Paul Blinkhorn refers to Elm water pipes.
i) AA "Book of the British Countryside", 1973, p151: "The wood is strong and
tough but durable only if kept continually dry or continually wet. A
peculiar feature is the irregular arrangement of pores and fibres through
each annual ring which ......makes the wood almost impossible to split."
Later it comments on elm being used for water pipes "in early water
engineering" and for pumps, both bodies and parts.
ii) Reader's Digest "Field guide to the Trees and Shrubs of
Britain",1997,p77 under "Wych Elm": "Elm wood is extremely tough, and has
many uses. Because it is durable, even in perpetually wet conditions, elm
was much used in the past for underground water pipes, which were made by
hollowing out entire tree trunks with an auger."
iii) "Britain's Wonderland of Nature", Eds Crossland, J R, and Parrish, J M,
Collins, London and Glasgow, No pub. date, but ca 1948, p132: Illustration
captioned "ANCIENT ELM TREES. This picture shows how, in bygone times,
hollowed-out elm trees were joined to form water pipes. They were discovered
by workmen who found that, in spite of their long internment, the bark was
still in good preservation."This is in the chapter headed "Tree Lore"
contributed by Richard St Barbe Baker. ( It looks as if they were butt
jointed with a metal ring in the end-grain to keep them aligned axially,
although in (i) it mentions them being tapered to fit in to each other.)
Somewhere I am sure that I have also seen reference to an "elm-tree pump" in
a wooden sailing warship context, but the reference eludes me.
Incidentally on p133 of the third ref above he comments, under a paragraph
referring to ageing a tree by its annual growth rings, "....it is not always
safe to estimate the age of an Oak by this method.The reason for this is
that sometimes an Oak is completely defoliated during the summer, and in
consequence the cambium is given a rest before a fresh crop of leaves
appear; thus a biennial ring is formed".
Any comment from dendrochronologists?
----- Original Message -----
From: "paul blinkhorn" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2001 12:33 AM
Subject: Re: Ceramic water pipes
> don't have references to hand, but early medieval pottery water pipes were
> found at Canterbury
> WRT to wooden water pipes, I believe elm was commonly used from Roman
> onwards, and is very well suited to the task (don't ask me why though :) )
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jenny Vaughan" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: 30 March 2001 18:58
> Subject: Ceramic water pipes
> > I have had a query about ceramic water pipes which, when they were found
> > the mid 19th c. (connected 'in situ') were taken to be Roman. The pipes
> > in a light brown fabric and are 43 cm long. They seem to be about 9cm
> > diameter but have one splayed end and the other slightly narrower (I
> > that they were laid with narrow end fitted into splayed end). Sorry I
> > haven't actually seen them. One has spots of yellow green glaze -
> > on Roman objects.
> > Has anybody out there seen similar, have any references etc?
> > CBM website seems to be just brick and tile
> > grateful for any help
> > Jenny