Galvanized steel and copper were the most popular water pipes during the 1940s. Lead was also used for service pipes to homes, but not supply pipes inside the house. Older homes in Alice, Texas, often have certain types of pipes built with metals such as galvanized steel, which is no longer used when installing a plumbing system. Galvanized steel rusted and corroded relatively easily, leading to blockages and releasing lead into the water.
Many people choose to replace galvanized steel or cast iron pipes with PVC because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. PVC doesn't rust or corrode like most metal pipes, and it handles high pressure water very well. Copper or CPVC is needed for hot water lines. In the early 20th century, thick-walled copper joined with threaded fittings was used, but it was limited to public buildings due to its high cost.
Light gauge copper tubes and fittings were developed during the 1930s, making copper economically viable and increasing its popularity. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was experimentally produced in the 19th century, but did not become practical to manufacture until 1926. PVC pipe began manufacturing in the 1940s and was used extensively during DWV reconstruction of Germany and Japan after World War II. In the 1950s, plastic manufacturers in Western Europe and Japan began producing acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) tubes and methods for producing cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) were also developed. Orangeburg drain & septic field pipe, most commonly used in drainage pipes and septic fields, was made of ground wood fibers bonded with an adhesive putty (coal tar), which usually looks like a black tarry pipe.
It was first used in the U. S. in Boston in 1865, but it was not likely to be found in a construction area, drain, drain, or septic drain field before the late 1940s. InspectaMedia does not tolerate any conflict of interest.
We have no relationship with advertisers, products or services analyzed on this website. Here we provide a photo guide to determining the age of a building or its plumbing, piping and fitting system by examining visual clues. The age of a building can be determined quite accurately through documentation, but when documents are not available, visual clues can determine when a home was built by examining its components, building materials, even nails, fasteners and types of saw cuts in wood.