Pipes - Coal Tar Impregnated Wood Fibre Pipe (Orangeburg, Bermico, etc.) (1)
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One of the unique types of pipe that began to evolve in the 1890s was one whose wall was made of cellulose (wood) fibres, impregnated with coal-tar pitch. The first known use of "fibre" pipe was for water transmission: a 1.5-mile pipeline in the Boston area, which stayed in service for 60+ years (1865-1927). Production of fibre conduit started in 1893 by the Fibre Conduit Company of Orangeburg, New York. In the late 1940s, a heavier walled version of the fibre conduit was developed and sold as "Orangeburg Pipe" -- in sizes ranging from 3" to 8" I.D. -- for sewer and drain applications. (This type of pipe was also manufactured by other companies, including Bermico, American, and J - M Fibre Conduit.)

See Tracking Down the Roots of Our Sanitary Sewers for more information.

   


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Orangeburg Pipe
Bituminized fiber drain and sewer pipe (a.k.a. Orangeburg pipe). This type of sewer pipe (2” - 18” diameter) was manufactured as an oval conduit* for wiring, etc., from the 1890s to the early 1940s; thereafter, it was made as a round pipe until the 1970s. (There is over 1200 miles of this conduit in the walls and floors of the Empire State Builidng in New York City.) Orangeburg pipe is comprised of cellulose fibers impregnated with hot coaltar pitch. The joints are gasketless. The pipe often softens and deforms with age, allowing infiltration and root intrusion. Two varieties exist: one with solid (homogeneous) walls and one with laminated walls. This pipe material was widely used in house laterals for over 70 years -- until pvc took over.

The Fibre Conduit Company of Orangeburg, N.Y., was a prime manufacturer of this type of pipe. When sewer pipe was first made in the 1940s, they changed their name to the Orangeburg Pipe Co. of Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Larry Vail, Degussa-Hulls Corporation, Allendale, New Jersey.

Horse and wagon hauling conduit, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

Fire in a factory at the Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

Orangeburg Station, Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

1908 view of mill and office building, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

View of factory from ground, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY., 1908.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

View of factory from ground, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY., 1908.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

Orangeburg Fibre baseball team, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY., 1920s.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

View of factory looking northwest after 1951 expansion, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

Harold Fredericks inspects 4-inch pipe, Fibre Conduit Company, Orangeburg, NY., 1962.

Source: Courtesy of the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives, Pearl River, NY, and the Collection of Harold Fredericks.

   


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