Heritage \ Writings \ Industry: Lumbering

Michigan Pipe Company (1869-1956)
Location: Madison Ave., north of Woodside Ave., Bay City, MI.

1883 History. - Added Aug., 2009.

History of Bay County, Michigan - H.R. Page, 1883.


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.

In the News...

1872 article. - Added Dec., 2010.

The Lumbermans's Gazette, Vol., July, 1872.

The Northwestern Gas & Water Pipe.

Among our advertisements will be found that of the above Company. This concern may well be considered as one of the lions of Bay City. Starting only a year ago with works which were then considered as beyond the requirements of the probable business for years to come, its success has been so great as already to require enlargement of its accommodations. It has been running to the extent of its capacity since the opening of the season, and we understand it has orders on its books for several months ahead.

These works are situated in the First Ward of Bay City, on the east side of the Flint & Pere Marquette Rail Road docks and depot grounds. A track from this road runs into the Company's premises and affords means of shipping its pipe to all quarters of the United States. At the same time it has equal facilities for shipment by water when required, as it has a large water front, a covered wharf, and ample boom room for the storage of its logs off the Saginaw river. This Company, by purchase from A. Wyckoff, the patentee, controls the exclusive right to manufacture in all the territory of the United States, except that of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, and the States lying to their east. It is the only manufactory of the kind in the entire Northwest. We understand, however, that one has lately been started under its license in Oregon, on the Willamette river, for which the greater part of the machinery was constructed in this city.

The works of the Company in size and interest, are worthy to take rank with the great lumber and salt manufactories of the Saginaw Valley. They are among the objects most south by tourist and strangers who are invariably much pleased as well as surprised at the novelty and perfection of the new manufacture. All the processes are unique and must be seen to be fully understood. The boring, turning, handling, testing and coating machinery are peculiar to this particular species of manufacture and can be seen on so large and complete a scale nowhere else. The proprietors take great pleasure in receiving visitors and showing them over the works and explaining the operations in the several departments.

The gas and water pipe made by this Company is regarded by those who have used it as in no way inferior to the best that can be made by any other method or material. The prejudice which is excited by the idea that it is mainly of wood, disappears as soon as the means resorted to for the preservation and strengthening of the pipe are seen, while its superiority in purity and sweetness for water mains, and in tightness and freedom from condensations as gas conductors, is universally conceded. We have not heard of a single instance in which the pipe of the Company has failed to give satisfaction, or in which those who have used it once are not its firm friends.

Doubt has been felt by some as to the ability of the Wyckoff Water Pipe to withstand the pressure of the Holly pumps. This question will soon be set at rest by a practical test. A considerable quantity of this pipe will be used both at Bay City and Saginaw City the present season in the Holly Works now being constructed at these places. The result will be awaited with interest by the public, though the Company entertain no fears whatever of the complete success of their pipe, and have no hesitation in guaranteeing it for any reasonable length of time.

1893 - Water and Sewage Works, Vol 5. - Added Dec., 2010.

Page 52.
A franchise has been granted to the Michigan Pipe Co., of Bay City, Mich., for the construction of a water-works plant at Cripple Creek, Colo., to cost $75,000, 85 hydrants being required. The supply will be obtained from West Beaver Creek.

Page 243.
The Michigan Pipe Company of Bay City, was awarded the contract fro constructing a system of water-works at Belding, Mich.

1896 - The Michigan Engineer, Vols. 16-18. (Added May, 2011.)

Michgan Engineering Society.


Held January 7, 8 and 9, 1896.

Page 343.
The Michigan Pipe Company, of Bay City, exhibit a steam pipe casing – with 4-inch shell, tin lined. Also a creosoted railroad tie, and samples of wood conduit for electric wires treated in the same manner. Also one length of Wyckoff water pipe, which is largely used in Michigan and various parts of the country in water works plants. It possesses the advantages of not rusting and being unaffected by acids which makes it adapted for use in mines, pulp and fibre mills and chemical works. It is banded with a heavy steel band, wrapped spirally from end to end, which band is put on with a machine, insuring good contact. As the wood is a nonconductor of heat, it resists the action of the frost well. These qualities make it well adapted for water works and general purposes.

1898 - Purchase of trolley system. - Added Dec., 2010.

The Electrical World, Vol. 31, January 1 to June 26, 1898.

Page 170.

THE TONAWANDA CITY TROLLEY LINE was sold at auction last Saturday on a foreclosure of the claim of the Michigan Pipe Company, of Bay City. It was bought by Henry B. Smith for $90,000, and will be reorganized. This means that it has been allowed, who will now push it forward and build a complete line from Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

1910 - Dictionary of Chemical and Metallurgical Materials.

Page 120.

PIPE WOOD “IMPROVED.” For conveying water and acids. Protected on the exterior by imperishable cement and preserved by the liquid which fills the pores of the wood in the shell, this pipe will and remain in perfect condition practically indefinitely. Our “improved” wood mine and acid pipe resists the action of acids and alkali solutions and is especially suitable for mines, collieries, acid and alkali works, mineral waters, tanneries, distilleries, etc. We also make steam-pipe casings for covering steam pipes laid underground.
-- Michigan Pipe Co., Bay City, Mich.

1912 - The Heating and Ventilating Magazine, Vol. 9.

Page 29.
National District Heating Association
Fourth Annual Convention, Detroit, Mich., June 25-28, 1912

Michigan Pipe Co., Bay City, Mich., showed models of the Michigan water-proof wood castings with separate samples of the staves made of Michigan pine and of tamarack. Harry B. Smith, Jr., of the home office, was in charge.

1916 -- Waterworks Handbook.

Page 369.

Michigan Pipe Co., Bay City, Mich., manufactures "Improved" wood stave pipe, in sections about 8 ft. long, of well-seasoned white pine and Michigan tamarack staves machined on the sides, formig a double tongue and groove; the inner and outer edges are dressed to conform to an exact curve, corresponding to to the diam. of the pipe. The pipe is spirally banded with galvanized steel wire or hoop iron, from end to end, under heavy tension. One end has a mortise, the other, a tenon. Sizes up to 42 in. Easch length is tested to 200 lbs. per sq. in., after which the outer surface is heavily coated. Hard maple, beech and birch pipe for flushing culm and similar uses is manufactured like water pipe, from selected dry hard timber, with an extra thick shell and tenon test to any pressure up to 200 lbs. per sq. in. For pressures of 80 lbs. and lower, wood tees, crosses, ells and bends are manufactured which are especially adapted for mine and acid use. Where long sweeps can be made, this company, furnishes, without additional charge, special "curved lengths," so headed as to drive up shoulder to shoulder and from an angle; 90 degrees bends can be formed without cast-iron bends, on about 30 ft. radius.

1916 - Cripple Creek Water Company, Colorado. - Added Dec., 2010.

Public Utilities Reports, Vol. 3, 1916

Page 796.

On the 19th day of 1893, the city of Cripple Creek passed an ordinance granting to one S. V. Saleno, of Bay City, Michigan, a representative of the owners of the Michigan Pipe Company, who are also the owners of the Cripple Creek Water Company, a franchisee for a period of twenty years, which was subtransferred to the Cripple Creek Water Company. The franchise provided that the city of Cripple Creek should pay to the Cripple Creek Water Company an annual rentle of $60 each; and that four dringing fountains should be erected by the company for public use, in return for which the company should be exempt from municipal taxes. The francise further provided that the fire hydrants should be used only in case of ire and for the flushing of gutters and sewers, with a further proviso that the city should be entitled to take therefrom free water for the sprinkling of streets. A schedule of rates was included in franchise, and provision made that the waterworks should be completed by November 2, 1893.

1918 - Conveyance and Distribution of Water for Water Supply.

Page. 62.

Wood-state Pipes for Water Works. -- As already stated, Wyckoff pipes were first used in mines. In 1860 such pipes were laid in the distributiing system of the water works of Elmira, N. Y., under pressures of 35-86 lbs. per sq. in., and some are still in use in that city. In 1872 this type of pipe was adopted for the water works of Bay City, Mich., and, since then, it has been used in a number of water works in the Eastern and Middle States.

Machine-banded wood-pipe has been used extensively for municipal water works in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States, where most towns of consequence, at some time, used more or less of this kind of pipe. It has, also, been used extensively for conveying water for manufacturing purposes, for fire protection, and for power plants, etc.

The Michigan Pipe Co.,, Bay City, Mich., has manufactured wooden pipes since 1869. In 1880 this company acquired the right to manufacture Wyckoff pipes. It now makes pipes, 2 to 48 ins. in diameter and 8 ft. long, of well-seasoned white pine or tamarack. The pipes are wound spirally under heavy tension by machinery, either with galvanized steel wire or with flat bands. The wire-wound pipes are used for heads up to 350 ft.

For more on the Michigan Pipe Co., view an article that shows images of the various pipes that they made. Google Books: [Building Age, Vol. 7]

Additonal Notes.

    1889 - Directory: Bay City, Mich.
  • Michigan Pipe Co., George B. Smith, Pres.; Henry B. Smith, secy. treas.. n e cor. Lord and Henry.
  • Bailey, Albert - laborer, res 315 Shearer.
  • Brady, Bernard - laborer, res. 2129 2d.
  • Brady, George A. - laboer, bds. 2129 2d.
  • Brady, Mark S. - laborer, bds. 2129 2d.
  • Brady, Martin V. - laborer, res. 1400 Trumbull.
  • Brockley, John F. - laborer, res 702 Fitzgerald.
  • Davey, James - boomman, res. 206 Shearer.
  • Fredette, Alfred F. - laborer, bds. 411 Anne.
  • Fredette, Wm. J. - laborer, res. 411 Anne.
  • Finkenstaed, Frederick - bookkeeper, res. 504 N. Grant.
  • Ford, Henry - laborer, res. s w cor. Sheridan and Birney.
  • Hall, John - laborer, bds. 509 Lord.
  • Hammond, Harvey G. - sawyer, res. 307 Shearer.
  • Hill, Charles H. - clerk, 1403 5th ave.
  • Jatt, Delloe - fireman, bds. 415 Annie.
  • Jarske, Frank - laborer, res. 718 15th.
  • Jatt, Frederick M. - setter, bds. 415 Annie.
  • Jatt, Joseph B., laborer, res. 1603 N. Sherman.
  • Jatt, Wm. H. - salt maker, res. 1914 Woodside ave.
  • Krewall, Albert - laborer, bds. 131 North.
  • Krewall, Charles - laborer, bds 131 North.
  • Lafeair, Alfrank - laborer, bds. 403 Lord.
  • LaFeair, Frederick - laborer, bds. 403 Lord.
  • Lepki, Adam - laborer, bds. 129 North.
  • Lynch, John - laborer, res. 908 Campbell.
  • Mayville, Joseph - laboer, res. 5089 Kitchum.
  • Moulthrop, Guy H. - lumber inspector, bds. 901 5th ave.
  • Neitzke, Charles - laborer, bds. 124 North.
  • Neitzke, Helen - laborer, bds 124 North.
  • Nelson, Nelson E. - laborer, res. 1109 Stanton.
  • Nivison, Levi - cooper, res. 705 Barney.
  • Nivison, Nathan - cooper, res. 1110 S. Water.
  • Parent, Arthur - laborer, bds. 1505 N. Johnson.
  • Parent, Horace G. - laboer, res. 3312 N. Water.
  • Parent, Joseph Jr. - ship calker, res. 3308 N. Water.
  • Parent, Victor - salt maker, res. 1505 N. Johnson.
  • Platt, Wm. H.H. - carpenter, res. 1417 Woodside ave.
  • Saleno, Stephen V. - travel agent, bds. 321 N. Van Buren.
  • Shea, John - boomman, res. 1200 N. Grant.
  • Smith, Henry B. - secy and treas, res. 321 N. Van Buren.
  • Smith, John C. - laborer, bds. 711 N. Grant.
  • Smith, Robert - res. 607 Barney
  • Smith, Thomas - millwright, res. 119 Hart.
  • Speckmann, Hermann G. - teamster, res. 205 N. Hampton.
  • Sylvester, Desire - laborer, res. 400 Dolsen.
  • Sylvester, George H. - laborer, res. 511 Ketchum.
  • Tanner, Mary - stenographer, bds. 815 5th Ave.
  • Upsummen, Alexander - fireman, bds. Belinda House.
  • Warner, Sidney - driller, res 1401 2d.
  • Wilcox, Melvin L. - engineer, res. 1412 N. Sheridan.
Related Notes & Pages

Manufacturing Wood Pipes.

Wood Pipes 2004.
Unearthed during contruction of new Wirt Library on south side of Center Ave.
Related Pages:
Hill, Isaac H.
Jennison, Charles E.
People Referenced
Archer, A.A.
Farrington, Thomas B.
Hill I.H.
Jennison, Charles E.
Saleno, S.V.
Smith, Harry B.
Temple, J.F.
Wilcox, M.F.
Wyckoff, A.
See directory listing for employee names.
Subjects Referenced
111th OH Vols.
Atlantic Salt Co.
Bay City, MI
Buffalo, NY
Chicago, IL
Cripple Creek, CO
Criiple Creek Water Co.
Michigan Engineering Soc.
Michigan Pipe Co.
Niagara Falls, NY
N.W. Gas & Wtr. Pipe Co.
Oneida Co., NY
Pere Marquette RR
Saginaw, MI
Three Oaks, MI
Tonawanda Trolley Line
Willamette river
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.