Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Technology Wood Stave Water Pipe

Wood Stave Water Pipes

Installations of wood stave water pipes.

Elisha Putnam installed a flume to deliver water to a flour mill in Troy, New York in 1816 using open-ended barrels connected end to end.  Putnam received a patent on December 31, 1816 and another on November 18, 1818, but no copies of the patent are known to exist.  Putnam was the superintendent of the Albany Water Works from 1812 to 1818.  This was the earliest known wood stave pipeline.

Connecticut engineer Bradley H. Hull starting building wood stave flumes around 1851 to deliver water to mills, but no specific examples have been identified.  His 1891 articles provide details of the pipe construction.  This wood stave flumes were later called barrel flumes.

The first wood stave pipe for a water works system was built in Rochester, New York between 1867 and 1870, bringing water from a lake 16 mile distant through a 24 inch pipeline.  The pipe was unable to hold water and apparently burst during testing.  Philadelphia engineer John C. Trautwine provided the best description of the pipe's construction details in an 1868 report, which seem to closely match the details of Hull's earlier pipelines.  It is not known who designed or built this pipeline.

The next wood stave pipeline was 3½ miles long and 12-inches in diameter built in 1873 to bring water to Middletown, New York from Shawangunk Kill.  A legal dispute over rights to use the water resulted in a six-year delay in using the pipeline, which reports indicate either had three small leaks or was a complete failure.

John T. Fanning built a 72-inch wood stave pipeline at Manchester, New Hampshire in 1874, for which he provided many details in articles and books.

Wood stake pipelines became very popular after a notable 1883 installation in Denver, Colorado, and were widely used until at least the 1920s. Several companies manufactured wood stave pipes, include the Wyckoff firm in Elmira, New York.


References
1816 U.S. Patent, Mode of preventing the waste of water in conduit pipes, December 31, 1816, Elisha Putnam of Albany, N.Y.  This description is from Letter from the secretary of State, transmitting a list of the names of persons to whom patents have been issued, for the invention of any new or useful art, or machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any improvement thereon, from January 1st, 1816, to January 1st, 1817. January 6, 1817..  In later lists of patent the description is changed to "improvement in conduit pipes."

1818 U.S. Patent, Improvement in conduit pipes, November 18, 1818, Elisha Putnam of Albany, N.Y.

1868 "Rochester City Water Works, Report of Messrs. W. Milner Roberts and John C. Trautwine on the Rochester Water Works, October 1868," Rochester Union & Advertiser, December 9, 1868, Page 1.  Roberts and Trautwine were well-known engineers.
The construction presents one feature which at first sight would create an unfavorable impression, but which was rendered imperative by the small amount of means available for the work.  I allude to the use of a wooden main instead of a cast iron one, for carrying the water about twenty-five miles from Richmond Mills to the city, together with an interval of about two miles of sixteen-inch main of double-riveted and soldered galvanized sheet-iron.  This last was substituted for wood on account of its superior strength on that portion of the line at which the pressure of the water is the greatest.  The wooden main is in sections of about sixteen feet in length, and is formed of staves of pine or hemlock two inches thick, carefully prepared by machinery.  They are twenty-four inches in diameter at the down stream end and twenty-eight inches at the upstream end.  They are strongly banded with wrought iron hoops one quarter of an inch thick by from one and one half to two inches wide, and tightly driven at intervals of from one to two feet apart according to the strain brought upon them by the pressure of the water.  They are thoroughly coated outside with warm tar.  Owing to the completeness of the machinery at the work shop, and to the systematic course of proceeding, these pipes are prepared with such rapidity that a mile in length of them can readily be furnished in a week.  Both the wooden pipe and those of galvanized iron have been subjected to thorough tests to prove their entire adequacy so far as strength is concerned.  As to their durability we must, of course, rely upon the results of experience elsewhere for forming an opinion.
About thirteen miles, or one-half of the entire length of the wooden main, has already been laid, extending from near the city southward, also many crossings of natural streams and canals throughout the line.  The crossings are all buried below the bottoms or beds of the channels, the pipes follow the undulations of the ground.  All the pipes laid in the city itself, are of cast-iron, and very in diameter from four to sixteen inches. 

1868 Map of Ephratah, Fulton Co., from Atlas of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, New York.

1869 Williamsport Daily Gazette and Bulletin, December 15, 1869. | Reprinted here |
Disastrous Fire at Williamsport. Destruction of Woodward’s Wooden Pipe Factory.
A disastrous fire visited our city yesterday morning completely destroying the large wooden pipe mills of Mr. John a Woodward, situated on the South side of the basin, nearly opposite Elmira St. The facts in relation to the cause of the fire are as follows: the mill had been shut down for the winter, but on Monday and order was received from Elmira for a number of “thimbles” or connections for pipe. Mr. Woodward being desires of filling the order, decided to start up this morning and manufacture them . Accordingly at half past five o’clock he proceeded to the mill in company with the foreman, and proceeded to fire up. The coal oil lamp which lighted his operation being nearly burned out, he extinguished and lighted another lamp and proceeded to fill the one which he had been using; owing probably to the warmth of the lam generating gas, an explosion occurred. Mr. Woodward naturally threw the blazing lamp oil from him and they fell in the brick floor, breaking the lamp and spreading the oil over the floor, and in less time than it takes to tell it, the whole side of the mill was in flames. Mr. Woodward estimates his loss in the neighborhood of 815,000 on which he has an insurance of 85,000 in the Lycoming Mutual insurance company. The sheds and outhouses of the main building containing all the manufactured stock, were saved.

1869 Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, December 17, 1869, Page 2.
The large wooden pipe mills of John A. Woodward, at Williamsport, were burned on Tuesday morning, the fire originating from the explosion of a coal oil lamp.  Loss $15,000, insured in the Lycoming Mutual.

1872 "Detrick & Platt, Agents for Wyckoff's Patent Water and Gas Pipe," advertisement, Wyoming Democrat (Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania), August 21, 1872, Page 3.

1873 "Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company," Detroit Free Press, March 14, 1873, Page 4.
One to sixteen inches, in sections eight feet long.  Incorporated on the 1st of March, 1871 for the purpose of manufacturing "Wyckoff's Imperishable Gas and Water Pipe."

1873 Hobbie, Ayrault & Co., Sole Manufacturers, in the New England and Middle States of Wyckoff's Patent Water and Gas Pipe for Water Works, Gas Works, Railroad Tanks, Tanneries, Breweries, Coal Mines, Farmers, and for Water Courses of Every Description.  Factories at Elmira, N.Y. and Tonawanda, N.Y.

1875 Indianapolis News, October 23, 1875, Page 2.
The Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company of Bay City. Mich , has failed. Its liabilities are $130,000.

1875 The History Commercial Advantages and Future Prospects of Bay City, Michigan
Pages 66-68:  Planing Mills, Wooden Pipe Works, Etc.
Page 109:  Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company.  Commenced business about the 1st of June, 1871.

1876 "A Water Conduit under pressure," by John T. Fanning, read March 30, 1876. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 6:69-73 (January - June, 1877)

1876 Farrington versus Woodward, 41 Pa. 259, October 9, 1876, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
On July 25, 1866, John A. Woodward and Thomas B. Farrington formed a partnership for the purpose of manufacturing water-pipe, &c. at Williamsport.  On March 3, 1868, the firm of Woodward & Farrington was dissolved; Woodward bought the business. 

1877 "Water Pipe," The Morning Astorian (Astoria, Oregon), November 25, 1877, Page 3.

1877 A practical treatise on water-supply engineering relating to the hydrology, hydrodynamics, and practical construction of water-works, in North America. With numerous tables and illustrations, by John Thomas Fanning.
Pages 439-441:  Example of Conduit under Heavy Pressure
Pages 491-492:  Wood pipes; Wyckoff's Patent Pipe. 

1878 "The American Pipe Company's Pipe," Pacific Rural Press (San Francisco, California), 15(7):106 (February 16, 1878)
Some 18 or 20 years ago the Wyckoff pipe was introduced into the Eastern States, and at once attention was attracted to its peculiar adaptation for the purpose of conveying gas or water.  It was found that when compared with iron, the wooden pipe was not only cheaper but better for certain purposes, and in March last an organization styled the American Pipe Company was organized in this city with a capital stock of $250,000, for the purpose of manufacturing this pipe and thoroughly introducing it on this coast.

1878 History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y., by Albert S. Chambers
Page 222:  In 1803, Henry YAUNEY, who then owned and was operating a grist-mill on Garoga creek, purchased one hundred acres of land adjoining, and had a portion of it platted into small lots, thus laying the foundation for the present village of EPHRATAH.  In 1808 he built a saw-mill here, and in 1832, having previously removed his grist-mill, he erected a woolen-mill on the same site.   He was a captain in the war of 1812, and had command of the "Tillaborough Company" of about eighty men.  He was afterwards major of New York State militia.
The woolen-mill of L. & D. YAUNEY is a large stone structure, 40 by 80 feet and 4 stories high, with a dye-house attached, 38 by 40 feet.  It was erected in 1865 by the present proprietors, who commenced the manufacture of woolen goods the following year.  The building is conveniently arranged, the first floor being used as a finishing department, the second for warping and weaving, the third for carding, and the fourth for spinning . It is furnished with three sets of cards, 920 spindles, and all other machinery in due proportion. It is run by water power and heated by steam.

1881 US Patent 236,286, Mechanism for banding wooden pipes, January 4, 1881, Merrill F. Wilcox, of Bay City, Michigan, assignor of two-thirds to George P. Smith and Henry B. Smith, of same place.

1883 History of Bay County, Michigan with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers
Page 134:  The Michigan Pipe Company. 
In 1871 the Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company was established in Bay City. The business of manufacturing wood pipe with the Wyckoff patent augur was first started in Chicago, by Thomas B. Farrington and J. F. Temple, and in 1869 a stock company was organized, and extensive works started here. In January, 1881, this company was succeeded by the Michigan Pipe Company. The officers are I. H. Hill, president; C. E. Jennison, vice-president; H. B. Smith, secretary and treasurer. These gentlemen are all well known citizens of Bay City, and the works are now doing a very extensive and successful business. The pipe which they manufacture is being used in nearly every state, and the past year they have been crowded to their utmost capacity to fill orders. They manufacture water pipe, steam pipe casing and gas pipe, also chain pumps and tubing. Their works cover about ten acres, and give employment to an average of fifty men. In the Spring of 1882 the present salt block was built. The well was sunk by the old Atlantic Salt Company, and was one of the first salt wells sunk here. This institution is now one of the important contributors to the prosperity and wealth of Bay City.
M.F. Wilcox, superintendent of the works, came to Bay City with the original company in 1871, and has held the position of superintendent every since. He is a native of Ohio, and has been engaged at some kind of mill work for the most part of his life. He was with the company at Three Oaks, Mich. He is a very competent man, and when the present company was organized the managers gladly retained him in the place he had filled so many years.
A. A. Archer, engineer at the Michigan Pipe Works, came to Bay City with the Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company, having been in their employ at Three Oaks. He is a native of Oneida Co., N. Y. When thirteen years of age he shipped aboard a whaling ship, and for nine years followed sailing, visiting nearly every part of the world. In 1859 he returned to his native land, and in 1862 went into the service, where he remained two years, as Captain of Company C, One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio Volunteers. In 1871 he settled in Bay City, and has held his present position since the works first started. He has a wife and three children.

1884? Picture of wood stave pipe construction, probably in Denver, Colorado, from Denver Public Library

1885 "Wooden Water-Pipes," Building Age 7:226 (December, 1885)

1886 "Wooden Water Pipe," The Manufacturer and Builder, 18:4-5 (January, 1886)

1886 Hobbie and others v. Smith and others; Same v. Michigan Pipe Co., 27 Fed. Rep. 656, May 10, 1886, Circuit Court, Northern District of New York.

1886 Hydraulics, the Flow of Water Through Orifices, Over Weirs, and Through Open Conduits and Pipes, by Hamilton Smith, Jr.

1886 The Wyckoff pipe, water pipe, gas pipe and steam pipe casing, by Ayrault, Charlton & Company, Tonawanda, New York.

1886 The City of Troy and Its Vicinity  by Arthur James Weise
Page 309:  The Bessemer Steel Works. When in England, in 186i, Alexander L. Holley, of Troy, heard so much said respecting Henry Bessemer's discovery of a process by which pig-iron was decarbonized to convert it into steel, that on his return to Troy he induced John A. Griswold and John F. Winslow to become his partners in purchasing the American patents of the distinguished English engineer, bearing dates of February 12 and of August 25, 1856. In the summer of 1863, A. L. Holley went again to England, where in the following spring he obtained the right of making Bessemer steel in America. The site selected by Winslow, Griswold & Holley to erect a suitable building for a 2½ ton plant was that of the flour-mill built on the bank of the Hudson, south of the Wynants Kill, by Thomas L. Witbeck, in 1796, and to which he conducted water from the Defreest fulling mill by a "trunk made of juice boards and plank." When this raceway was washed away by a freshet, Elisha Putnam constructed in its place a conduit of headless barrels joined end to end, for which improved flume he obtained a patent December 31, 1816.

1887 US Patent 359,590, Wooden Pipe, March 22, 1887, Charles P. Allen, of Denver, Colorado.

1888 "The Use of Salt Glazed Vitrified Pipe in Water-Works Conduits," by Stephen E. Babcock, C.E., Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the American Water Works Association 9:29-46 (April 1888)  Also includes information on wood stave conduits.

1888 "The Use of Salt Glazed Vitrified Pipe in Water-Works Conduits," by Stephen E. Babcock, C.E., Engineering News 19:331-333 (April 28, 1888)

1888 George P. Smith and Henry B. Smith v. Miles Ayrault, 71 Mich. 475, October 12, 1888, Supreme Court of Michigan

1888 "The Michigan Pipe Company," advertisement, The Technic 4:xxiv (1888)
Wyckoff Water Pipe.  We are prepared to furnish upon application plans, specifications and estimates for water works, and will construct them complete, ready for distributing water.

1888 "Six-Foot Wooden Conduit for the Toronto Water Works," by T.J. McMinn, Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers 1:67-78 (February, 1888)

1890 U. S. Patent 438,516, Pipe-Casing, October 14, 1890, Arcalous Wyckoff and Ernest L. Wyckoff, of Elmira, New York.

1891 "The Proposed Works of the Pueblo Gravity Water Supply Co.," Engineering News 25:53-54 (January 17, 1891)  Wood stave conduit

1891 "Wooden Water Mains," by A. McL. Hawks, Engineering News 25:557-558 (June 13, 1891)

1891 "Wooden Water Mains," by B.H. Hull, Engineering News 25:594-595 (June 20, 1891)
CORRESPONDENCE. Wooden Water Mains.
Bridgeport, Conn., June 13, 1891. To The Editor of Engineering News:
Sir:— In the column of your valuable paper of this date I find an article from A. McL. Hawks on wooden water mains. Mr. Hawks refers to a wooden main at the water works at Manchester, N.H., put in use in 1874. It is mentioned as something entirely new.  This is a great mistake, as about 40 years ago I constructed, the first one I ever saw. It was constructed in 12-ft. lengths of 2-in. pine plank, made tapering, so that one end fitted into the other after the manner of a stovepipe. The bands were made solid, of different diameters, about ¼ in. thick and 2 ins. wide.
This plan of constructing wooden conduits was continued for many years, and many of them were constructed. It was, however, a difficult job always to make them tight at the connections, and in order to overcome the difficulty I commenced, some 10 years later, to make the staves break joints, using plain iron bands ? x 2 ins., having both ends welded on, and passing through a cast-iron piece, with nuts to draw up the staves tight together. This plan I have in my practice abandoned, and now have my bands made solid and of exact uniform size, or inside diameter, and uniform in width, so that they may be made continuous breaking joints. I have all the joints come under the bands, and use small jackscrews to bring the staves to a good tight joint, and put in what is called a closer, a stave fitted to fill the space driven in at the end of each stave. A dowel is put in of iron 1¼ ins. wide and 1-16 in. in thickness. The number of bands is governed by the pressure to be sustained. The durability of a conduit when laid above the ground, with air all around said conduit, is from 40 to 50 years; when partially exposed or covered, from 10 to 15 years; when burled under ground, with air excluded, an indefinite length of time. I have contracted for pipe from 10 to 8½ ft. in diameter, using 2- and 3-in. plank. Saddles are prepared for the conduit, 6 ft. on centers. The cost is generally about one-third that of iron, and these conduits are mostly used for mill purposes. I have put in a large number of feet during the last 10 years. B. H. Hull.
We are pleased to give space to the above contribution, as it contains many interesting points regarding the earlier use of wooden conduits in this country. Mr. Hawks cited the Manchester conduit as "one of the earlier examples" and "one of the best known," and not as "something entirely new," as Mr. Hull states above.—Ed. Eng. News.]

1891 North Tonawanda and Tonawanda, by D.F. Robbins
Pages 69-70:  WYCKOFF WATER PIPE FACTORY. AYRAULT BROTHERS & CO., PROPRIETORS.
An experience of over thirty years has demonstrated that for water pipe with an inside diameter from two to fourteen inches, wooden pipe is equal, and often superior, to cast iron. The business was commenced in Tonawanda thirty four years ago by I. S. Hobbie, the firm name successively changing to Hobbie, Ayrault & Co.; Ayrault, Charlton & Co. , and in 1866 to its present style. The plant covers four acres of ground with numerous mills, shops, ware houses, etc., fully equipped with motive power and with augers from one and one-fourth to fourteen inches in diameter. The larger sizes are hollow and the cores produced thereby are again bored for smaller sizes of pipe. White pine with sap removed is used, in sections about eight feet in length, with tenon and mortice forming a perfect joint when driven together. After being sufficiently dried the pipe is coated with imperishable cement and banded by hoop iron until they are safe for a pressure of 200 pounds. Good evidence sustains the claims for the Wyckoff pipe as superior to cast iron on the following points: Cheaper, more durable, less expense to lay, connections more readily made, does not make water impure, and is not injured by mineral water. Less liable to freeze, (pipes have never been known to burst so but that eighty pounds of pressure could be carried).  The freight is less, and in every important particular it is superior to iron pipe. This firm furnishes and lays complete systems of water works, and in addition to the forty or more men employed here, give employment to laborers in whatever city they put in works. They have just completed a S10,000 plant at Holland, N. Y., and an $8,000 plant at Union City, Pa.
Mr. Miles Ayrault, the senior member of the firm, has been for thirty years engaged in this trade, while his son, John, has been raised in the work, and Warren Ayrault has been fifteen years connected with the business.

1892 Hobbie et al. v. Jennison, 40 Fed. Rep. 887, March 4, 1889, Circuit Court Eastern District of Michigan

1892 US Patent 478,105, Wooden Pipe, July 5, 1892, Archie McL. Hawks, Tacoma, Washington

1892 Our County and Its People: A History of the Valley and County of Chemung, from the Closing Years of the Eighteenth Century, by Ausburn Towner.
Page 138:  Wyckoff, Arcalous, was born in Warren County, N. J., April 10, 1816. His parents moved to Tompkins County, N. Y., in 1817, where he was educated in the public schools. He remained at home until twenty five years old. In 1841 he came to Wellsburg, Chemung County. He married three times, first, May 29, 1842, Frances G., daughter of Dr. Hopkins, of Wellsburg, by whom he had four sons, two of whom died in infancy and two grew to manhood: George W. and Ernest L. His first wife died August 10, 1854. For his second wife he married, May 19, 1857, Melissa D. Treeman, who died August 31, 1865. For his third wife be married, April 10, 1877. Caroline C. Benedict Hull, of Elmira, N. Y. His son George W. married Sibyl Welling, of Orange County, N. Y., January 26, 1870. He died in 18S3 aged forty years. Ernest L., the only surviving son, was born in Elmira, June 20, 1852, and was educated in the public schools of the city. February 7, 1872, he married Alice C. Brooks, of Owego, Tioga County, N. Y. Mr. Wyckoff, soon after arriving at Wellsburg, in 1841, began to manufacture fanning mills and potash and also conducted a general grocery business. About 1851 he moved to Elmira and began the manufacture of chain pumps, but soon went to Tompkins County and various other places in the State of Ohio, returning to Elmira in 1854, where he has since made his permanent home. He then began to manufacture wood water pipe and chain pumps, which have been appreciated by their patrons and financially successful to the proprietors. George W. and Ernest L. were associated with their father in the business until the death of George W. The business is now carried on under the firm name of A. Wyckoff & Son. Mr. Wyckoff is the inventor and patentee of several useful inventions.

1892 History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, by John Franklin Meginness.
Page 356:  Williamsport.  The Wyckoff Pipe Company, manufacturers of all kinds of wooden water pipe and tubing for underground wires.
Page 830:  Frank T. Wyckoff, proprietor of the Wyckoff Pipe and Creosoting Company, was born in Elmira, New York, September 17, 1856, son of C. W. and Cynthia (Treman) Wyckoff, natives of New York State. He was educated in the public schools of Elmira, and afterwards attended the Seward’s College. In 1882 he came to Williamsport and established his present plant, where he has since been engaged in the manufacture of wooden water pipes, wooden casings for steam pipes, tubing for electrical wires, and creosoting lumber. It is the only manufactory of wooden pipes in the West Branch valley, and the only one in the State that prepares creosoted lumber. Mr. Wyckoff does a very extensive business, and since coming to Williamsport has met with gratifying success.

1891 US Patent 443,339, Wooden Pipe, January 9, 1891, Charles W. Dwelle, of Denver, Colorado.

1892 "Pipe Irrigation - Wooden Stave Pipe," by Samuel Fortier, Annual of the American Society of Irrigation Engineers for 1892-93

1893 US Patent 494,996, Wooden Pipe, April 4, 1893, Charles W. Dwelle, of Denver, Colorado.

1893 Hobbie v. Jennison, 149 U.S. 355, May 10, 1893, U.S. Supreme Court
An assignee for Michigan, of a patent for an improvement In pipes, made, sold and delivered in Michigan, pipes made according to the patent, knowing that they were to be laid in the streets of a city in Connecticut, a territory the right for which the seller did not own under the patent, and they were laid in that city: Held, under Adams v. Burke, 17 Wall. 453, that the seller was not liable, in an action for infringement, to the owner of the patent for Connecticut.

1893 Wooden stave pipe for high water pressure : the great Colorado invention, by Charles P. Allen

1894 "The Water Works of Denver, Colorado," by James D. Schuyler, Read September 20, 1893, Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 31:135-173 (February, 1894)

1894 "Wooden Water Pipe," Engineering Record, 29:380-381 (May 12, 1894)

1894 Wooden stave pipe, Allen's patent, by Excelsior Wooden Pipe Co.

1895 "Wooden Stave Pipe," by R.C. Gemmell, B.S.'84, Michigan Technic  New Series 8:34-46 (1895)
Pages 35-36:  We have record of a 12 inch pipe, 3½ miles long, made of 2¾ inch pipe staves, constructed at Middletown, New York, 1867.; and of many others, of larger diamater, built at different towns in New York, and New England.

1895 Landmarks of Monroe County, New York, by William Farley Peck and Herman Le Roy Fairchild
Pages 78-79:  Isaac S. Hobbie.  He then engaged in the manufacture of water and gas pipe and the construction of water and gas works, having factories at Elmira and Tonawanda, N. Y. In 1865 he moved to Elmira.  In 1877 the two factories were consolidated and Mr. Hobbie removed to Tonawanda, where he continued business until 1886, when he withdrew, being succeeded by Ayrault, Charlton & Co.

1896 "The Astoria City Water Works," by Arthur L. Adams, Presented May 6, 1896.  Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 36:1-64 (December, 1896)

1896 "The Michigan Pipe Co.," advertisement, The Michigan Engineers' Annual (1896)

1898 "Wyckoff Wood Water Pipe," The Black Diamond 20(27):744 (July 2, 1898)

1898 "The Construction of Wooden Stave Pipe," The Engineering Record 38(19):400-401 (October 8, 1898)

1898 Bay City Illustrated
Page 33: Michigan Pipe Company

1898 Our County and Its People: A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York, Volume 2, edited by Truman C. White.  Myles Ayrault was Isaac S. Hobbie's brother-in-law.
Page 185:  Myles Ayrault. In 1868 he changed from the hardware business to the manufacturing of the Wyckoff Patent Water Pipe. In 1876 he removed to Bay City, Mich., where he continued the same business till 1886, when he again returned to New York State, erecting the present plant and continued the manufacture of water pipe.

1898 Our County and Its People: A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York, Volume 1, edited by Truman C. White
Page 599:  The Wyckoff water pipe works were started in 1857 by I. S. Hobbie, who was succeeded by Hobbie, Ayrault & Co., Ayrault, Carlton & Co., and in 1866, Ayrault Brothers & Co. 

1899 "Improved Wyckoff Water-Pipe," by George L. Wells, Civil Engineer, Bay City, Mich., Reading January 11, 1899, Journal of the New England Water Works Association 13(4):288-303 (June, 1899)
The writer has not access to records at the time of writing this paper, but would give as an off hand estimate of the amount of improved Wyckoff pipe in use as 1,500 miles. The total mileage of the pipe having wooden shells such as stave pipe, etc., will greatly exceed this mileage. The writer knows of but three systems in New England, those being at Antrim, Belmont and Penacook, all in the state of New Hampshire. There are a number of these works in Pennsylvania, New York, the Middle and Western States and Territories. Michigan probably has a greater mileage than any other one state. Some of the largest systems being Bay City, Michigan, containing about 35 miles of improved Wyckoff pipe, North Tonawanda, N. Y., 31 miles, with Tonawanda, N. Y., an adjoining municipality, with 14 miles more, Ishpenning, Michigan, 26 miles, Ionia, Michigan, 18 miles, DuBois, Pa., 16 miles. In Denver, Colorado, there is a considerable quantity of the pipe used and the entire system at Cripple Creek, Colo., is of improved Wyckoff pipe, but the writer does not remember the exact mileage in use in these places. There are a large number of municipal water works systems using from three to twelve miles of this pipe. It is a notable fact that the iron mining towns of Ishpenning, Negaunee and Norway, Michigan, make large use of improved Wyckoff pipe in their systems. 

1899 "Stave Pipe - Its Economic Design and the Economy of its Use," by Arthur L. Adams, Presented October 19, 1898.  Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 41:27-84 (June, 1899)

1900 The civil engineer's pocket-book, of mensuration, trigonometry, surveying, hydraulics, by John Cresson Trautwine
Page 294:  Water Pipes. A. Wyckoff and Son, Wooden water pipe.

1900 Pictures of wood stave pipe construction, from University of Washington

1901 US Patent 684,156, Wooden Pipe, October 8, 1901, Merrill F. Wilcox of Bay City, Michigan, assignor to Michigan Pipe Co., of same place.

1901 US Patent 688,372, Mechanism for banding wooden pipes, December 10, 1901, Merrill F. Wilcox of Bay City, Michigan, assignor to Michigan Pipe Co., of same place.

1901 "Conveyance of Water in Irrigation Canals, Flumes, and Pipes," by Samuel Fortier, Bulletin of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 43, December 17, 1900.  | Also here |

1903 "Death of Frank Wyckoff," Williamsport Sun-Gazette, February 21, 1903, Page 6.  Frank was a nephew of Arcalous Wyckoff.

1904 "A Wood-Stave Conduit for the Water Supply of Atlantic City," Kenneth Allen, Engineer and Superintendent of Water Works, Atlantic City, N.J., Journal of the New England Water Works Association 18(4):375-395 (December 1904)

1904 "Wooden Stave Conduits," Fire and Water Engineering 36:292 (December 17, 1904)

1904 "Some applications of wooden stave pipe," by John Birkinbine, Read October 15, 1904, Proceedings of the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia 22:12-27  (1905)

1905 "A Wood-Stave Conduit for the Water Supply of Atlantic City," by Kenneth Allen, Engineer and Superintendent of Water Works, Atlantic City, N.J., Water and Gas Review 15(8):24+ (February 1905)

1905 US Patent 790,978, Wood-Pipe Joint, May 30, 1905, Cassius Carroll Peck, of Rochester, New York.

1905 "Wyckoff Patent Wood Water Pipe," Engineering Review 15(12):22 (December, 1905) | A. Wyckoff & Son Co. advertisement on page ix. |

1905 Bulletin of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers 35(4):409 (December, 1905)
Death of Levi Yanney, Ephrata, N.Y., April 12, Aged 71 years.  He was the proprietor of the Yanney Mills.

1905 "A Study of the Design of Steel and of Wooden Stave Pipe Lines for Power Purposes," by Norman Moore Chivers, Department of Civil Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1905 Canadian Pipe Company, Limited : machine wire wound wooden pipe, iron specials and fittings for waterworks systems, waterworks contractors.

1906 "Wyckoff's Wood Water Pipe," The Engineer 43:113 (January 15, 1906)

1906 "Bradley H. Hull," Papers and Transactions of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers 22:73-74 (1906)

1907 "Additional Information on The Durability of Wooden Stave Pipe," by Arthur L. Adams, Presented at the meeting of October 17, 1906.  Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 58:65-96 (1907)

1908 "Positive Proof That Wood Pipe Endures," A. Wyckoff & Son Company advertisement, Selling Magazine, 5(2):36 (June, 1908)

1909 "Isaac Smith Hobbie Dies in Tonawanda," Buffalo Evening News, May 20, 1909, Page 27.

1909 "Enormous Pipe Lines Made of Wooden Staves," Popular Mechanics 12(2):143 (August, 1909)

1910 "The Water Supply of the El Paso and Southwestern Railway from Carrizozo to Santa Rosa, N. Mex.," by J. L. Campbell, M. Am. Soc. C. E., Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 70:164-189 (December, 1910)
Pages 167-168:  Wood Pipe. — Machine-made, spirally-wound, wood-stave pipe, made in sections from 8 to 12 ft. long, with the exterior surface covered with a heavy coat of asphalt, was selected in preference to unprotected, continuous, stave pipe. The diameters were not so great as to require the latter.
The first 40 miles of wood pipe was furnished by the Wykoff Wood Pipe Company, of Elmira, N. Y., and the Michigan Pipe Company, of Bay City, Mich., delivered the remaining 76 miles.
The pipe is wound with flat steel bands of from 14 to 18 gauge and from 1 to 2 in. wide. The machine winds at any desired pitch and tension. At each end the spiral wind is doubled two turns, the second lying over the first and developing a frictional resistance similar to that of a double hitch of a rope around a post. The ends of the band are held by screw nails or a forged clip, the latter being the better. It has two or three spikes on the under side which seat into the stave, and two side lugs on top which turn down over the band. The latter passes twice over the seat on the clip, the first turn holding the clip to the stave, while the second turn is held by the lugs which are hammered down over it. The end of the band is then turned back over the clip and held down by a staple.
The staves are double-tongued and grooved and from If to 2 in. thick. The smaller thickness is sufficient. The exterior face of the staves should be turned concentric with the axis of the pipe and form a circle, so that the band will have perfect contact with the wood.
The joints are formed by turning a chamber in one end of the pipe and a tenon on the other, or both ends are turned to a true exterior circle and driven into a wood or steel sleeve. The chamber and tenon were used in this work.
Finally, each piece of pipe is covered with as much hot asphalt as it will carry. 

1910 A brief description of the development and usage of wooden stave pipe, by Shirley Clark, Redwood Manufacturers' Company, February 7, 1910.

1911 A. Wyckoff & Son Company advertisement, The Heating and Ventilating Magazine 8(1):vii (January, 1911)

1911 "Wood Stave Pipe:  Some Questions Answered," by T. Chalkley Hatton, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the American Water Works Association 31:161-172 (June, 1911)

1911 "Use of Wood Pipe is Again Revived," Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas), July 23, 1911, Page 4.

1911 "The Water Board Gives Audience to the Pipe Men," The Charlotte News (Charlotte, North Carolina), August 15, 1911, Page 1. | Part 2 |
Wyckoff Company promoting their wood stave pipe.

1911 Electrical World 58:653 (September 9, 1911)
Ephratah, N.Y.- The Mohawk Hydro-Electric Company is reported to have purchased the Yauney Woolen Mill and about twelve acres of land.

1911 "Court Scores Widow in Wyckoff Case," The New York Times, October 22, 1911, Page 5.
Condemns Mrs. Mitchell's dealings in Regard to Estate of First Husband, Frank T. Wyckoff.  Control of the Wyckoff Pipe and Creosoting Company, Incorporated, of New York, and ownership of forty shares of Metropolitan Street Railroad Company stock figure in a decision made to-day in the Stamford Probate Court by Judge Charles D. Lockwood.

1911 "A High-Head Hydroelectric Development in New York," Engineering Record 64(22):627-629 (November 25, 1911)  This was built on the site of the 1850 mill that used a shorter wood stave pipe.
Illustrated description of a 5,000 h.p. plant at Ephratah, N.Y., supplied by a two-mile wood-stave pipe line from 78 to 96 inches in diameter.  The wooden pipe was supplied by the Pacific Coast Pipe Company.

1911 Wooden Stave Pipe, built by Redwood Manufacturers Co., successors to Excelsior Pipe Co. San Francisco.

1912 The Mills Power Company against Mohawk Hydro-Electric Company, In the Court of Appeals of the State of New York.

1912 "Would Not Enjoin Brown Bros.," Elmira Morning Telegram, January 7, 1912,  Page 10.  Two competing companies were making Wyckoff pipes in Elmira as the patents had expired.

1912 "The 48-inch Continuous Wood Stave Main Absecon Station to Atlantic City, N.J.," by George L. Watson, The Journal of the American Society of Engineering Contractors, 4:301-352 (1912)

1912 "Forty-Eight Inch Wood Stave Force Main Built for the Water Department of Atlantic City," by L. Van Gilder, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the American Water Works Association 32:313-316 (June, 1912)

1912 Engineering Record 65(26):112 (June 29, 1912)
Advertisements for Michigan Pipe Company, A. Wyckoff & Son Co., Pacific Coast Pipe Co., and Redwood Manufacturers Co.  More on pages following, including Portland Wood Pipe Co., Standard Wood Pipe Co., Eastern Manufacturing Co., Washington Pipe & Foundry Co., Pacific Tank & Pipe Co.

1912 "The Wood Stave Force Main of the Atlantic City, N.J., Water Works," by L. Van Gilder, Municipal Engineering 43(1):29-30 (July, 1912)

1912 Wyckoff wood pipe: machine made wood-stave pipe for water works systems, power plants, mill and manufacturing plants, mining and railroad water supplies : also, Wyckoff's water-proof patent steam pipe casting for underground and exposed steam and hot water pipe, by Wyckoff Supply Company.

1912 Proceedings of the Parliament of South Australia, Volume 3
Page 78:  Some wood stave pipe lines.  Elmira (N.Y.) - The Elmira Water Company has been using wood stave pipe for some of its mains for over forty years, and these pipes are still in daily use.  They have several miles.  Upon personal examination, the pipe and bands were in their original condition.

1914 "Rebuilding an Old Wood Penstock," by C.A. Edwards, Engineering News 71:1013 (May 7, 1914)
Old Penstock - The Gothenberg power canal and works were built in the year of 1890 and 1891.

1914 "How Wood Pipe is Made," The American Contractor, 35:128 (June 6, 1914)

1914 "Use of Wood Stave Pipe," The Gazette-Times (Heppner, Oregon), November 19, 1914, Page 11.
The wood stave pipe recently laid at White Salmon, Washington, holds the record for size, being a mile in length and thirteen and a half feet in diameter!

1914 "Wood Pipe for Conveying Water for Irrigation," by S.O. Jayne, Bulletin of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 155, December 23, 1914.

1914 Continuous stave pipe installations, by Pacific Coast Pipe Co.

1915 "Life of Wood Pipe," by D.C. Henny, Reclamation Record 6:354-358 (August, 1915) | Also here |

1915 "Data on the life of wooden pipe pertaining to 79 pipe lines (from Reclamation Record), by D. C. Henny, Engineer and Contractor, 44:127-130 (August 18, 1915)

1915 "Report on life of wood pipe (with tables)," by D.C. Henny, Engineering News 74:400-403 (August 25, 1915)

1915 "An Economic Study of Reinforced Concrete, Wood Stave and Riveted Steel Pipe, as Regards to Durability, Capacity and Cost," by Harry F. Blaney, University of California, Berkeley

1916 "Wyckoff Wood Pipe," Fire and Water Engineering 59:94 (February 9, 1916)
In 1862 City of Victoria laid a distribution system of wood stave pipes which was in constant and successful use until 1901, when they were removed to give way to pipes of larger capacities. Elmira, N. Y., laid wood stave water pipes, manufactured by A. Wyckoff in 1860, several miles of which are still in daily use under pressures ranging from 35 pounds to 86 pounds.  In late years these pipes have been examined at many salient points, and in every case were found to be in excellent condition with no leaks apparent.

1916 "Concerning the Cedar River Pipe Lines," The Seattle Star, October 12, 1916, Page 7.

1916 "Experience with Wood Pipes in New Hampshire," by Arthur W. Dudley, Read November 10, 1915, Journal of the New England Water Works Association 30(3):318-323 (September, 1916)

1916 Waterworks Handbook, compiled by Alfred Douglas Flinn, Robert Spurr Weston, Clinton Lathrop Bogert
Page 359-371: Chapter XVI. Wooden Pipe.

1916 Flow of Water in Wood-Stave Pipe, by Fred C. Scobey.  Volume 376 of USDA Bulletin.
During the past 10 or 15 years the use of wood pipe for the conveyance of water has been greatly increased. Such pipe is now quite commonly used to convey water for the irrigation of land, the domestic needs of towns and cities, and the development of power. So long as wood pipe consisted of bored logs its carrying capacity was limited to a small flow and its adaptation to a limited set of conditions, but the conversion of clear, sound lumber into staves and the making of stave pipe into sizes from 12 to 72 inches in diameter led to a great expansion in both carrying capacities and uses. More recently it has been found that stave pipe can be successfully built and operated in sizes up to 12 and 13 feet in diameter, the largest to date being 13½ feet. This great increase in size and carrying capacity has been brought about by providing yokes or cradles which support the lower part of the pipe and thus prevent its collapse.

1917 "Modern Practice in Wood Stave Pipe Design and Suggestions for Standard Specifications," by J.F. Partridge, Presented at the meeting of May 16, 1917.  Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 82(2):433-514 (April, 1917)

1917 "Modern Practice in Wood Stave Pipe Design and Suggestions for Standard Specifications, Discussion" by Messrs. Hermann von Schrenk, Frank F. Bell, D.C. Henry, Hery P. Rust, F.M.Robbins, William J. Boucher, and J.C. Ralston, Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 43(6):1331-1345 (August, 1917)
Page 1348:  The Garoga River Project, in Fulton County, New York, is noteworthy.  This power plant was built in 1850, and served until a fire destroyed the mill in 1903.  The original project comprised a triangle timber crib dam, about 15 ft. high.  The water was connected to the mill about 600 ft. down stream by a 30-in wood stave pipe, through which the water was delivered to an overshot wheel about 10 feet diameter.  The pipe staves were hard pipe, 2-in. scantling, jack-planed on their edges to the proper bevel, and then assembled.  The bonds or hoops were of 2-in., 16-gauge, old-process, puddled iron, and were as well preserved as the staves when the line was put out of commission.

1917 "Modern Practice in Wood Stave Pipe Design and Suggestions for Standard Specifications, Discussion" by Messrs. O.P.M. Gross and W.H.R. Nimmo, Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 43(7):1531-1545 (September, 1917)

1917 "Modern Practice in Wood Stave Pipe Design and Suggestions for Standard Specifications, Discussion" by Messrs. E.A. Moritz and A.N. Miller, Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 43(8):1859-1864 (October, 1917)

1917 Creosoted Wood Stave Pipe and Its Effect Upon Water for Domestic and Irrigation Uses, Bulletin No. 1, University of Washington, Bureau of Industrial Research

1917 Pipe and the public welfare, by Robert Crockett McWane

1917 "WaterWorks Museum opens new display," November 21, 2017, Louisville Water
Picture of a section of staved redwood pipe installed in 1917 to supply water to Camp Zachary Taylor.

1918 Conveyance and Distribution of Water for Water Supply: Aqueducts, Pipe-lines and Distributing Systems, a Practical Treatise for Water-works Engineers and Superintendents, by Edward Wegmann
Pages 57-74: Chapter IV.  Wooden Pipes.  [Includes a list of Wyckoff and Michigan Pipe wood stave conduits used in water works on page 62.]

1920 "New Catalog on Wyckoff Wood Pipe," The Metal Worker, Plumber, and Steam Fitter 94:56-57 (July 9, 1920)

1920 "Water Pipes of Wood," by J. F. Springer, Scientific American 123:250,262,264 (September 11, 1920)

1921 "History of wood pipe and some data on its use," by E.J. Bartells, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Wood Preservers' Association 17:369 (1921)

1922 "Condition of Wood-Stave Pipes on Reclamation Projects," Engineering News-Record 88:493-494 (March 23, 1922)

1922 "Some Observations Concerning Wood Pipe," by J. W. Ledoux, Journal of the American Water Works Association 9(4):549-569 (July 1922) | Also here |

1922 New Building Estimators' Handbook: A Handbook for Architects, Builders, Contractors, Appraisers, Engineers, Superintendents and Draftsmen, by William Arthur
Page 905:  Table showing dimensions, data of transportation, hauling and laying of Wyckoff wooden pipe.

1923 Continental Wire Wound Wood Pipe (creosoted and Untreated) ; Continental Continuous Stave Wood Pipe (creosoted and Untreated) ; Continental Creo-wood Flume, by Continental Pipe Manufacturing Company

1924 "Flow of Water in Pipes," by Hiram F. Mills, Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, New Series 15(2):81-236 (November 10, 1924) | Table of Contents |

1925 "The Flow of Water in Wood-Stave Pipe," by Fred. C. Scobey, United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 376

1926 Pacific Wood Stave Pipe, by Pacific Tank & Pipe Company

1936 Mitchell v. Wyckoff, 122 Conn. 48, July 30, 1936, Supreme Court of Connecticut.  Dispute between Frank T. Wyckoff's wife and son.

1950 Wood-Stave Pipes, Bulletin No 23 of the Institution of Hydraulics, Transactions of the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Nr 33 (1950)

1954  "Wood Stave Pipe in Water Works Installations," by John W. Cunningham, Journal of the American Water Works Association 46(11):1077-1086 (November 1954)

1976 Our Todays and Yesterdays in the Town of Ephratah, by Edythe W. Christman

1989 Now You're Loggin' by Neil Thornton
Page 84: A note in the Iosco County Gazette for 1882 stated that "all of the remaining machinery of the American Pipe Company used at this point last season in the manufacture of the Wyckoff patent water, gas and steam pipe casing was shipped on the barge, Essex, to Bay City last Saturday, at which place the manufacture of these celebrated pipes will continue. The Bay City firm, originally known as the Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Company in 1871, continued in business at Bay City.

2003 Town of Ephratah Draft Comprehensive Plan, includes information on the Yauney Woolen Mill on page 69.

2005 Talk of the Town: The Rise of Alexandria, Louisiana, and the Daily Town Talk, by Fredrick Marcel Spletstoser
Page 187:  A branch of the A. Wyckoff and Son Wood Pipe Company of Elmira, New York, began manufacturing water mains for its Oklahoma and Texas customers at a rate of a thousand feet per day in February 1910.

Michigan Pipe Company

Manuscript Library, Chemung County Historical Society. Holds several Wyckoff pamphlets.

Arcalous Wyckoff at Vintage Machinery

Wood Pipes and Bibliography of wood pipes from the History of Sanitary Sewers.



© 2017 Morris A. Pierce