Clay is one of the most ancient piping materials, with the earliest known example coming from Babylonia (4000 BCE).

In the U.S., vitrified clay pipe (with a salt glazing applied to both the pipe’s interior and exterior surfaces, a “carry-over” process from Europe) was the material of choice for a lot of sewers   by the 1880s-1900s. Clay pipe was very heavy by nature. Delivering it required the availability of either rail or water transport. Until those systems developed, clay pipe plants were created in many towns, wherever there was a need and an adequate supply of clay.

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


                                                                      For Reference

Dickey Clay Manufacturing Company was one of the largest clay pipe manufacturers at the beginning of the 1900s.

“Impervious Sewer Pipes,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 12, Issue 3 (March 1880), pp. 54-55. Courtesy of The Making of America Digital Collection, Cornell University Library.

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“The Manufacture of Drain Pipes,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 13, Issue 4 (April 1881), p. 82-83. Courtesy of The Making of America Digital Collection, Cornell University Library.

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J. F. Springer, ” Construction of Vitrified Pipe Lines,” Municipal Engineering, Volume LII (January-June 1917), pp. 236-240.

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“Making Tight Joints in Vitrified Clay Sewer Lines,” Municipal Engineering, Volume LV, No. 1 (June 1918), pp. 253-254.

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Clay pipe advertisement in the American City publication, Feb 1950.  Note the clay pipe  shown pictorially as being “glazed clay pipe”; not yet,  ESVCP.  Source:  Jon C. Schladweiler

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An advertisement from the 1920’s for the Twin City Lime and Cement Co. (Minneapolis/St. Paul MN); makers of vitrified salt glazed sewer pipe.  Source:  Jon C. Schladweiler

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Advertisement by the National Sewer Pipe Company Limited (Canada) on 14 September 1932 for vitrified clay pipe – for sewers.  The advertisement was placed in the Sept 14, 1932 issue of the “Contract Record   And Engineering Review” publication. Source:  Jon Schladweiler, P.E.

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