The Iron Bowl and America’s hookah

By Maury D. Gaston, Chairman of the Alabama Iron & Steel Council

Saturday is the 87thth Playing the Auburn vs. Alabama football game. The stakes may not be as high this year, but there won’t be a lack of passion for either team. This is the 51st anniversary of my first Iron Bowl and I have attended more than half of the games at three different locations in that time.

Why is it called the Iron Bowl, who called it that and why?

In 1964, Auburn’s coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan said that “Iron Bowl vs. Alabama was going to be Auburn’s bowl game,” and the nickname has stuck ever since. But why?

At that time, Legion Field in Birmingham, the “football capital of the South”, was played first, until Auburn moved its alternating home game to the campus in 1989 and Alabama later followed suit; and second, Birmingham is known for its iron and steel industry. In fact, shortly after the War between the States, the Magic City magically grew from the deposits of iron ore, coal and limestone in the area and the resulting rapid rise of a massive iron and steel industry.

All three manufacturers of ductile iron pipe, the main material for our country’s public water supply systems, have offices in Birmingham. Other iron and steel makers have operations in the region and across the state that produce various uses of iron and steel to build our infrastructure, automobiles and durable goods. Birmingham may not be the football capital of the south anymore, but it certainly is the iron and steel capital of the south,

The main reason the Iron Bowl is so aptly named is that it’s a tough game, played by tough men who fight with tenacity and resilience for their teams and varsity, and perhaps their fans care even more. Robust, impact-resistant, durable, resilient. All describe both the players in the Iron Bowl and the performance of iron and steel pipe products.

What is less well known is that today’s modern ductile iron pipe is made from recycled iron and steel, requires less energy to pump water through it, has a long and reliable service life, and is recyclable when it is decommissioned. Iron pipes are good for the environment, good for public health and fire safety, and good for a water company’s long-term financial health. It has been shown to be safe and effective for public health in more than a century of use. Many seemingly wondrous materials like lead and asbestos have come and gone in industry, yet iron and steel perform and perform safely decade after decade.

So if you tune in to The Iron Bowl on CBS at 2:30 am Central Saturday, you can be the smartest one in the room and talk about the origin of the name and the properties of ductile iron pipe from Birmingham, Alabama. iron pipe. America is built on this.


Maury D. Gaston is chairman of the Alabama Iron and Steel Council (AISC), a council of ManufactureAlabama; a 40-year veteran of AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe in Birmingham; and a mechanical engineering graduate from Auburn University. The AISC serves as the independent industry council of ManufactureAlabama, the state’s only trade association dedicated solely to manufacturers and their suppliers/distributors. AISC member companies include AM/NS Calvert, AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, CMC Steel, McWane, Inc., Nucor Steel, Outokumpu Stainless USA, SSAB Americas, US Pipe & Foundry, United States Steel, Alabama Power Company, Spire/ Alagasco, Colburn Construction, Inc., ERP Compliant Coke, OMI-Bisco Refractories, O’Neal Manufacturing Services, Reno Refractories, Southeast Gas and Southern Alloy Corporation.