Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Technology Wyckoff Wooden Water Pipe

Wyckoff Wooden Water Pipe

Installations of Wyckoff wooden water pipes.

Arcalous Wyckoff Patented an improved pipe boring machine in 1855, and he built a water system in Elmira, New York in 1860 using the pipe.  Later improvements were also patented, and Wyckoff pipe became very popular, especially in the Midwest. 

Typical advertisements:

Moore's Rural New Yorker 15(37):299
(September 10, 1864)
Pacific Rural Press (San Francisco, California), 15(7):106 (February 16, 1878) Engineering News, Buying Section, 82(12):144
(December 16-23-30, 1919)

1855 U.S. Patent 13,606, Boring-Machine, September 25, 1855,  A. Wyckoff and E. B. Morrison of Elmira, New York.  Reissued as RE404, October 14, 1856, A. Wyckoff and E. R. Morrison assignors to A. Wyckoff.

1859 U.S. Patent 24,773, in Hollow Auger, July 12, 1859, Arcalous Wyckoff, of Elmira, New York.

1859 "Strength of Wooden Water-Pipes," Scientific American, New Series 1(5):69 (July 30, 1859)

1860 Scientific American, New Series 2(6):95 (February 4, 1860)
Advertisement for Wyckoff's Patent Boring Machine.  Wyckoff, Hobbie & Co., Rochester, N.Y.

1860 "The Use of Wood for Water Pipes--Interesting Experiments," Rochester Union & Advertiser, March 9, 1860, Page 2.

1864 U.S. Patent 45,201, Improved Pipe for Gas, Water, &c., November 22, 1864, Arcalous Wyckoff of Elmira, New York.

1866 U.S. Patent 53,722, Improvement in Hollow Augers, April 3, 1866, Arcalous Wyckoff, of Elmira, New York.

1866 "Wyckoff, Farrington & Co.," The West Branch Bulletin (Williamsport, Pennsylvania), August 11, 1866, Page 4.
Manufacturers of and dealers in wooden pipes for water, gas, oil, &c.

1868 The Cambria Freeman (Ebensburg, Pennsylvania), April 16, 1868, Page 2.
Wooden Water Pipe, J. A. Woodward, Williamsport, Pa.

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 History of Elmira, Horseheads and the Chemung Valley, with Sketches of the Churches, Schools, Societies, Rail Roads, Manufacturing Companies, Etc., Etc: Also, Directory & Business Advertiser for 1868
Page 237:  Advertisement for Wyckoff Bros. & Co., Elmira, N.Y., Manufacturers of Wooden Water Pipe.
Pages 265-266:  Wyckoff Bros. & Co.--One of the most useful inventions of the present age, is Wyckoff's Patent Water and Gas Tubing, invented by Mr. Arcalous Wyckoff, of our City, and introduced by him into use about six years ago. The invention consists of a very ingenious boring instrument, which cuts through a log of any diameter, leaving the inside- perfectly solid, which is shoved out of the outer rim and bored again, thus making as many tubes out of one log as the thickness thereof will permit. The operation is very quickly performed, the boring instrument being turned by steam, causing but very little waste of timber, so little that the boring dust accumulated in a day, is hardly sufficient to make enough fire to keep the steam up for the engine. This tubing has been thoroughly tested by the Elmira Water Company, for six years past, and is found to be in as perfect condition now as when it was first laid down. It is made of any required size, in sections eight feet long, connected with a socket joint, perfectly air and water tight. Each section is bored from sound timber, made round in a lathe, bound at the ends with iron, and coated inside and outside with a preparation of coal tar and asphaltum, which renders it impervious to gas, air or water, and imperishable. It is free from the expansion and contraction to which iron pipes are subject, from changes of temperature. It is also free from the accumulation of water in the pipes, so far as it is caused by sweating, to which iron pipes are subject at certain seasons of the year. The price of the pipe is less than that of any other. It requires no lead or other material for cementing the joints, except what is furnished by the manufacturers, and can be laid easily and rapidly, by any ordinary workman. It can also be tapped and connected with branch pipes, more easily than any other kind. It has been used by various Gas Companies, both in this and other States. In the State of Ohio, in Painesville and Chillicothe, the Gas Companies are extravagant in their praises. They say they have had frequent opportunities to examine this pipe inside and outside, while putting in service pipes, and find the coating inside and outside perfectly dry and hard, not the least affected by the dampness outside or by the gas inside, and that there has not occurred a single leak in the whole line of their main pipe since it was first laid down. Mr. C. R. Squire, proprietor of the Gas Works at Plainfield, N.J., also bears like testimony to the above, in regard to its adaptation to gas, and its durability and superiority over the iron pipes. We have been shown a large number of certificates from various Water and Gas Companies, sent to the proprietors of this most valuable tubing, from time to time, but we think it unnecessary to publish them in this hastily written article. We are convinced that it will supersede the use of iron pipes altogether, as soon as its merits shall have become generally known, as iron will fill by incrustation or will rust out, and the price of the wooden pipe being one-third less than either lead or iron, it will certainly take the preference. The Messrs. Wyckoff also manufacture a very superior Wooden Eve Trough, half-round on inside and outside, a very light, durable and ornamental trough, for dwellings, barns, factories, &c., at less than half the price of tin. It will last longer than tin, if treated with the same care. We would especially call the attention of our readers to the advertisement of Messrs. Wyckoff Bros. & Co. on page 237 of this book.

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 "Fire in Williamsburg," New York Daily Herald, April 28, 1872, Page 7.
The wooden pipe factory of F. Fleischman & Co., Montrose avenue, Williamsburg, took fire between one and two o'clock yesterday morning, and was damaged to the amount of $5,000.  Insured for $3,000.

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 The Atlanta Constitution, July 12, 1873, Page 1.
Columbus.  The presence of General Bragg in the city has added a great impetus to the water-works question.  General Bragg is interested in the manufacture of the Wyckoff wooden pipe and wants the city to use it.

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 "The Wyckoff Pipe," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), April 15, 1875, Page 2.  Several testimonials.

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 gas.  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.

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.

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 "Water Pipes," by A. H. Howland, Read December 4, 1886, Proceedings of the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia 6(1):55-69. (December, 1886).  Arthur Henshaw Howland developed many water works in the 1880s and 1890s.

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.

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.

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 ⅜ 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
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.

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.

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)

1895 "Wooden Stave Pipe," by R.C. Gemmell, B.S.'84, Michigan Technic  New Series 8:34-46 (1895)

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 Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), December 10, 1896, Page 8.
The Michigan Wyckoff Wooden Water Pipe works at Bay City were wholly consumers by fire Tuesday morning.  The loss is $70,000, with $40,000 insurance.

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 Bay City Illustrated
Page 33:  The Michigan Pipe Company.
One of the largest manufactories in the city and the largest of its kind in the world are the works of the Michigan Pipe Co.
This Company makes wood pipe and tubing of various kinds. Its improved Wyckoff water pipe, used extensively in water works, mines, mills, mineral springs, paper and pulp mills, has many notable points of superiority. The shell of this pipe is of wood about 2 inches thick, strengthened by a heavy spiral band. On account of the large amount of wood used in the shell, it resists frost to a much greater extent than an all metallic pipe. Being elastic, it successfully resists the shocks and all water rams caused by pumps when a system of works is under fire pressure. This was well illustrated by the experience of North Tonawanda, N. Y., in which 17 miles of improved Wyckoff water pipe in their system only cost $7.52 for repairs during its eleventh year of use. When it is remembered that North Tonawanda is the second largest lumber port in the United States, and has the largest fire hazard, due to lumber piles, in the country, this is significant. Last year North Tonawanda made a large extention of its system so that there are now in the Tonawandas 45 miles of this pipe.
Ishpeming, Mich., one of the largest mining cities in the state, has a system of 28 miles of this pipe, and numerous other mining towns have put it in their systems. This endorsement by the iron producing towns, whose city officers are mainly men expert in the business, is very flattering.
Since electricity has been used as a propelling power on street railways, electrolysis has done untold damage to iron pipe, but the improved Wyckoff water pipe being a non-conductor of electricity, has not suffered in the least. This fact was commented upon by the electrical and technical press of the country during the last winter.
The steam pipe casing bored from solid logs is used by all the District Steam Heating Companies in the United States, and is the only successful underground steam pipe covering produced.
Square pipe for tanners and chain pump tubing are a large part of the company's production.
They also have an extensive creosoting plant in which they treat railway ties, wood conduit for underground wiring and wooden paving blocks. Creosoted wood paving blocks are destined to replace asphalt as the most popular high grade pavement.

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., 16miles. 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.

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

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. |

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.

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. 

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

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

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

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 "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.

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!

1916 "Wyckoff Wood Pipe," Fire and Water Engineering 59:94 (February 9, 1916)

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 82:433-514 (1918)

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

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)

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 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 |

1926 Pacific Wood Stave Pipe, by 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.

1989 Now You're Loggin' by Neil Thornton
Pages 80-85: Wooden Waterworks

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