pipes & steel:
a brief rundown

A familiar sight in every building, home and establishment, steel pipes have long been used for years. Every year, millions of pipes are used for multiple purposes. They can be used in playgrounds, plumbing, architecture and even transportation. Almost every industry uses it, from architecture to construction to even media. How did this useful tube of metal come to be, and how the steel pipe become an essential in every home?


We may not realize it, but pipes have long been a part of our history, dating back even before the time of Christ. It was the Chinese who pioneered the use of modern piping in 2500 BC, with bamboo tubes used to transport natural gas from shallow wells to their then-capital, Peking. Other civilizations used drilled stone, wood and clay for their piping systems. The first recorded use of metal pipes can be traced all the way back to 3000 BC, with pipes made from copper.

Later on, lead pipes became popular in Europe, especially during the Roman Empire, which may be the primary reason for the widespread lead poisoning during the era. Wood became the material of choice for colonial America.

The origin of today’s steel pipes can be traced back to the early 1800s, when a man named William Murdoch bound together barrels to create a tube to transport coal gas, which then created the coal lamp system of London. Demand grew as the system proved to be effective and later on, more innovators set off to develop new pipes. In 1824, James Russell patented a method wherein tubes were heat fused together using the edges of a flat iron strip; however, a more efficient system was developed by Cornelius Whitehouse. With his method, thin iron sheets are heated and pulled through a cone shaped opening. As it goes through the opening, the sides curl up and form a pipe, and the ends fused together. Until today, this is the method primarily used by steel tube manufacturers around the world. Seamless metal pipes were developed in the late 1800s, with the first seamless pipe plant established in 1895.

types of steel

Despite almost all steel looking the same, there are actually four types of steel, namely Carbon, alloy, stainless and tool.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel isn’t uncommon to layman’s ears, as along with stainless steel, it is one of the most common steels used around the world. When it comes to its uses, it all depends on the amount of carbon it contains. Low carbon steel, or more commonly known as wrought iron, is used for fencing and handrails. Medium-carbon or mild steel is used for structural purposes like bridges. High-carbon steel is used for springs and steel wires while ultra-high carbon steel or cast iron is known for pots and pans.

Alloy Steel

A mixture of iron, carbon and other elements such as boron or nickel, alloy steel is divided into two subcategories: low and high alloy steels. Depending on the mixed element, alloy steel can be used for numerous purposes. For example, if nickel and chromium are used, the alloy steel can be used for surgical instruments while tungsten makes it durable enough for cutting and drilling tools.

Stainless Steel

Of all the steels in this list, perhaps stainless steel is the one people are most familiar with. Unlike other steels, stainless steel does not easily rust, corrode or stain thus making it the ideal material for water exposed objects such as razors, pans, cutlery, pressure piping, and sinks. It’s also often used in buildings due to its durability, malleability, and aesthetics.

Tool Steel

When it comes to toughness, perhaps nothing can beat tool steel. So named for its suitability for tools, this type off steel is heat resistant, hard, and wear resistant. It can also resist erosion. It’s used for cutting, tools, stamping or extrusion dies and mold making.

advantages of

steel pipes

There are PVC, copper and galvanized iron pipes, but perhaps the most used is the steel pipe. Why not? These pipes are not just practically rust proof, but they’re quite durable as well. Need any more convincing? Here are some advantages to using steel pipes for your home or commercial use.


When the time comes for your to change your steel pipes, you won’t have any problem finding a replacement as there is sure to be a supply off steel pipes in your local hardware’s storage.


If you worry about the cost, you don’t need to as steel pipes are quite friendly to the pocket. For sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth with this material.


If you want piping that lasts for a lifetime, then steel pipes are your top pick. It’s quite strong and if it ever does need replacing, years will pass before you need to.

There is no doubt steel pipes are a need nowadays; without them, we may not be able to function normally as we rely on them too much. Truly, they are a blessing to the world.