I feel compelled to say something on the manufacture of lead pipes and castings before finally dismissing this "weighty" topic from our minds.

Quite late into this century in the cities of London and Westminster, and other parts of England as well as on the Continent, the manufacture of lead pipe formed the principal work of many a plumber in many a plumbery, and very expert ye plumbers of ye olden time were in producing pipes of various strengths, and in sizes from 3/4 in. to 7 in., to suit the needs of the times. By the kindness of M. Poupard, of Paris, I have in my possession some graphic illustrations showing French "plombiers" at work in an old Paris "plomberie," casting sheets and plates, and in the manufacture of lead pipes, together with the various apparatus used; the arrangements being similar to those that obtained favour in England before hydraulic power was adopted in the making of the sheets and pipes. A competent authority has written me a most interesting letter on the manufacture of sheet lead and lead pipes, from which I make the following extracts: -

"My family have preserved a continuous history of the lead trade, and I find that the first rolling-mill was erected by our firm in 1797 at Newcastle-on-Tyne. I can't specify what width the sheets were rolled; however, lead was not usually rolled for many years after. Iron had been treated in that way, as it is a metal so easily manipulated. The earliest record I can find of the manufacture of pipe is this extract: ' 1810. This year pipe was first manufactured at our Chester works, and the price was 6 15s. above that of pigs.' It does not say that it was made by hydraulic power, but I am under the impression that hydraulic power was not introduced until some considerable time later.

I remember being at Pompeii some years ago and seeing some pieces of pipe made by the old Romans from lead; they were evidently made from sheets very smooth and thin, and had been soldered up the sides, and were as perfect as when first put in.

"The Romans, during their occupation of Britain, worked the lead mines in Cumberland and Wales. I have seen several pigs of lead here in London and at Newcastle with the name of the Roman emperor Hadrianus on them, who was in Britain in 119 a.d., and who built the Roman wall from Newcastle to Carlisle. These pigs are beautifully cast, much the same weight as those in use now, and the letters clearly and sharply cut. I cannot say whether they were cast in sand, iron, or bronze moulds."

From the records of the Patent Office it appears that the earliest patent for milled lead dates back as far as 1687, the entry reading, " Manufacture of milled lead for sheathing and preservation of ships, or any other thing." There is no actual mention of rolling lead for many years, although there is a patent of 1749 for casting lead to be used for milling, and one in 1759 for rolling "all malliable metal." In several patents for rolling metals towards the end of the eighteenth century, only iron is actually specified, but other metals seem to be understood as being treated similarly; whilst in 1839 there is a patent for "Improvements in rolling lead and other soft metals," proving from its very title that lead had previously been rolled. With regard to lead pipes, I find that there is a patent in 1820 for "Certain improvements in machinery for manufacturing lead and other metal into pipe and sheets." The apparatus was operated by hydraulic pressure, and this is the first mention of hydraulic power being used, bearing out the evidence of the letter above.

PLATE III.

Lead And Some Of Its Uses 5

To face p. 10.

Up to within about the last quarter of a century, and for three-quarters of a century previously, cast sheet lead was manufactured very largely by my predecessors at the Lead Works, 21, Newcastle Street. The size of the sheets chiefly made was about 20 ft. by 7 ft. Bat directly I could make my voice heard, I used it in condemning cast sheet lead, on account of the varying strengths of a roof covered with it, some parts even of a single bay varying as much as 30 and even 50 per cent. in thickness. Some of the sheets in the last casting remained on our pile for about ten years, and were finally melted down and turned into sash-weights. Messrs. M. Hall and Co. write me that they still keep the appliances for casting sheets 13 ft. by 6 ft., though it does not pay to put them into operation for a smaller parcel than about 50 tons.

But though cast sheet lead is not now manufactured by hand, some plumbers still continue to make lead funnel pipe by hand, with a soldered seam either drawn or wiped; but though such a pipe when properly made may last a century or more, there can be no absolute certainty as to how long it will last unless you know the man who made it, and unless every inch of the seam can be seen; and even then it may look fair enough to the eye, but directly your back is turned it may set up some galvanic action and belie your opinion by rapidly oxidizing.

As seamless lead pipe of an equal substance all over can now be had of any size from 3/16 in. up to 6 in., and of any strength, it is not necessary to describe how to make up pipes by hand, for not only are round pipes made by hydraulic pressure power, but also square and rectangular pipes.

The following table shows the weight of lead pipe - the communication pipe - per yard, as required by certain water companies: -

3/8-in.

1/2-in..

5/8-in.

3/4-in.

l-in.

1 1/4-in.

London, according to Metropolis Water Act ....

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

5

6

7 1/2

9

12

16

Kent ....

-

5

7

9

12

-

West Surrey . .

4

5 1/2

-

9

14

20

Caterham . . .

5

6

8

10

14

-

Colne Valley. .

5

7

9

11

16

-

Sevenoaks and Tonbridge . .

-

5

7

9

12

15

Weights Of Services And Wastes

1/2-in.

3/4-in.

1-in.

1 1/4-in.

l 1/2-in.

2-in.

Strong service pipe, per yard

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

lbs.

4 1/2

7 1/4

10 1/2

14

18

24

Service pipe (light), per yard

3 1/4

5 2/3

8 1/2

12

16

21

Waste pipe, per yard ....

-

-

-__

12

16

21

"Warning pipe" - pipes "discharging with an open end," minimum strength, as per Metropolis Water Act, 1871, per yard

3

5

7

-

-

-

Lead pipe can be encased with block tin to any strength required.

Milled lead and seamless lead pipes are manufactured in the following cities and towns, viz.: - Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Derby, Dee Bank, Glasgow, London, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, and St. Helens.