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What is a Valve and How Did it Originate?

Posted by on in Valve 101
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We all know that valves are present in our everyday lives, but valves work a lot “behind the scenes”—controlling what might seem like the “uncontrollable”.  Without valves, we would have engineering issues on how to regulate and control steam, water, air, corrosive liquids, gases and other materials. You can already see WHY valves are important, but WHERE did valves originate, you ask? Good question…

Maybe ancient man watched the beaver as he built his dam across the river. In ancient times, man used tree trunks, thick grasses, rocks, boulders and branches to regulate water. The Egyptians and Greeks also designed valves to lead water to irrigate their crops and provide water to their villages. However, the Romans were the ones to truly develop their canal systems and had a higher engineered technology behind those systems. Due to various country invasions, one may be led to believe that the Romans stole some of their technologies that they utilized. Either way, the Romans took their technology findings on to further develop the bronze plug valve which enabled them to distribute water to buildings.

It was not until the Industrial Revolution that valves really evolved to the next level. Steam was the power required to reform and strengthen this era and replaced muscle or “horse” power. Valves along with the patented steam engine made it possible to pump water out of mines. During this time, the US was able to increasingly provide mining jobs to those out of work. Mining, agriculture, textile mills, manufacturing plants, steel production, transportation and many other industries were emerging quickly. The economy exhibited unprecedented growth and life was getting better financially for most. Water and steam along with the evolution of the valve, contributed highly to the success of the Industrial Revolution industries.

Today, there are diverse types of valves made of materials such as stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, bronze, brass, PVC, CPVC and other alloy materials. Valves can be very small in size or up to 102 tons, which is the largest valve in the world! (See http://www.valveworldexpo.com/cipp/md_valve/custom/pub/content,oid,1943/lang,2/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/local_lang,2)  The application determines what type of valve you would need in order for your line to be successful. When ordering your valves, you want to ensure that you work with a reputable company such as Valtorc International. They will want to know all aspects of your application to determine which type of valve(s) would be best suited for your needs. Here is something else to think about—ask the supplier/manufacturer if their products are made in the US.  Let’s strengthen our economy and keep sales in our country when we can!

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