January 29, 1914: Municipal Journalarticle—Pipe Thawing Outfit. “An electric thawing plant carried on a motor truck is used by the Columbus, 0 ., water works for thawing water pipes. It can be transported readily to the danger point and put to effic1ent use on very short notice. The outfit consists of a 50-h.p. engine operating an electric generator and a drum carrying two lengths of cable, each 210 feet in length, for making taps. For making contact on hydrants and on any size pipe from three-eighths of an inch to two and a half inches, a number of bronze clamps are carried, together with hand nuts, etc. The method of thawing an underground pipe is by including it in an electric circuit. which results in rapid melting of the ice next to the inner surface of the pipe; after that the flow of the water helps the thawing process until the pipe is completely clear. The capacity of this portable outfit is the melting of twelve pounds of ice a minute. It is manufactured by the General Motors Company.”
Commentary: In case you were wondering how water utilities thawed out pipes in 1914…For reasons that are a bit of a mystery to me, this post is a favorite with water utility folks. I have had many comments from managers that they have passed this one around to their fellow workers and colleagues. I certainly think that the picture of the apparatus is amazing.
Reference: Municipal Journal. 1914. “Pipe Thawing Outfit.” 36:5(January 29, 1914): 134.