^ Complex Industrial Piping Network
Pipe networks are the arteries and veins of machines and equipment systems, supplying vital fluids such as water, oils, fuels, coolants, vapor, steam, gas, solids, slurries and the like.
Steamfitters, pipefitters, and plumbers set up this invisible circulation grid that stocks and replenishes the muscles of machines and mechanisms via steel, copper, aluminum, glass, and plastic pipes.
Pipefitting gained traction in the late 19th century when the Industrial Revolution was spreading far and wide. The steam engine propelled the industrial age. And, pipefitting drove the mighty steam engine.
Industrialization brought with it mechanizations of all kind – small and large, simple and complex – steamships, railways, lathes, mills, press brakes, cutters, grinders, boilers, automobiles and what not.
The common channel, literal and figurative, running through all these machines was, of course, the humble-but-essential pipe network.
Urbanization followed industrialization and there emerged the need to supply water to and drain sewage from residential, commercial, and industrial localities. Through what? You guessed it – pipe networks.
Also called fitters, pipefitters of the US and Canada are represented by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
These days, pipefitting supplies fluids to and extracts them from the heating, cooling, and lubrication systems of ships, submarines, automobiles, boilers, power systems, and other industrial mechanisms.
Agriculture, waste management, and ventilation systems also gainfully employ these grids.
Currently, pipefitters make about $24.34 per hour or $50,620 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like most other machinists, skilled pipefitters are in great demand and come at a premium.
From the days of steam powered machines to today’s hi-tech gadgetry, pipe fitters have rendered valuable service for the technological and economic advance of the United States and the world at large.