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Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was discovered in the late nineteenth century. Scientists at
that time found the new plastic material unusual in that it appeared nearly inert to
most chemicals. However, it was soon discovered that the material was resistant to
change, and it was concluded that the material could not be easily formed or processed
into usable applications.
In the 1920s, scientific curiosity again brought polyvinyl chloride to public attention. In Europe and America, extended efforts eventually brought PVC plastics to the
modern world. Technology, worldwide and particularly in Germany, slowly evolved for
the use of PVC in its unplasticized, rigid form, which today is used in the production of
a great many extruded and molded products. In the mid-1930s, German scientists and
engineers developed and produced limited quantities of PVC pipe. Some PVC pipe
installed at that time continues to provide satisfactory service today. Molecularly oriented polyvinyl chloride (PVCO) pressure pipe has been installed in Europe since the
early 1970s and in North America since 1991.