The present tendency of plumbing construction is toward the use of other metals than lead, cast and wrought iron, brass and copper being the materials commonly used; whereas in former times the entire drainage system was of lead, including the soil piping. This practice has reached such an extent that many plumbing ordinances restrict the use of lead to short branches of soil and waste pipes, closet bends and traps.

Plate 45 shows several illustrations of this class of work, Figs. A and B showing work in connection with the Durham system, while the three remaining illustrations show brass and wrought-iron work in connection with main lines of cast-iron pipe. It is entirely feasible to construct the entire plumbing system without the use of any lead whatever, and numerous buildings may be found which are so provided. Figs. A and B show two methods of installing water-closet connections without the use of lead. In the latter, the long-turn elbow takes the place of the lead bend. The connections in Fig. A are very satisfactory for water-closet work, giving a quick discharge of the waste into the main. Very often in connection with a line of water closets, the connections of Fig. A may be used without the vent, and the end of the horizontal main extended in the form of the circuit or loop vent. In such work the horizontal line may be brought considerably closer to the fixtures than in Fig. A.

Plate XLV. Construction Of Work Without Use Of Lead

Plate 45.

Construction of Work without Use of Lead

Construction Of Work Without Use Of Lead 114Construction Of Work Without Use Of Lead 115

Fig C.

Construction Of Work Without Use Of Lead 116


Construction Of Work Without Use Of Lead 117

In Fig. C the lavatory is served by a brass trap and vented by a continuous vent. When such a fixture is located at a distance from a main line of vent, this method is very convenient, as the vent can be carried to the ceiling above, or under the floor, and horizontally to the desired point.

Fig. D shows the manner in which a fixture connected in the ordinary way may be installed without the use of lead. In Fig. E a group of urinals and lavatories is connected in a manner which is very satisfactory and now much used. The main horizontal waste line is generally run above the floor, and directly above it and above the highest fixture, the main horizontal vent is run. Back of each fixture the main waste and vent lines are connected by a 1 1/2-in. vertical pipe, and into these vertical lines the fixture wastes are connected by a horizontal trap outlet, into a fitting of the T-Y pattern. This provides a continuous vent for each fixture, and effects a saving in cost of installation over the ordinary methods.

The waste connections into the horizontal waste are ordinarily made through T-Y fittings, but it is preferable to use a Y branch and eighth bend, the waste passing off by this means more smoothly than through the T-Y fitting. In the use of wrought-iron pipe on the drainage system, the work may often be put in more compactly than with cast iron, owing to the fact that fittings and hubs take up less room. This will appear from Fig. A. In Figs. A and B the brass floor flange for the water closet is screwed into the cast-iron elbow. Fig. F, Plate 17, shows a detail of a water-closet connection when the soil pipe is of wrought-iron and no lead bend is used. All cast-iron fittings used in connection with wrought-iron drainage pipes should be recessed fittings, whether the entire system is of Durham construction or only branch wastes, as in Fig. C.

When the Durham system is used, and it is desired to connect lead pipe into the wrought-iron pipe, it may be done by means of a brass soldering nipple or brass ferrule caulked or screwed into the wrought iron, as shown in connection with the water closets in the basement, in Plate 44.

Brass ferrules should be of extra heavy cast brass, not less than 4 in. in length and 2 1/4, 3 1/2, and 4 1/2 in. in diameter.

The weights of brass ferrules should not be less than the following :



2 1/4 in...........

............ I lb.

3 1/2 " ..........

............ 1 3/4 lbs.

4 1/2 " ..........

............ 2 1/2 "

Soldering nipples should be of brass pipe, iron-pipe size, or of extra-heavy cast brass. Cast-brass soldering nipples should not be less than the following in weight:



1 1/2 in .............................

.........................8 0z.


........ 14 "

2 1/2 "..........

........ 1 lb. 6 oz.

3 "..........

........ 2 lbs.

4 "..........

........ 3 " 8 "

On several of the foregoing plates, illustrations are shown of work constructed without the use of lead. For instance, on Plate 43, Fig. D shows a line of porcelain urinals constructed in this manner.

For urinal work, cast iron and brass are preferable to wrought-iron, steel, and lead pipe, for certain acids and gases in the urine which enters the connections of this fixture act destructively on the three last-named materials, and this action is often very rapid.

There is a considerable amount of work installed in which the only lead used is the lead bend. The bath-room connections of Fig. E, Plate 21, are an example of this style of work, in the use of special fittings.

Fig. G, Plate 22, shows the same class of work performed by the use of common fittings.

Figs. B and C of Plate 26, and the illustrations of Plates 27 and 28, show plumbing construction provided with continuous vents, in which brass traps may be used, thus avoiding the use of lead. These illustrations show clearly that continuous vent work favors the use of other materials than lead. Plate 36 shows an entire plumbing system in which the only lead material used is the lead water-closet bends, and, if desired, other materials may be used in place of these.

Fig. E, Plate 38, shows connections of wrought iron for a line of lavatories which give satisfaction and make a very neat appearance. Thus it will be seen that lead has but a small place in the construction of present-day plumbing in the larger cities, and on large work especially.

The displacing of lead in plumbing construction by such materials as cast and wrought iron and brass is attended by results both favorable and unfavorable, some of which may be seen from the following. The great objection to the use of lead, as stated elsewhere, is that when run of considerable length it will sag and form traps, owing to the softness of the metal. This objection is certainly not encountered in the use of wrought- and cast-iron and brass piping.

There are many places where lead will give better service, however, than material of a stiffer nature. For instance, lead will stand sudden strains and concussions better than cast- or wrought-iron or brass pipes. For this reason it is always advisable to use lead on the suction pipes of pumps, water lifts, etc. On such work as this, lead pipe does not develop the leaks that other materials do. In connection with the use of lead for suction pipes, it may be stated that in the event of a leak on the suction pipe it is far easier to locate it if the pipe is of lead than if of wrought iron.

The reason for this is that the sound made by the passage of air through the leak telephones along the length of the wrought-iron pipe to a much greater extent than through lead pipe, the result being that it is difficult ofttimes to locate the exact place where the defect exists, while in lead pipe the noise can be heard only indistinctly at distant points.

The objections to the employment of wrought iron and steel on the drainage and vent systems are considered thoroughly under the subject of the Durham system.

It may be stated that while certain disadvantages exist in connection with the use of lead, wrought-iron, and steel pipes for drainage and vent purposes, there is almost nothing that can be said against the use of cast iron and brass for the same purposes.