Originating in Birmingham more than a century ago, AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company has grown to be an influential capital-goods manufacturer with eight manufacturing plants in six states and inventory locations across the country. The AMERICAN family of companies manufactures ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded steel pipe, valves and hydrants for the waterworks industry and steel pipe for the energy industry. The company’s diversified product line also includes fire pumps, structural casing and piling, castings for large machinery and specialty rubber products. 

Our Eagan Legacy

In 1905, Charlotte Blair, secretary of Dimmick Pipe Company in Anniston, Alabama, along with her brother James W. Blair, interested several southern businessmen in the idea of starting a new cast iron pipe plant in Birmingham. With its natural resources, access to raw materials – iron ore, coal and limestone – and a developing rail transportation network, Birmingham was a well-suited location.

John J. Eagan

John J. Eagan was one of seven original stockholders who invested in the Birmingham pipe plant. He served as the company's first president and would later acquire all the common stock of the company to become its sole proprietor. 

In accordance with his Christian beliefs, and deeply committed to the social and industrial reform movements of the day, Eagan developed a business model at AMERICAN based on the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. He paid good wages with overtime and sick leave, invested in worker health and safety programs, and treated all employees with fairness and respect. 

In April 1923, Eagan added a codicil to his will placing all the company’s common stock in a trust to be managed by employees for the benefit of employees and customers. In Eagan's words, his objective was to ensure "service both to the purchasing public and to labor on the basis of the Golden Rule." When he died on March 30, 1924, AMERICAN became an employee-owned business. 

Our History

AMERICAN manufactured and shipped its first order of cast iron pipe in 1906. Since then, the company has continued to play an instrumental role in the growth and development of the cast iron pipe industry. 

Curing cement-lined pipe, circa 1930

Early firsts included the development of Mono-Cast, a centrifugal casting method that yielded stronger, more durable pipe than pit casting; the introduction of cement lining, which would become the industry standard; and the advent of the mechanical joint, the first pipe joint with a rubber seal to guard against leaks and contamination. 

In 1941, when the United States entered World War II, AMERICAN was asked to apply its centrifugal casting experience to another metal — steel. The manufacturing of static and centrifugally cast steel parts for ships, planes and tanks led to the creation of a new Special Products Division for steel products, the first diversification in AMERICAN’s history.

Train car of 42-inch ductile iron pipe, 1955

One of the company’s most significant advancements would come in the mid-1950s following the invention of a stronger and more resilient iron called ductile iron. AMERICAN took a lead role in using this new metallurgy to create even better products, including larger diameter pipes that were stronger than those made from gray iron.

AMERICAN Steel Pipe begins
production, 1963

In 1962, the company purchased Fox Steel in Jacksonville, Florida, and used the equipment to build a 36,000-square-foot steel pipe mill on its Birmingham campus. The mill manufactured steel pipe in diameters from 6 to 20 inches for the oil and natural gas industries.

American-Darling gate valves on
the SS Mormacstar, circa 1976

In 1969, AMERICAN acquired Darling Valve and Manufacturing Company in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a facility in Beaumont, Texas. The Beaumont facility would become home to AMERICAN Valve & Hydrant, which manufacturers the well-known American-Darling brand of fire hydrants and valve products. The same year, AMERICAN acquired Specification Rubber Products in Alabaster, Alabama, which began operations in 1968 as a manufacturer of rubber products, including gaskets used in water pipe joints. 

A new melting system, including the largest cupola of its kind in the world, was introduced in 1970, and AMERICAN moved from a sand-spun casting process to a generation of deLavaud metal molds, significantly improving productivity. 

A waterous hydrant protects the Mount Rushmore
National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota

In the late 1980s, the company continued to expand its steel pipe business for the energy industry by building a second mill to manufacture steel pipe in diameters up to 24 inches. In 1989, the company acquired Waterous Company in South St. Paul, Minnesota, a manufacturer of fire suppression systems, valves and hydrants since 1886. This acquisition, along with AVH, led to the formation of AMERICAN Flow Control (AFC), the company’s valve and hydrant division, in 1991.

AMERICAN Spiral Weld manufactures
steel pipe in diameters up to 144 inches

As the new millennium dawned, AMERICAN was poised for further growth, building the first AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe facility, now known as the Eastern Operations facility, in Columbia, South Carolina. This further diversified AMERICAN’s product line to include spiral-welded steel pipe for water service in diameters up to 144 inches. 

In 2003, the company acquired AMERICAN Castings in Pryor, Oklahoma, which manufactures static castings such as axles, frames, braking system parts, suspension parts and valve bodies for the construction, agriculture, waterworks, mining and energy industries.

The turn of the century would also bring a host of innovations for AMERICAN’s waterworks divisions, including zinc-coated ductile iron pipe, the AFC mapper for utility asset management, resilient wedge gate valves up to 66 inches in diameter, the Earthquake Joint System and the ALPHA restrained joint.

AMERICAN SpiralWeld expanded its operations to serve waterworks customers in other parts of the country with construction of two new facilities – Great Lakes Operations (Flint, Michigan) in 2014, and Southwest Operations (Paris, Texas) in 2021.

 AMERICAN’s Steel Pipe Division would also continue to see major developments, including a new 150,000-square-foot processing facility and upgrades to its two Birmingham mills. 

AMERICAN Steel Pipe's North Processing Facility, 2015

Today, AMERICAN’s Birmingham plant, located on a 2,000-acre site just north of a revitalized downtown, provides a historic backdrop for the city’s center. The plant employs about 1,500 people, offering competitive benefits, including profit sharing, apprenticeship training in crafts and trades, on-site professional development, and a nationally recognized wellness program. 

 For more information about the AMERICAN family of companies – our people, our products, our way – visit us online.

The AMERICAN Family of Companies

AMERICAN manufactures ductile iron pipe and HFW steel pipe at its headquarters plant in Birmingham, Alabama. Other production facilities are:

  • AMERICAN Castings, LLC, Pryor, Oklahoma (acquired in 2003)
  • AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe, Columbia, South Carolina (built in 2000), Flint, Michigan (2014), and Paris, Texas (2021) 
  • AMERICAN Valve & Hydrant, Beaumont, Texas (acquired in 1969)
  • Intercast SA, Itauna, Brazil (2004)
  • Specification Rubber Products, Inc., Alabaster, Alabama (acquired in 1969)
  • Waterous Company, South Saint Paul, Minnesota (acquired in 1989)