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History of Soil Pipes

Cast iron is known for quiet operation. Studies done by the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute have shown that cast iron soil pipe and fittings, because of their dense molecular structure are up to 750 percent more effective in reducing plumbing noise than substitute materials.

Cast iron pipe and fittings are environmentally sensitive. Made from recycled scrap iron and steel, soil pipe and fittings represent a savings to our environment. Companies producing soil pipe and fittings are leaders in environmental control technology and have been energy conscious and ecologically aware for decades.

Engineers, contractors, and consumers have long appreciated many of the qualities of cast iron. Cast iron soil pipe systems have earned the reputation for being quiet, reliable, non-combustible, and highly durable. Today we are pleased to add environmentally friendly to the long list of advantages of cast iron soil pipe.

The early development of pipe systems was related to the growth of cities. As people began to concentrate within confined geographical areas, it became necessary to divert water from its natural course to provide for drinking, bathing, sanitation, and other needs. Ancient civilisations constructed aqueducts and tunnels, and manufactured pipe and tubing of clay, lead, bronze, and wood. All of these materials proved unsatisfactory because they were prone to deterioration and frequent breakdown. However, they filled a need and were used for hundreds of years until the introduction of cast iron as a pipe material. The earliest recorded use of cast iron pipe was at Langensalza, Germany, in about 1562, where it supplied water for a fountain. However, the first full-scale use of a cast iron pipe system for the distribution of water was installed in 1664 at the palace of Versailles in France. A cast iron main was constructed to carry water some 15 miles from Marly-on-Seine to the palace and surrounding area. The system is still functioning after more than 300 years of continual service. It represented a genuine pioneer effort because, at the time of installation, production costs on cast iron pipe were considered prohibitive.

This was due principally to the fact that high-cost charcoal was used exclusively as a fuel to reduce iron ore until 1738, when it was replaced by coke in the reduction process. Immediately following this development, cast iron pipe was installed in a number of other distribution systems in France, and in 1746 it was introduced in London, England, by the Chelsea Water Company. In 1785 an engineer with this company, Sir Thomas Simpson, invented the bell and spigot joint, which has been used extensively ever since. It represented marked improvement over the earliest cast iron pipe, which used butt joints wrapped with metal bands, and a later version that used flanges, a lead gasket, and bolts.
Freephone (UK): Telephone: 0333 987 4452
Tuscan Foundry Products Ltd, Unit 1, Dunsdon Farm Estate, Pancrasweek, Holsworthy, Devon, EX22 7JW, United Kingdom
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