General Marks 90 Years Industry Leadership, Drain Cleaning Machines

General Marks 90 Years of Drain Cleaning Industry Leadership

Category: Diagnostic Tools, Kinetic Water Ram, More Success Stories, Sewer Cameras, Water Jets

With nearly a century of knowledge of market needs and superior equipment reliability, General Pipe Cleaners has forged a robust reputation for turning “good ideas” into “great products” for decades.

Now multiple generations of the General family and workforce are celebrating the company’s 90th anniversary 2020!

Customer satisfaction, trustworthy tools, creative solutions, continual product improvements, and solid equipment have fueled nearly a century of success – and industry leadership.

And it all began in 1930.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Powers Progress

That’s when Abe Silverman stepped out on his own from his uncle Frank’s Rapid Wire Spring Company to found General Wire Spring Company. (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.

Abe called the radical, heavy-duty design the “Flexicore cable.” The innovative invention instantly surpassed all competitive products. And it has remained the core of General’s business ever since.

Performance-Driven Innovation

Abe’s pioneering Flexicore design propelled the company’s excellent reputation. Even today, it’s widely considered the industry standard for drain cleaning snakes!

But Abe didn’t stop there.

He soon developed the Sewerooter™, the company’s first power-driven drain cleaner.

Abe’s growing company spearheaded other key plumbing and drain cleaning industry developments, including hand-held cable machines – and, eventually, water jets and integrated sewer camera and audio inspection technologies.

Nine decades later, General, now General Pipe Cleaners, is still going strong. But like so many firms founded during the Great Depression, the company constantly leveraged hard work, market savvy, inventive approaches, and plain luck to survive – and thrive.

Generations Of Trust & 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 like Handylectric®, Super-Vee®, Sewermatic® and Speedrooter® drain cleaning machines.

That’s because the legendary longevity and rugged reliability of General tools help plumbing, drain cleaning, maintenance, and rental pros boost bottom lines through enhanced productivity.

Customers count on durable General equipment to enhance “ROI” – “return on investment.” Some individual drain machines have even served owners for two or three decades!

The hand-held Super-Vee certainly confirms that. Derived from General’s revolutionary Handylectric of the 1940s, tough, dependable Super-Vee remains the drain cleaning tool of choice for unclogging small diameter lines in sinks, showers, toilets, and laundry drains.

In fact, the only way one customer’s Super-Vee – originally purchased over 30 years earlier – stopped working was when it was stolen!

Upgrades Built On Solid Foundations

General’s ongoing product-improvement efforts take great ideas – and make them even better. That’s especially apparent in the company’s line of professional and rental cable drain cleaning machines.

In the mid-1960s, automatic cable feeds boosted the appeal of new General equipment. Shortly thereafter, the Feedomatic and Sewermatic were introduced. Later, our popular Power-Vee® with power cable feed bolstered the company’s leadership in hand-held drain cleaning machines.

Even today, new variants of classic General machines are meeting customer needs.

The latest Speedrooter XL®, for instance, clears tough clogs in 3” to 10” lines – up to 200 feet. Customers can easily change drums to add cable lengths – or to swap cable sizes. Variable speed cable feed offers raw driving and pulling power for long, tough jobs – feeding and retrieving 3/4”, 5/8”, 9/16”, and 1/2” cables.

“It lets us power through tough problems that our competitors walk away from!” – one plumbing and drain cleaning pro says.

And for inside drain lines from rooftop to basement, the popular, portable Mini-Rooter Pro® drain cleaning machine saves customers time and trouble. Today’s version blends the original design’s rugged reliability and easy operation with built-in wheels and a folding handle for enhanced transport, maneuverability, and storage.

“Mini-Rooter doesn’t have a big footprint, so it gets you into a lot of tight spaces,” another customer adds. “It’s durable, powerful and economical – a great ‘first machine’ for anyone starting out in drain cleaning.”

Tackling Tiers of Troubles

But plumbing, drain cleaning, and maintenance pros know that cable drain machines alone can’t clear clogs like grease, sludge, sand, sediment, ice, and similar sticky stoppages.

So for three decades, General’s popular, powerful Jet-Set® water jetters have sliced through stoppages like those. They unleash high-pressure water streams that pulverize clogs – and flush them away. Nozzle thrust drives the hose down lines – and gives wall-to-wall pipe cleaning action.

Large or small, General’s rugged, reliable electric, gas, and trailer sewer jetters are excellent for restaurants, hotels, hospitals, factories, schools, sports arenas, care facilities, shopping centers, and more.

The pioneering, portable JM-1000 Mini-Jet™, for instance, packs 1500 psi of cleaning power in a compact package, yet weighs only 23 lbs. Carry it right to troubles – no wheels required. Its rugged diamond plate metal case safely shields the pump and motor assembly from common job-site abuse.

One drain cleaning expert called JM-1000 “easy to transport and handle – machines designed for efficient, one-man operation.”

And for large jobs, General’s muscular, gas-powered sewer jetters punch through stubborn stoppages in longer and outside 4” to 8” lines. All sport 3000 psi, electric start, reliable engines, puncture-proof tires, and robust, tubular chassis. On-demand Vibra-pulse® technology helps propel hoses down long runs and around tight bends.

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.

Available in a variety of models and sizes, Gen-Eye® sewer camera systems – augmented by the advanced Gen-Ear LE® water leak location system – quickly and accurately pinpoints problems.

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 noted. “We firmly believe that giving customers the service they deserve enhances our professional reputation.”

Over the past decade, General extensively enhanced its popular range of sewer 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.

Each of these sewer inspection camera systems combines camera, reel, and monitor into one compact, convenient package. Features include a self-leveling camera, bright LCD color monitor, rugged construction, Wi-Fi, one-touch recording, digital zoom, voice-over capability, date & time stamp, and flash drive capacity indicator.


Precisely Pinpointing Problems Optimizes Productivity

Professionals also need to spot problems – fast. And they can’t afford downtime learning how to operate complicated new equipment.

Gen-Eye Hot Spot pipe locatorThat’s why, for nine decades, General tenaciously leveraged technical progress to speed and simplify work – boosting customer productivity and professionalism.

And General’s Hot Spot® digital pipe locator – latest in the company’s long line of pioneering locating devices – offers matchless accuracy, reliability, and profitability.

With the Hot Spot pipe locator, users know what the problem is, where it is, and how deep to dig. General’s device eliminates guesswork when inspecting and tracing sewer lines, drain lines, and septic tanks – even active power lines and buried utilities. This saves on labor time and avoids tearing up landscaping and pavement needlessly in pursuit of your target pipes.

“I use Hot Spot 10 times a week,” one expert notes. “And it’s dead-on-the-money – 100% of the time!”

It’s easy-to-use, too. On screen icons make Hot-Spot simpler to operate than other locators. Simplified readouts also eliminate the need to decipher numbers and bargraphs.

“I watched the General video that came with our Hot Spot,” a drain cleaning specialist adds. “And I used it right from the get-go. I was very pleased!” Hot Spot, another remarked, “keeps costs down, quotes competitive, and customers happy!”

Common workplace abuse can’t compromise General’s tough tool, either. Rated at IP65, Hot-Spot is dust-proof, and dirt- and water-resistant. It aced the one-meter drop test. And its screen passed the 18-inch steel ball drop test.

Innovation Cements Leadership

Other inventive, productivity-boosting General products – like the ClogChopper® root cutting tool and our unique and often-imitated (but never duplicated) Kinetic Water Ram® drain cleaner tool – claim fame as equal heirs to Abe Silverman’s pioneering legacy.

Those innovative General technologies help customers maintain their competitive edge. And for over 50 years, Kinetic Water Ram has helped users handle more jobs in far less time than traditional methods permit.

The pioneering hand-held General drain cleaner safely, quickly, and cleanly clears clogged sinks, toilets and tubs with the kinetic energy of compressed air – not with electricity. It easily removes rust, grease, sediment and scale from lines up to 4” in diameter.

“I judge how good a tool is by how fast it pays for itself,” one pro observes. “With Kinetic Water Ram, General has one hell of a great product!”

Safe for system piping, Kinetic Water Ram directs 98% of the force down the line – and only 2% against pipe walls. The shock wave bypasses stacks and vents. There’s no pressure build-up. And it effectively handles stoppages on far sides of drum traps or series of tight bends – like lines in trailer homes.

That’s critical on fixed-rate commercial contract work. Using Kinetic Water Ram, another professional reports, for instance, servicing a 32-unit building in “less than half the time it takes to do the same job with conventional drain cleaning tools!”

Shape + Simplicity = Performance

The unique ClogChopper multi-function cutter for roots and other difficult clogs also remains among General’s recent – and remarkable – drain cleaning tools.

Affixed to General’s durable Flexicore cable, ClogChopper really digs into encrusted debris and root masses – easily grinding up stoppages, scale, and crystallized urine, without risking pipe damage. It’s especially excellent for clearing stacks, downspouts, and mains – as well as for drain lining jobs.

With six self-sharpening blades and innovative spherical design, the perfectly balanced, versatile ClogChopper easily negotiates tight bends. Connectors for most popular brands of drain cleaning snakes are also available.

“There’s nothing like it,” one customer enthusiastically reports. “It’s fantastic for clearing scale from inside lines. It flies around pipe bends!”

Past Is Prologue

Today, General boasts a full line of advanced drain cleaning tools and equipment – including reliable drum-type and sectional drain cleaning machines, gas and electric powered water jetters, sewer inspection cameras and pipe location systems, acoustical water leak location equipment, pipe freezing tools, pipe thawing systems, and accessories.

The company’s worldwide sales & marketing efforts include French and Spanish websites, expanded social media platforms, and a YouTube channel filled with demos and instructional videos. Yet General, its staff proudly notes, sells only through wholesalers supporting its distribution channels.

Abe Silverman’s lasting legacy of innovative, professional plumbing 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% of General’s workforce remains multi-generational – with children often working shoulder-to-shoulder with their parents. Even the company’s independent sales force remarkably reflects two and three generations representing General equipment.

General continues its leadership role in innovative drain cleaning and inspection technologies. And with a nine-decade heritage, the people of General keep working hard to serve even more generations of customers to come with the “Toughest Tools Down The Line”!

For more information, contact the Drain Brains® at General at 800-245-6200 or by email [email protected]You can also contact us using our online form. Lastly, use our Where to Buy page to find a retailer or distributor nearest to you. Thank you for sharing in our success!


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Success Stories

Plumbing pro Jake Albright likes reliability, ruggedness, and convenience in his drain cleaning tools. That’s why the ultra-compact, handheld Gen-Eye Micro-Scope® video inspection system remains a key part of his equipment arsenal. “It’s great for inspecting all sorts of small drains –…
Jake Albright Florida
Grease clogged pipes produce problems.  But the right drain cleaning equipment, Chris Fantauzzo contends, turns those problems into profits. “Health inspectors want restaurants to clean grease traps regularly,” Mercer Drain Cleaning Service’s owner says.  Bar owners, municipal authorities, and homeowners, he…
Chris Fantauzzo Trenton, NJ
For most inside jobs, Michael Williams of Just Drains LLC favors two General classics – Super-Vee® and Mini-Rooter®. The hand-held Super-Vee easily unclogs sink, tub, and laundry drain lines up to 3” in diameter. “My personal Super-Vee is over 20 years old,”…
Michael Williams Philadelphia, PA