Orangeburg pipe is made from pressing wood pulp and pitch together. The result is a lightweight, easy to work with pipe. Orangeburg pipe got its start in 1867 as an experimental water pipe. This first pipe ran a mile and half and was in Boston. Orangeburg pipe was originally called fiber conduit and was widely used as an electrical conduit from the 1890s until the 1960s.
Orangeburg Pipe in the USA
The first mass producer of fiber conduit was the Fiber Conduit Company later called the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company for the city it was produced in. Fiber conduit was laid all across the United States for use with electrical and telecommunications wiring. Metal was expensive and scarce during World War II so fiber conduit was widely used for electrical applications.
After the war there was a housing boom and a cheap material was needed for electrical conduit along with drain and sewer pipes. The Orangeburg Manufacturing Company reworked its fiber conduit making it thicker, sturdier and round. This new version of the conduit was called Orangeburg pipe and was used for plumbing during the 1940s and until the 1970s.
Downfall of Orangeburg Pipe
During the post war boom of Orangeburg and fiber conduit almost 500 tons was shipped per week to customers. However, problems started to arise with Orangeburg pipe. First, it was easily deformed by pressure because of its brittle nature. Once the pipe started to deform it was nearly impossible to perform any maintenance without causing more damage to the pipe. Secondly, it could fail in as little as 10 years.
Along with performance issues, competitors started emerge. Starting in the 1960s PVC piping became the new standard of plumbing. It was a cheaper and more reliable alternative to Orangeburg pipe. It had a longer lifespan than Orangeburg and was easier to perform maintenance on. Because of these features it was better suited for drain and sewer usage. Finally in 1972, the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company closed it doors for good. However, there are still millions of miles of Orangeburg pipe in use across the United States.
Michigan Orangeburg Pipe Restoration and Replacement
Orangeburg pipe is unreliable and hard to perform maintenance on. Orangeburg pipes need to be replaced to improve the quality and value of the water in your home or business. At Rooter MD Plumbing LLC we specialize in removing old pipes and installing new modern pipes with non-invasive techniques. Get in touch with our experts today.