Ball Valve History & Mystery

Here is a light hearted history and trivia on the ball valve. Read it and you will never take your natural gas or electricity for granted again, OK so maybe you will…

Ball Valve mystery?

The humble ball valve has a checkered history and somewhat murky origins. It may not be cloak and dagger stuff, but it’s not without mystery… Take a look around to see where the ball valve is indispensable. For example, the ball valve is crucial to the petroleum industry, water, electric power, chemical, paper, pharmaceuticals, food, steel and other fields. If it seems we could not get a long without the ball valve, it’s probably true! Given the importance of the ball valve today, it’s a mystery why it took so long to invent.

Ball Valve history does not go back to ancient Greece or the American revolution or does it? The modern ball vale was invented in 1967 or about 1957 according to different sources. Who cares when the ball valve was invented? Besides the patented owner, probably not many people. Still the ball valve was major advancement over plug valves used in the 20th century. The earliest ball valves were commercially available around 1967. For ancient parallels, the ruins of Pompeii turned up a bronze tapered plug quarter turn valve that resembles to the ball valve today. How’s that for a ball valve mystery?

Ball Valve Birth Pains

Ball Valve researchers point to a spherical ball-type valve patented in 1871 led to the invention of today’s ball valve. This ball valve was an all brass valve- brass ball and brass seats. Apparently this ball valve didn’t storm the market and was not mentioned in valve catalogs of the late 1800’s While today’s ball valve is quite a recent invention, the idea for this ball valve has been around about 125 years. The first resilient seated ball valve patent was issued in April,1945. Legend has it the company’s marketing department could not envision a use for the valve and it was not manufactured. Oh well, that’s the way the ball valve bounces…Given the huge reliance on the ball valve today, it’s a mystery why it took so long for people to invent and use the ball valve.

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