A steam pipe is simply a conveyance for steam. The steam is generally used to power an engine, whether it be a locomotive, generator, steam shovel or boat.
Steam pipes typically have a range of temperature between 40 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain specialized steam pipes, however, can reach as much as 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many specialized coatings are available to control the surface temperature of steam pipes. These insulating compounds range from metal and ceramic coatings to resins and fiberglass applications.
James Watt is considered the father of steam power, having converted steam pipes and engines into efficient means of producing energy. His inventions and patents took place in the late 18th century.