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The PC brigade will never make us change the name ‘manhole cover’

Posted on May 29 2018

The PC brigade will never make us change the name ‘manhole cover’

The PC brigade will never make us change the name ‘manhole cover’

You might think it odd that a business specialising in building supplies and building materials would want to get involved in political correctness, but we may well have to if the PC brigade continues their battle with the up-to-now accepted use of many English words which don’t seem to cause offence to women, but the PC brigade feels they should.

Origins of the term ‘manhole cover’

You can go all the way back to the 1790s to find the first use of the term ‘manhole cover’. Manhole covers were designed to allow access (for men) to underground storage areas, usually containing water. Their development and production in the UK expanded rapidly with the development of London’s and other cities’ sewer systems in the latter half of the nineteenth century. At no point during the era of women’s suffrage did we ever encounter requests to change the name to ‘person hole cover’, and that situation has not, as far as we know here at Armstrong Supplies, changed.

Manhole covers are built to last

In traffic- and pedestrian-rich environments, this is where you are most likely to come across the original-style manhole covers that can cope with cars and lorries passing over them. Just looking at them and you know they are not going anywhere, well not unless someone decides to nick them or, as one hapless passer by and his girlfriend discovered one day, they explode!

So why are manhole covers predominantly round?

This is a question that only begs an answer once it has been asked, which is seldom. For one reason or another we just accept that heavy-duty manhole covers are round and leave it at that. So, we’ve asked you the question and we wonder if you have any thoughts, whether you have already checked out Google for an explanation?

The answer is quite logical – they are round because of the cost of the material used to make them, originally cast iron, and also to reduce the weight. If you’ll forgive us a maths lesson, let’s say for simplicity, you want a one-meter access to a drain. A square manhole cover would measure 1m2, while a circular manhole cover would measure 0.78m2 ().

When you consider the weight of cast iron, you can also understand why a 22% reduction in the amount of cast iron needed would help substantially reduce the weight.

Today’s residential manhole covers are more practical and lightweight, yet still very durable

We’re delighted to say that we don’t stock 300lb cast iron manhole covers that take four workmen to fit – one to do the work and the other three to stand round drinking tea. Instead we have a great choice of manhole covers that range from galvanised steel manhole covers to polypropylene manhole covers. Not only that, but thanks to their much lighter weight, you don’t have to opt for a round manhole cover as we have numerous square and rectangular manhole covers with frames as well.

If you’re not sure what type of manhole cover will be best suited to your project, don’t be afraid to give us a call and we’ll be glad to advise.