Construction and Maintenance

Welded Steel Pipe – It’s Nothing New

Welded steel pipe has many uses in the industry today. You will see it a wide range of applications, especially the gas and oil industry. However, did you know steel pipe has an interesting history that goes back farther than you might think? Here are some things you may not be aware of.

What is Welded Steel Pipe?

The process begins with raw iron and alloys heated and then manufactured through a welding method. During the process, flat steel is shaped into the pipe and welded together to form a continuous seam along the pipe.

Where Did It Begin?

Pipes and piping have been around for thousands of years. In fact, more than four thousand years ago, clay pipes were around and hollowed out logs were used to carry water in Colonial America in the mid 17th Century.

Steel pipe was first developed in the early 19th Century. A man named William Murdock came up with a lighting system in London, which used coal gas. Coal gas was created with coal and was used before natural gas.

To create a gas pipeline, Murdock utilized old musket barrels welded together. Once people saw how effective his pipeline worked, it created a demand for steel pipe. To meet this demand, people began to come up with innovative ways to produce pipe.

As early as 1824, James Russell developed a system for making metal pipe cheaply. Strips of flat iron were heated until they became soft. The softened iron was then hammered into tubes. Afterward, the newly formed pipes were sent through a rolling mill. However, this system was not in use very long, as Comelius Whitehouse developed a better technique. His method is the forerunner of modern day welded steel pipe production processes.

To create a pipe, Whitehouse’s method employed iron in thin sheets. The sheets were heated and run through a cone-shaped device. It is known as the butt weld system. As the iron passed through the cone shaped area, it curled into a pipe, and the seam was welded to seal it. This basic process has been in use since 1832. However, in 1911 John Moon made improvements by developing a system that could create a continuous section of pipe.

Today’s welded steel pipe manufacturing processes are similar to the original methods. Strips of steel are still used and molded into a shape. The seams are welded together by special welding electrodes, and this creates an exceptional cost effective pipe product.

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