Joseph Putnam’s 1827 Patent For Stone Piping, an Advance Over Then-Used Wooden Pipes

Signed by President John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Henry Clay, and Attorney General William Wirt

This invention would lead to the practical use of coal stoves, which would catch fire using wooden linings

In 1826 Joseph Putnam of Salem, Massachusetts invented a method of making aqueduct pipes of clay, baked in the same manner as bricks. These were more durable than wooden pipes, and less expensive and...

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Joseph Putnam’s 1827 Patent For Stone Piping, an Advance Over Then-Used Wooden Pipes

Signed by President John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Henry Clay, and Attorney General William Wirt

This invention would lead to the practical use of coal stoves, which would catch fire using wooden linings

In 1826 Joseph Putnam of Salem, Massachusetts invented a method of making aqueduct pipes of clay, baked in the same manner as bricks. These were more durable than wooden pipes, and less expensive and weighty than iron ones. He applied for a patent on the invention and received one.

Document signed, Washington, January 17, 1827, stating: “Joseph Putnam…has invented a new and useful improvement in the mode of making pipes, tubes and gutters of all kinds, for the conveyance of water above or below the surface of the earth, from clay or argillaceous earth by machines and various operations.” It is countersigned by Secretary of State Henry Clay and Attorney General William Wirt.

This invention was initially sneered at and ridiculed by the establishment that was used to wooden pipes. While Putnam was attempting to convince skeptics that stone pipes were better than wooden, he was approached by a coal dealer from Pennsylvania who had been fruitlessly looking for a stove lining that could withstand the heat of coal and thus make his coal stoves practical. Wood would obviously not do. Putnam adapted his pipe to act as a stove lining, and this was a success. He continued to manufacture the linings for 25 years.

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