It might be a slightly odd way to phrase it but there is a manhole cover culture throughout the world. This phrase refers to various types of manholes, the artistry that goes into creating them and the people who love them. If you’ve found this article in a random search, there’s a good chance you have given little thought to manhole covers, but they can, in fact, be quite decorative and beautiful.

What is a manhole?

A manhole is access point that leads to an underground system of pipes utility framework. The inside of the manhole is outfitted with steps to allow a person or persons to climb down into the hole. A manhole cover is something nearly everyone has seen before though they likely don’t think much of it. A manhole cover is a kind of flat plug used to cover the openings leading to underground utility vaults. These can be lifted to allow access to authorized personnel who need to make underground repairs. A manhole may also be referred to as a utility hole, cable chamber, inspection chamber, access chamber, maintenance hole or confined space.

What are the types of manhole covers?

Composite or Fiberglass manholes: These manholes are made of fiberglass and often used where infiltration, or corrosion by hydrogen sulfide caused by sewer gas is a concern. Also wherever structures need to be integrated in a factory before placement, a composite manhole would be used in this case as well.Metal manholes: One of the most common and oldest materials to be used to make manhole covers. Precast Concrete: concrete is cast in a mold before being cured in a controlled environment to harden it. Glass reinforced plastic: Also known as fiberglass, this material is made of plastic but strengthened with glass. These along with other composite materials are becoming more common as restrictions on how heavy manhole covers can be is restricted. The composite materials are considerably lighter than metal.

What do manhole covers look like around the world?

Most manhole covers are circular however many are square and occasionally triangular. Triangular covers are being replaced by square and circular ones since this design is often too small to easily allow access. Some can still be found in Nashua, New Hampshire. They are often imprinted with a kind of raised grate or weave pattern along with the name of the city they are in and the manufacturer of the manhole cover. Some can even be decorative.

Despite weighing around 300 pounds manhole cover theft is actually a problem because all that weight means that the covers can be sold for scrap. Deteriorating economic conditions have made this phenomenon more common. Not only is this expensive to the cities from which the covers are stolen, it is also dangerous. Several deaths have been caused due to people falling in or having accidents caused by missing manhole covers.

If this article has interested you, please take the time to look up decorative manhole covers which are sometimes used in cities or further painted by artists for a unique style of art. Take a look around your city and see what kind of manhole covers are there, but most importantly, watch your step!