CDA Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Copper Plumbing

January 15, 2003


NEW YORK - The Copper Development Association (CDA) is conducting a nationwide search to determine the oldest residential copper plumbing installation in the United States. The search is part of the industry's celebration of the 75 thanniversary of copper plumbing.

CDA has uncovered a few installations already, including an original "Oregonian Master Model Home" built in 1928. The home was constructed with the finest materials and craftsmanship of that time in an effort to encourage new building and migration to a home development called Mock Crest, near Portland, Oregon. The model home was later sold, but its original copper and brass plumbing system is still in use today. Known even then for its versatility and quality, copper products were not just limited to plumbing. Each window of the two-story Tudor style home had its own pull-down copper screen, and copper was also used for the gutters and downspouts. The house won many awards back in 1928. It is still revered as a building milestone and continues to be included in local home tours.

Throughout history, many materials have been used to carry water to, and through, homes. Wood, clay, iron and steel have all had their day - and their problems. Wood rots, clay collapses, iron and steel rust, and water and food vessels made of lead may have contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire, according to historians. Plastic plumbing is a relatively new entry to this list, but plastic still has to prove its value over the long haul.

According to CDA spokesman Ken Geremia, "The vast majority of homeowners depend on copper to stay cool, warm and refreshed. What many people don't realize is that modern home plumbing, as we know it in the United States, began with copper some 75 years ago, and it's still the most dependable material used for transporting water."

Geremia is quick to add that, "No one really knows where or when the earliest copper plumbing systems were installed, but the evidence points to sometime around 1927-28." To commemorate this grand anniversary, the Copper Development Association is holding a nationwide search for historic, noteworthy or otherwise significant copper plumbing installations from that era. It won't matter if the plumbing is in a castle or an outhouse, says Geremia, as long as it's suitably ancient, still in service and made of copper.

To assist in your hunt for ancient copper plumbing installations, CDA has offered a few helpful tips to keep in mind. When examining hard copper tube, look for a permanently incised marking to show tube type (K, L, M, et al.), the name or trademark of the manufacturer and the country of origin. In addition to incised markings, hard tube will have this information printed on it in a color which distinguishes its tube type: Type K - green, Type L - blue, Type M - red, etc. Soft ACR tube may not carry any incised or color markings, and hard ACR tube is color marked only.

If you have a plumbing system or are currently servicing one that fits this description, CDA would like to hear about it. Send the information (and photos, if available) by regular mail:

Copper Plumbing 75
Copper Development Association Inc.
260 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Please indicate any records or verification of the installation date that may exist. Photocopies of documents are preferred. Original documents and photographs cannot be returned, and CDA has the right to publish any materials submitted.

All those who submit information on a qualified copper system will receive a certificate from CDA certifying their home as "A Copper Quality Home."