Old Goop on Drain Pipes - What is it?

Often when I take apart OLD plastic drain piping under sinks I find some really sticky brown material on the threads. Usually I see it on black ABS pipe. Apparently put on by plumbers long ago. Stuff is so goopy/sticky I assume not only did it seal threads but also keep from working loose. Very difficult to remove.
Anyone know what it is or if it's still used?
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Sounds like Permatex #3 Aviation Grade sealant. Still a staple in many A & E and car mechanics toolboxes. Treasured by Chevy motor builders for those wretched intake manifold gaskets and the Mopar guys for water pump gaskets. Personally, I like it for all manner of thread sealing. Disassembly is helped by a bit of heat, and the sealant is soluble in alcohol. Great stuff for assembly of Lycoming and VW air cooled engine case halves, too. The product has been around since before WW II I am told.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

Maybe, but doesn't seem at all likely for plumbing, particularly drain lines that aren't pressurized.
I would strongly suspect it was a pipe dope but what specific one in particular I don't know...
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