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With nearly a century of market knowledge, equipment reliability, creative solutions and industry leadership, General Pipe Cleaners has forged a robust reputation for turning good ideas into great products.
As multiple generations of the General family and workforce celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary this year, let’s look back at how it all began — in 1930.
That’s when Abe Silverman stepped out on his own from his uncle Frank’s Rapid Wire Spring Co. to found General Wire Spring Co. His brother-in-law told him, “What’s good for General Motors should be good for you.”
As a growing manufacturer of metal springs, Abe remained keenly attuned to promising market opportunities. So to expand his customer base, he began making quality drain-cleaning cables for local plumbers.
But settling for simple springs as drain-cleaning snakes proved equally unappealing to Abe Silverman. So in the 1940s, he patented a process of wrapping spring wire tightly around a braided wire core — vastly boosting strength, kinking resistance and flexibility.
He called the heavy-duty design Flexicore cable. The innovative invention instantly surpassed all competitive products and has remained the core of General’s business ever since.
But Abe didn’t stop there.
He soon developed the Sewerooter, the company’s first power-driven drain cleaner. Followed by their first hand-held drain cleaner, the Handylectric. Over the years, General introduced a broad line of drain cleaning machines, water jets, and integrated sewer inspection camera and water leak location technologies.
Nine decades later, Abe Silverman’s company, now marketing under the name General Pipe Cleaners, is still going strong. But like so many firms founded during the Great Depression, it constantly leveraged hard work, market savvy, inventive approaches and plain luck to survive — and thrive.
Generations of Trust and Service
General continues serving plumbing, drain cleaning, maintenance and rental professionals with “the toughest drain cleaning tools down the line.”
Multiple generations of customers cite General products as preferred brands. Company records boast countless cases of two, three and — astonishingly — even four family generations trusting equipment such as Handylectric, Super-Vee, Sewermatic and Speedrooter. Its customers count on General’s durable equipment to boost productivity enhance return on investment and.
General’s ongoing product-improvement efforts take great ideas — and make them even better. That’s especially apparent in the company’s line of cable drain-cleaning machines.
In the mid-1960s, automatic cable feeds boosted the appeal of new General equipment. Shortly after that, the manufacturer introduced the Feedomatic and Sewermatic, followed by the popular Power-Vee with power cable feed.
New variants of classic General machines are meeting customer needs today, such as Speedrooter XL and the portable Mini-Rooter XP.
But plumbing, drain cleaning and maintenance pros know that cable machines alone can’t clear clogs such as grease, sludge, sand, sediment, ice and similar sticky stoppages.
So three decades ago, General developed its Jet-Set water jets, which unleash high-pressure water streams to pulverize clogs and flush them away. Nozzle thrust drives the hose down lines and gives wall-to-wall pipe cleaning action.
The portable JM-1000 Mini-Jet packs 1500 psi of cleaning power in a compact package, yet weighs only 23 lbs. For large jobs, General’s gas-powered machines punch through stubborn stoppages in longer and outside 4-inch to 8-inch lines.
Large or small, General’s rugged, reliable electric, gas and trailer jets are excellent for restaurants, hotels, hospitals, factories, schools, sports arenas, care facilities and shopping centers.
Enhancements Maximize Performance
Quickly and correctly spotting troubles also helps contractors boost both productivity and profitability. So from the late-1990s, General popularized integrated video and audio inspection technologies to find and diagnose stoppages with speed and accuracy. Its Gen-Eye sewer inspection camera systems are available in a variety of models and sizes. They are augmented by the Gen-Ear LE acoustical water leak location device.
General inspection equipment shows users exactly where and what problems are without needlessly busting up concrete driveways or destroying expensive landscaping trying to spot breaks or blockages.
That sort of precision also enhances professionalism by cycling jobs more quickly. “We fix problems faster — and get more jobs done in less time,” one professional notes. “We firmly believe that giving customers the service they deserve enhances our professional reputation.”
Over the past decade, General extensively enhanced its range of video inspection and locating systems, including the compact, lightweight Gen-Eye X-POD and Micro-Scope2 systems with USB ports to record video inspections to flash drives.
Professionals also need to spot problems — fast. And they can’t afford downtime learning how to operate complicated new equipment.
That’s why, for nine decades, General tenaciously leveraged technical progress to speed and simplify work to boost customer productivity and professionalism. One result is the Hot Spot digital pipe locator. Users know what the problem is, where it is and how deep to dig — eliminating guesswork when inspecting and tracing sewer lines, drain lines, septic tanks, active power lines and buried utilities.
Other inventive, productivity-boosting General products — such as the ClogChopper cutter and Kinetic Water Ram drain cleaner — claim fame as equal heirs to Abe Silverman’s pioneering legacy. Those innovative General technologies help customers maintain their competitive edge.
Past is Prologue
Today, General Pipe Cleaners boasts a full line of advanced drain-cleaning tools — including reliable drum-type and sectional drain-cleaning machines, gas- and electric-powered water jets, sewer inspection cameras and pipe location systems, acoustical water leak location equipment, pipe freezers, thawing machines, and accessories.
Though the company worldwide, they are proudly based and manufacture most of their products here in the USA. Sales and marketing efforts include French and Spanish websites, expanded social media platforms, and a YouTube channel. Yet General, its staff proudly notes, sells only through wholesalers supporting its distribution channels.
Abe Silverman’s lasting legacy of innovative solutions, product reliability and customer service continues today. And his great-grandchildren — the founding family’s fourth generation — have now joined the business.
Moreover, better than 40 percent of General’s workforce remains multi-generational — with children often working shoulder-to-shoulder with their parents. Even the company’s independent salesforce remarkably reflects two and three generations representing General equipment.
With a nine-decade heritage, the people of General Pipe Cleaners keep working hard to serve even more generations of customers to come with the “Toughest Tools Down The Line”!