Monroe Michigan Workers Labor Around the Clock 365 Days a Year


     The photos illustrate some Monroe history one might not suspect existed.  The old water line being cut has been replaced with a new ductile iron pipe on Lorain Street.

Click on any image to enlarge

     Here, at the intersection of Lorain and  Monroe, city and contracted workers are removing the pipe shown in the photo from service on the night of Wednesday November 8, 2006.  The work is done at night with careful preparations because a nearby residential neighborhood had to have water shut off with good advance notice and the hospital supply was restricted.

     Yes we may still have brick and even wooden sewers—this is an old town.  It is possible that there are still some simply because much of the water and sewer infrastructure data has been verbal history passed on form one person to another within the city departments.  Finally, the engineering department has a person or persons assigned to making detailed CAD and GIS data maps to precisely locate and catalog the infrastructure.

    This work is providing a detailed map of sewer and water lines including their condition and other descriptors.  The exact location of valves in the water system is essential in both routine maintenance and in an emergency.

     While the section cut out to accomplish part of the transfer to the new line appears to be in good condition, some ongoing problems with leaks have made the replacement of the steel pipe necessary.  Note that two men worked side by side to cut about six-feet of pipe out using gasoline-powered abrasive saws and did so in less than an hour.

     Speaking as an older person with a sore back, I can only admire the team of workers who made a changeover at night in less than five hours. The writer-photographer's reaction was to shake their hands and thank God we still have people who know how to work.

     The history here is the City replacement of failure prone mains that have given good service.  Our Mayor takes infrastructure replacement seriously.  Not burning the town down takes planning and the city administration and engineers are working on that part.  The underground work is costly and often done when the town in sleeping.

     The pipe being removed is 12 inch steel pipe that your web keeper thinks may have been made at National Tube Company in Lorain, Ohio.  This same mill supplied the seamless pipe for the big (24-inch) and little inch pipelines of WW-II fame.  This pipe is considered to have been placed in service in the 1930s.  The pipe appears to be of seamless construction.  The technology to make such products was developed In nearby Shelby, Ohio.  This line is joined with Dresser ™ couplings developed in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

     The Industrial Technology History is the high grade of pipe used during the depression on that main and how we in the US had the seamless tube technology which helped us during WW-II in everything from pipelines to aircraft construction.The process was first used in England for bicycle production but perfected in Shelby, Ohio   The transfer of technology required some outstanding industrial espionage by the tube works founders late in the ninetieth centaury.

A Tribute to the Labor Union

Shelby Steel Tube Works History

Big Inch & Little Inch Pipelines WW-II-PDF 1.6 MB

This page is under construction.  It is intended to serve as a resource for students and researchers.

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