American Cast Iron Pipe Company

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AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company
Type Private company
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1905
Headquarters Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Key people Van L. Richey (President, CEO)
John M. Cook (VP, Finance]])
Products ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded steel pipe, fire hydrants, valves, fire pumps, steel pipe, static castings
Revenue Increase$1.2 billion USD (2007)
Employees 3,000 (2010)
Website american-usa.com

AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is a manufacturer of ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded steel pipe, fire hydrants and valves for the waterworks industry and electric-resistance-welded steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industry. AMERICAN's diversified product line also includes static castings and high performance fire pumps.

History[edit]

Many believe that AMERICAN was founded by John Joseph Eagan; however, it was, in fact, Charlotte Blair, a businesswoman who conceived of the idea for the pipe company. She and her brother James recruited the initial investors, including Mr. Eagan, who would become the company’s first president and later sole proprietor.

AMERICAN was chartered on October 9, 1905. During a time of intense strive between management and labor, Mr. Eagan believed that a company run on the teachings of the Christian faith would prosper for the benefit of all – employees, customers and society. He adopted as his business philosophy the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want to be treated.

In 1924, Mr. Eagan died of complications from TB. Upon his death, he willed ownership of the company in a trust to its employees.[1]

In the 1920s, AMERICAN developed a proprietary Mono-Cast centrifugal casting method and increased pipe diameters to a record 24 inches (610 mm). The company also introduced cement-lined pipe, which became the industry standard.

The company’s first official safety program served as an industry model. A program of excellent employee benefits became synonymous with the AMERICAN name. The financial crash of 1929 had little effect on the company at first, but soon, business started to decline resulting in a loss of jobs. But by the mid-1930s, government spending on municipal water supplies, fire protection and sanitation brought a resurgence in business and helped restore jobs.

In 1939, business was further boosted by federal defense spending to support the impending war. When the country entered World War II, AMERICAN was asked to apply its centrifugal casting experience to another metal – steel. The manufacturing of steel parts for ships, planes and tanks led to the creation of a new Special Products Division for steel products, the first diversification in AMERICAN’s history.

The 1940s were marked by the industrial invention of a stronger and more durable iron called ductile iron. AMERICAN took a lead role in use of this new iron to make large-diameter pipe that were thinner yet stronger.

The country’s growing population and rapidly expanding infrastructure in the 1950s and 1960s meant more demand for pipe for use in water, energy, transportation and sanitation systems.

In 1955, AMERICAN shipped its first large order of ductile iron pipe. A new melting system in 1972, including the largest cupola of its kind in the world, would supply the new iron for this pipe, and AMERICAN would move from a Sand Spun casting process to a generation of deLavaud metal molds, still used today. Throughout the 1960s, AMERICAN would continue to diversify, adding its valves and hydrants product line and gaskets.

AMERICAN’s innovation, diversification and capital investments saw it through economically challenging times in the early 1980s.[citation needed] It expanded its steel pipe business and acquired Waterous Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, to add fire pumps to its product line and increase market share in valves and hydrants. Throughout the 1990s the company embraced the digital age, applying computing and Internet technologies across the board. It also opened a scrap recycling facility on site.

As the new millennium dawned, AMERICAN was poised for further growth, opening AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company in Columbia, South Carolina, and diversifying its product line to include spiral-welded steel pipe in diameters up to 144 inches (3,700 mm).

Also in 2000, AMERICAN engineered a single electrode DC furnace that is the only one of its kind in the world used for melting iron. From a pipe shop that began with $150,000 in capital in 1905, AMERICAN has grown from providing a single product line to producing materials for several industries: water, wastewater, petroleum, gas, capital goods and power generation.

Divisions[edit]

AMERICAN Steel Pipe[edit]

AMERICAN Steel Pipe, based in Birmingham, Alabama, produces electric-resistance-welded steel pipe. Applications include high pressure oil and gas transmission lines, distribution main lines, offshore gathering systems, steel pipe pilings, abrasive-resistance pipe, HIC resistant pipe for sour service, dredge pipe, and product pipelines.

AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe[edit]

AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe, based in Birmingham, Alabama, manufactures ductile iron pipe in standard 20-foot lengths ranging from 4-64 inches in diameter. The company’s product line also features joints of various types designed for ease of installation and dependability in a variety of conditions. AMERICAN also furnishes standard and special linings and coatings.

AMERICAN Flow Control[edit]

In March 1991, AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company merged its two valve- and hydrant-producing subsidiaries—American-Darling Valve and Waterous—into one division, AMERICAN Flow Control. This merger yielded a division active in the design and production of waterworks and fire protection products. Production facilities are located in Beaumont, Texas, and South St. Paul, Minnesota.

AMERICAN Spiral-Weld Pipe[edit]

AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company, LLC was established as a division of AMERICAN in 1999. AMERICAN SpiralWeld, located on a 150-acre (0.61 km2) site in Columbia, South Carolina, manufactures spiral-welded steel pipe for use in water, wastewater, hydropower, and industrial applications. In 2013, AMERICAN announced a new spiral-welded pipe production facility in Flint, Michigan. The facility is slated to begin operations in 2015.

AMERICAN Castings[edit]

AMERICAN Castings, LLC is located in Pryor, Oklahoma. The plant produces grey and ductile iron castings for automotive, heavy-equipment, industrial machinery and other product manufacturers.

International Sales[edit]

ACIPCO International Sales is responsible for the export marketing of ductile iron pipe, steel pipe, valves and hydrants. ACIPCO has been an exporter of piping products since 1915.

References[edit]