Are you an engineer or contractor working on a project to tie-in with or relocate existing pipe installations? Where can you turn for the data you need to cut down on the work required to pinpoint the presence and layout of these installations?
We’re glad you asked. Because at Thompson Pipe Group – Pressure, we have decades of data and historical records regarding all types of concrete pressure pipe, some of it going back to the early 1920s. More recently, we’ve added records for welded steel pipe projects. We’ve got tons of data from projects such as Gifford-Hill, the InterPace Corporation, Price Brothers Company, Cretex, Hanson, and Forterra.
Why do we have all of this helpful information?
Long ago, in a sewer far, far away …
The longevity of underground water pipe is something engineers are looking for when they specify a new pipe installation. It’s been that way for decades. Today, there are prestressed concrete cylinder pipes (PCCP AWWA C301) that have faithfully delivered water to communities for seventy-five years, or even longer. That’s a testimony to the technology that created this tough, long-lasting composite pipe. But there’s a catch. These underground systems were installed so long ago that the engineers who worked on them have long since retired. Fortunately, we can provide you with details of nearly all the PCCP or bar-wrapped steel pipe installations that are in the ground today.
Records going back to the Great Depression
How did this come about? Through a complicated history of company buyouts, mergers, takeovers, and collaborations that go back so far in time that Franklin D. Roosevelt was still in his first term as president. Let’s think about a time of Prohibition, Ford Model A cars, and the very first Superman comic book. A pipe manufacturing company named Price Brothers had been involved in the installation and manufacture of pipe since the early 20th century. By the 1930s, they were producing and installing concrete pressure water pipes around Ohio and beyond. Here’s where company history gets complicated, so hang on to your hard hats.
The pipeline historical timeline has many twists and turns.
1899: Price Brothers was founded.
1907: Two companies merged to form American Concrete Pipe Co., the company recognized as Ameron’s oldest direct antecedent.
1929: Ameron was formally established as an enterprise.
1939: In a joint venture with Lock Joint Pipe Company, Price Brothers were the first to install a concrete pressure pipeline in the United States — a major breakthrough for the product and the company stemming from their patent with Flexicore.
1945: Price bought the Lewiston Pipe Company. They’d been experimenting with prestressed concrete together with university researchers for years. With this purchase, Price Brothers was now in the prestressed concrete pipe business, big time.
1946: Gifford-Hill American (GHA) started as a joint venture between Gifford-Hill and American Pipe and Construction to build the Lake Kickapoo pipeline for Wichita Falls. American Pipe and Construction provided the pressure pipe technology and Gifford-Hill provided aggregate, cement, and local knowledge.
1977: In the 1970s, a young Californian returned home from military service and founded a company that became known in 1997 as Ken Thompson, Inc. Neil Diamond was singing about “Sweet Caroline” and Frank Sinatra was doing it “My Way” while Ken was learning the utility contracting business.
1987: Ken’s firm expanded into the manufacturing of concrete water pipes, breaking ground on a big production plant in Rialto, California.
1997: Ameron agreed to sell their half to Hanson, PLC.
1998: GHA purchased major pipe manufacturer, Hanson, PLC.
2007: Hanson acquired Price Brothers, who were still in business manufacturing PCCP and bar-wrapped pipe in several locations in the eastern U.S.
2015: After several other acquisitions and purchases, Hanson Building Products (including pressure pipe) was acquired by LoneStar private equity and changed their name to Forterra.
2016: Forterra acquired U.S. Pipe and put the concrete and steel pressure pipe operations in the U.S. under this name and management. Forterra then went public with an IPO in October of that year. By this time, Thompson Pipe Group was a major producer of reinforced concrete (RCP) pipe, the exclusive North American manufacturer and supplier of Flowtite® FRP pipe, and more. The company had plants in Louisiana, Texas, and California, with a large and loyal customer base consisting of engineers, contractors, and utility owners across North America. The headquarters of Ken’s company, which remains family-owned, is still in Rialto.
2017: The pipelines converge: In August 2017, Thompson Pipe Group acquired the U.S. Pipe pressure concrete and steel pressure pipe assets from Forterra Building Products. This immediately made the new division, Thompson Pipe Group – Pressure, the most comprehensive supplier of pressure pipe products in North America. In one move, Thompson Pipe Group completed a journey from humble utility contractor to leading pressure pipe manufacturer, and more. Who knows what the future of this dynamic group might be? And this brings us back to the beginning: why does Thompson Pipe Group have such valuable pipe data? While company names and ownership structures may change, records are generally passed on. The new company inherits the data from its predecessor. In most cases, these records are maintained through the years and decades and are then available to today’s engineers when needed.
In closing, here are four good reasons to invite us to your site:
• We have pipe data and records covering millions of linear feet of pipe, including installations going back to before World War II. In fact, we’re the leading authority on this vital subject. We have the drawings, layouts, fine detail, and history.
• We’ll be happy to come onsite to help you when you’re working with tie-ins or other similar operations involving older pipe installations. By providing the information you need, we can help you avoid complications — saving you time and money.
• We are there to support you with engineering, manufacturing, as well as pipeline services, such as tapping and welding. However, we aren’t looking to take over your contractor’s role. In fact, we want to help you and your contractors to succeed with your installation by opening our archives of historical data.
• We’ve installed all the types of pipe that we currently manufacture, so we understand both the potential problems and the most efficient and effective solutions. In short, we know pipe — especially pressure pipe.
If you’re considering tying into an existing pipe installation or looking at rehabilitating, replacing, or relocating a length of water pipe, give us a call. It’s our pleasure to share our knowledge with you and your team!
*Save time and money on your next Pipeline inspection or Pipeline Testing with Pipeline records that span decades.