PVC Pipe was invented by Waldo Semon who was working for BF Goodrich in the 1920's however it was several years before it was a useful product.
Prior to using PVC pipe basement waterproofing contractors used to use clay drainage pipe - these clay drain tile were usually around 2-4 inches in diameter and were usually cut into 12-14 inch sections. PVC Pipe works well for basement drainage however unlike its predecessor it was now produced in 10 ft lengths. This is one of the disadvantage of a PVC Pipe & Stone System - unlike a clay tile system which allowed ground water to enter in the 1/2" to 1" spaces between the clay drain tile a full 360 degree around the drain pipe. With PVC pipe in 10 ft sections the only way ground water to enter the pipe is from the 3/4" holes drilled in the bottom of the PVC pipe. When silty soils are present, small particles can eventually blocks these holes and render the entire drainage system useless.
The true advantage of a clay drain tile drainage system was that this type of system could be 80% clogged and yet still be able to drain ground water under the basement slab. Some basement waterproofing companies still consider it the best basement waterproofing system. So even though it has many disadvantages it is still consider by many as good if not better then other more modern basement waterproofing solutions.
Some contractors decided to take regular PVC pipe and cut it into 1 foot sections just like these old clay drain tile systems. This improved the effectiveness of PVC Pipe & Stone System.