Spec Rubber: An American Success Story

Underneath the ground, all over North America, there is a network of piping systems that delivers water to your home. Every time you turn on a tap, the water that enters your tub or your glass flows from miles away.

It’s a modern marvel of engineering: twist a knob, get water in a moment. Since 1968, Specification Rubber Products (or Spec Rubber, as we’re called) has been proud to play a part in that experience, and it all started with a vision to deliver something as essential to water to our local communities: meaningful work.

This is the story of Specification Rubber Products: how the company grew from one small building in a rural Alabama town to today providing high-quality, American-made gaskets and products to over twenty-five countries across the globe.

Our Founders’ Vision

In 1968, when our doors opened for the first time, 75% of ductile iron piping used in America’s waterworks industry came from the foundries and foothills of Birmingham, Alabama. 

At the time, America was going through a growth spurt: a massive boom in infrastructure dating from the end of World War II, when our GIs came home and started having children and building communities across the country.  

Those new families needed water. No one wanted to stay stuck in a past where you needed to depend on a well, especially not in rural areas. That’s why the industry laid as much ductile pipe as it could get its hands on – but it wasn’t just the pipes we needed. 

The founders of Spec Rubber – including E.W. “Bud” Quiggle” – saw this unprecedented growth as not just an opportunity for modernization, but a chance to provide something even greater: opportunity. 

By manufacturing the rubber gaskets needed to ensure the water stayed in the pipes where it belonged – on the way to your house – and not leaking into the earth, the founders would help support communities on multiple levels. Not only would we help deliver water, we’d help deliver jobs. 

The vision of being a responsible and valued neighbor, providing reliable work while delivering an essential product at an affordable price, led the founders to that moment in 1968 when our doors opened for the very first time.

Our History: From Alabaster to the World

The very first Spec Rubber facility was modest by today’s standards: 18,000 square feet, sprawling across a very rural town called Alabaster.

The location was advantageous because it was just a short drive away from the ductile pipe companies that dotted the landscape in nearby Birmingham.

They were our first customers: companies that needed reliable rubber gaskets for water pipes so Americans could all enjoy the benefits of clean water on demand. 

Success came quickly; in just a year, Spec Rubber became a part of a rapidly growing family of companies that today is known as AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company (itself founded in 1905 in Birmingham). 

In 1975, we took our next major leap forward with the production of the Tyton Joint Gaskets – a product that effectively doubled our business. It wasn’t just the technological advance of a newer, more efficient product that fueled this surge; it was also our growing reputation for high-quality products delivered to exact specifications at a price companies could afford.

Even though the 1970’s were filled with economic turmoil, Spec Rubber kept producing home-grown ingenuity and hard work. It didn’t take long for our company to achieve the highest standards in the industry; in 1992, we achieved the NSF-61 Product Listing Certification, followed in just two years by the coveted ISO 9001 quality certification, marking our products as things customers could count on to do their job and then some.

We also branched out from rubber gaskets to a wider range of essential products, including specialty mechanical molded goods for industrial applications. We’ve innovated with groundbreaking technology like our Barracuda® Gasket, which was released in 2014 and provides an easy (and colorful) way to show if a pipe joint is properly installed and restrained.

And we partner with customers who have unique requirements that call for custom-engineered solutions – a little old-fashioned American ingenuity and know-how to solve problems that take more than just any part off a shelf.

From NSF-61 flat gaskets to mechanical joint gaskets and more, our products have branched out from serving the waterworks industry to delivering quality for applications in agriculture, energy, mining, and beyond.

We like to say that if it’s made from molded rubber, we can make it (and we probably have).

Our Community: Only in America

In a modern era where outsourcing has become the main way to do business – and in a country where domestic manufacturing has fallen from its historic highs during the middle of the 20th Century – Spec Rubber is proud to produce our products right here in the USA, from the same local teammates you may see in the grocery store or at the ballpark. 

That guiding vision of delivering economic opportunity to our friends, families, and neighbors has helped us stay focused on providing jobs in a positive environment, one where teammates know they’re valued for their contributions.

Our production facilities employ over 70 teammates, some of whom come to us right out of high school and stay with us until they retire. 

We’ve been named the Best Place to Work in the North American Rubber Industry by Rubber News, selected as a finalist for Manufacturer of the Year by the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network, local Business of the Year by the Shelby County Chamber, and one of the states’ Safest Manufacturers – all a part of our commitment to change American-made industries for the better.

Today, we support our communities and focus on giving back and being a civic-minded company, one on which our teammates and their families can rely. Even though our products can be found all over the globe, each one got its start right here in America – and so did we.

Our Future – And Yours

It’s been more than half a century since our first gasket rolled off the line in 1968. We began with a clear vision of supporting a crucial industry in an area of high need and continued to drive innovation and provide opportunity to the American workforce.

Our job isn’t complete; there will always be problems that need solving, teammates that need to make a living, and families that need clean water and close-knit communities. Spec Rubber is proud to be a part of it all. 

We encourage you to learn more about our company, our mission, and the vital role domestic manufacturers play in the economic health of our people and country.

And the next time you turn on the tap, think of us – we’ll be thinking of you.

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