One of the unique types of pipe that evolved 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.
A tour of the town of Berlin, New Hampshire, includes information about the Berlin Mills Company (renamed the Brown Company during the First World War), one branch of which produced Bermico sewer pipe.
Bermico Fibre Conduit Product – A Catalogue of Bermico Fibre Conduit Products (Portland, Maine: Brown Company, September 1930), pp. 1-33. From the collection of Jon C. Schladweiler.
PDF version (printer-friendly).
George E. Symons, Ph.D., Ed., “Wastewater Systems – Pipes and Piping / Section 4 – Bituminized Fiber Pipe,” Water and Wastes Engineering, September 1967, p. M25-M26.
PDF version (printer-friendly). PDF is located on the Water and Wastes Digest website
Jon C. Schladweiler, P.E., R.L.S., Historian, AZ Water, “Coal Tar Impregnated Wood Fibre Pipe (Commonly referred to as ‘Orangeburg,’ ‘Bermico,’ etc.),” March 2005.