About Us

Adsco has a long-established history of innovation, product development, and technical engineering expertise, tracing back to the company’s earliest days in 1877.

We were tasked with building the country’s first district heating system, in Lockport, NY.

To compensate for thermal expansion of the piping, Adsco engineers invented the first ever expansion joint.

To this day, our innovation continues to address the evolving needs of industry. From low-pressure exhaust duct systems, high-temperature large diameter, and ASME Section VIII applications, Adsco expansion joints have been proven to be the best solution for thermal expansion compensation.

A group of valves

Take a Look Into Our History

ADSCO Invents the Expansion Joint in 1877

Big cities in America are laying pipe through the streets to provide water for fire protection, drinking, and sewage removal. Coal fired steam plants are built to power the pumps that move this water.

The founders of ADSCO have an “aha” moment – they can use the spent steam from these plants to heat nearby buildings.
This marks the birth of the

American District Steam Company – aka ADSCO – in 1877.

Meanwhile, Thomas Edison is building small-scale steam-powered demonstration plants to show off his vision for illuminating downtown office buildings. In a few years he will be building several Edison Electric Illuminating Company plants across the East Coast and Europe.

Luckily for ADSCO, Edison is using DC current. Because DC current at this time can only travel about a mile before it’s too weak to provide power, Edison will be building coal fired steam plants right downtown in the middle of the office buildings. Its terrible for downtown pollution, but perfect for the new “District Heating” concept.

ADSCO has another “aha” moment and solves a problem never before encountered.

All the piping previous buried in the city streets saw very little change in temperature. Operating at ambient temperatures, thermal expansion of the pipe is not a problem.

However, steam creates a big problem.

Not only will the pipe be thermally expanding from cold to very hot, the runs of pipe may be a mile long and in a very straight line. Without bends to take advantage of pipes limited but natural flexibility, the pipe will break.

ADSCO invents the very first expansion joint to compensate for thermal expansion in steel pipe, and a variation is still being made today.

The Slip Type Expansion Join is Born

With its long traverse, pressure rated, and in-service packable seals, the slip joint is the perfect product solution.
The Life and Times of Birdsill Holly

Birdsill Holly was born November 8, 1820 in Seneca Falls, NY. In the era of the Erie Canal being built, a young Birdsill found inspiration and folly of the river and rapids in his hometown. Studying mechanical engineering in his youth and eventually taking over his father’s machine shop, Birdsill Holly Sr; He apprenticed as early as 10 years old. By 1840, a twenty year-old Birdsill was owner of his own shop and well-known in the Western New York area of his interest of pursuing steam energy.

While he is the first to apply steam heating to households for indoor heating, he still was doubted and not believed to be able to build a system which could heat an entire town from a central source. Holly’s dreams were labeled or seen as impractical and foolish. Birdsill’s determination and perseverance were finally rewarded in 1877 when he proved his critics wrong having created a central source of heat to an entire town and school building.

Eventually his invention expanded locally and globally, to countries like  Canada and Europe. All of these places adopted what was Holly’s system of District Steam Heat.

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From its beginning, ADSCO was not only at the forefront of design, it was the forefront.
The legacy continues today.
We have expanded the product offering to include not only state-of-the-art slip type joints, but a complete line of bellow, round and rectangular type joints as well.
In addition to serving district heating and cooling needs, we also specialize in the Fluid Catalyst Cracking Units (FCCU’s) for the petroleum industry, the ultra high-pressure heat exchangers for the chemical industry, and the pressure balanced turbine cross over joints for the power industry.

Learn more about how we can help your business.