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The first large-scale valves were used to control the flow of water in aqueducts and pipes in farming and city water supplies, and pressures were relatively low. Plug valves were the most common type, and changed little in design from ancient times up to the industrial revolution. The first time a valve had to meet a severe requirement was for high-pressure steam in early boilers and steam engines. Regulator valves capable of controlling the heat and pressure of steam had to be constructed of stronger material (brass, usually) and designed to much closer tolerances. These were the precursors of the valves that found their way into the petroleum industry.
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