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Wooden Water Pipes *(Artifact #986186)

What are your water pipes made of? Lead - I hope not! Copper? Iron? Plastic?

What about wood?


The Agricultural Museum of New Brunswick has 4 wooden water pipe sections and 3 wooden couplers that were used to direct water from a well into a house on a farm near the Belleisle Bay.


Wooden water pipes were used as early as the 13th century. The construction might differ - some were whole logs with a hole drilled down the length, while others looked like a barrel with planks of wood bound together. Our pipes were hollowed out with an auger, shown in the first image, and wooden couplers, which are shown in the second image, were made to join the section of pipe together. As water flowed through the pipes, the wood swelled and the pipes became water tight.


Wooden water pipes were expected to only last 20 years but "In 2004, archeologists in the UK discovered underground wooden pipes running through the ruins of a Roman fort in Northumberland. Water from a spring was still running through the 2000 year-old Alderwood pipes! While this is certainly unusual, wood needs both air and water to rot. Buried underground and filled with water, wooden pipes can last for decades—or centuries." (https://www.thetristatemuseum.com/2017/04/04/wooden-water-pipes/#:~:text=While%20this%20is%20certainly%20unusual,out%20tree%20trunks%20or%20logs. )

This discovery proves these wooden pipes could last well beyond their expected 20 year lifespan if installed under the right conditions. Our water pipes are certainly not that old - neither is our country.

Pictured above is a hand-held auger used to hollow out the logs that would become pipes, followed by three sections of wooden pipes.

Pictured above are two smaller pieces of pipe that were used as couplers joining two pieces of pipe.

Artifact#: 986186

Donated by: Sussex Farm Supply




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