Before World War Two, how did pipelines work for crude oil? What kind of metal or plastic were they made out of? What kind of sensors and monitoring did they need? Did they have "pigs" that travel up and down the pipe looking for problems? How were they kept warm so as not to freeze during winter?

  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think that something dramatically changed during WW 2? $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Oct 17 '17 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandreEremenko I never said something dramatically changed. Why did you assume I thought that? It is just the period I'm interested in... $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Oct 17 '17 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Then why do you have WW 2 in the question title? As the need in oil increased all these things gradually evolved. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Oct 17 '17 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandreEremenko "before WW2", is the time period I'm interested in. $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Oct 17 '17 at 3:05

The implication of information on war construction of the "Big Inch" and "Little Big Inch" pipelines from Texas to the East Coast of the US (at American Oil and Gas Historical Society is that there were not major long-distance pipelines before the war. Pictures at the indicated web site clearly show that the pipeline was welded steel. Buried 4 feet deep with moving product in it there was not an issue with freezing.

  • $\begingroup$ Rockefeller was building inter-state oil pipelines as early as the 1870's in order to circumvent the railroads, so I'm pretty sure major pipeline projects pre-date WWII buy a good while. $\endgroup$ – simplicio Oct 20 '17 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @simplicio - we may differ on 'major'. But, the above is pretty clear that there was no way to get Texas crude to the east coast before those pipelines were built during the war. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Oct 20 '17 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Does the article actually say that? I think the existing pre-war network just wasn't adequate to war-time needs, necessitating the two new pipelines. The map at the end of this (admittedly not super well sourced) article suggest the network went from the Northeast to the Gulf by 1911: micheloud.com/fxm/so/pipe.htm $\endgroup$ – simplicio Oct 20 '17 at 20:39

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