system and improve on it with their infamous aqueduct system, which used lead and ceramic piping to carry drinking water into the Rome, and provide fresh water to public baths, fountains and private households. It also carried waste out of the city, using a complex sewage system to help keep Rome clean. To this day, the aqueducts remain a modern marvel of engineering, and a select few are still in partial use. But they certainly weren’t without fault, and more improvements to piping systems would carry it to the state we know in modern times. 

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the English began experimenting with hollowed out logs to transport water, wrapping iron bands around them to increase strength, and sealing joints with animal fat to prevent leaking. They also began using valves to help control the flow of water.

Steel pipe began to gain ground in the 1800’s, when William Murdoch began experimenting with various coal burning lamp systems, in an effort to to replace London’s current oil-and-tallow-produced light. As his numerous inventions grew and gas-powered lighting expanded throughout the city, a need was called forward for piping systems. Soon, inventors were taking note, producing metal tubes and various industrial steel pipe sizes to meet this need.

In the mid 1800’s ironworkers were beginning to experiment with various methods for making these now-useful tubes, and by the turn of the century, many had developed patents for creating even, seamless industrial pipe and steel.

Today there’s a need for various industrial steel pipe sizes, and countless applications in general for industrial pipe and steel. Pipes, fittings flanges, valves and tubings are part of numerous projects, and methods for producing efficient, sturdy products has been refined, polished, improved and perfected. Vendors like St. Louis Pipe & Supply have become proficient in providing practical, affordable solutions, and can ship products all over the United States–and the world–bringing pipe a long way from it’s days of reed and wood.

Want to know more about industrial pipe and steel for your next project? St. Louis Pipe & Supply has been leading the industry for over 20 years, and we’re happy to help with any project you may be working on. Contact us today and learn how we can help fulfill your needs on time and on budget.

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