Sewer cleaning equipment - sewer rods and other methods

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The need to clean sewers led in the nineteenth century to a number of designs to flush sewers (see Flush Tank section), but in many cases, other methods were needed. "Pills" (round wooden balls pushed downstream by the sewage) were an early method. Larger sewers were cleaned by a bucket on wheels or a disk pulled through the pipe.

When a sewer was entirely stopped up, a "sewer rod" was pushed into the obstruction. Early rods used short lengths of pipe or wood, which were assembled together and forced through the obstruction. Several tools were developed to be attached to the front end -- to remove roots, create an opening in the blockage, scrap out grit, etc.

See Tracking Down the Roots of Our Sanitary Sewers for more information.

 

"Tools Used in Cleaning Sewers," Engineering News and American Railway Journal (22 May 1880), pp. 176-177.

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"Cleaners for the Large Outfall Sewer at Salt Lake City, Utah," Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume XXXIX, No. 18 (5 May 1898), p. 291.

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"The Turbine Sewer Machine for Cleaning Difficult Sewer Stoppages," Municipal Engineering, Volume XLIX (July-December 1915), p. 37.

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"Kuhlman Sewer Cleaning Machine," Municipal Engineering, Volume LI, No. 1 (July 1916), pp. 30-31.

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George A. Carpenter, "Design and Cleaning of Sewer Catch Basins," Municipal Engineering, Volume LIV, No. 4 (April 1918), pp. 147-148.

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U.S. Patents

Patent for device for clearing conduits and water closet pipes, 1858. Patented by James Ingram on January 5, 1858. U.S. Patent No. 19,030, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for an improvement in sewer cleaners, 1873. Patented by Jefferson H. Jenings on August 26, 1873. U.S. Patent No. 142,238, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sewer cleaning device, 1878. Patented by Erastus M. Chapin on April 16, 1878. U.S. Patent No. 202,519, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sewer cleaning, 1883. Patented by J. T. Dougine on Nov. 6, 1883. U.S. Patent No. 287,811.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for rod joint or coupling used in cleaning sewer pipes, 1885. Patented by Harvey C. Lowrie on May 5, 1885. U.S. Patent No. 317,154, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sewer cleaning apparatus, 1885. Patented by Harvey C. Lowrie on May 5, 1885. U.S. Patent No. 317,156, pp. 1-4.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for self adjusting sewer scraper, 1885. Patented by Michael Fitzsimons on October 27, 1885. U.S. Patent No. 329,034, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for flushing system, 1899. Patented by H. C. Davis on May 2, 1899. U.S. Patent No. 624,188.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for mode of and means for ventilating and flushing house drains or other drains and sewer, 1902. Patented by I. Shone and E. Ault. U.S. Patent No. 697,369.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for conduit and sewer rod coupling, 1903. Patented by Albert W. Case on June 2, 1903. U.S. Patent No. 730,186, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sectional rod for sewer cleaning, 1911. Patented by William H. Stewart on December 5, 1911. U.S. Patent No. 1,010,702, pp. 1-5.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sectional rod for sewer cleaning, 1911. Patented by William H. Stewart on December 5, 1911. U.S. Patent No. 1,010,702, pp. 1-5.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for cleaning apparatus, 1916. Patented by G. W. Otterson on January 4, 1916. U.S. Patent No. 1,166,712.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for apparatus for removing sediment from sumps and catch basins, 1916. Patented by G. W. Otterson. U.S. Patent No. 1,166,712.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for settling tank, 1916. Patented by G. W. Otterson on January 4, 1916. U.S. Patent No. 1,166,713.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for portable apparatus for cleaning out catch basins, 1919. Patented by G. W. Otterson. U.S. Patent No. 1,295,056.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for apparatus for removing sediment from catch basins, 1920. Patented by G. W. Otterson. U.S. Patent No. 1,327,211.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for breaking head for pipe and sewer rods, 1927. Patented by Allan J. Coleman on September 6, 1927. U.S. Patent No. 1,641,320, pp. 1-3.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for coupling member for conduit rods, pump rods, etc., 1931. Patented by Frederick W. Fuchs of the Turbine Sewer Machine Company on June 2, 1931. U.S. Patent No. 1,807,782, pp. 1-4.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for sectional rod and coupling member, 1932. Patented by William H. Stewart on July 26, 1932. U.S. Patent No. 1,868,508, pp. 1-4.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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Patent for rod connector used in cleaning sewer pipes, 1933. Patented by Auburn E. Wright on August 15, 1933. U.S. Patent No. 1,922,564, pp 1-5.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov.

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