Our History

  • U. S. Pipe: The Early Years

    Originally incorporated in 1899 as United States Cast Iron* Pipe and Foundry Company, the incorporation consolidated 12 companies located in eight states. Companies in the original consolidation included Chattanooga Foundry and Pipe Company, South Pittsburgh Pipe Works, Howard-Harrison Iron Company, The Anniston Pipe Foundry, Addyston Pipe and Steel Company, Buffalo Cast Iron Pipe Company, Dennis Long Company, Lake Shore Foundry Company, McNeal Pipe and Foundry Company, National Foundry and Pipe Works, Limited, Ohio Pipe Company, and Wisconsin Steel Company. At the time of its incorporation, it is estimated that U.S. Pipe produced approximately 75% of the production capacity in the United States. Of the 14 plants that composed the original corporation, two continue in operation today under new names. These plants are U.S. Pipe's Bessemer, AL, and Burlington, NJ facilities.

    * The "Cast Iron" part of the name was dropped in 1929.

  • The Original Plants

    The Bessemer Plant began operations in 1889 as the Howard-Harrison Iron Company. The developers, from St. Louis, Missouri, were looking for a new location where they could make pipe at a lower cost. They selected Bessemer, Alabama. The original plant was equipped with four circular pits with two jib cranes per pit. Pipe was produced in 12-foot lengths in sizes 4 inch to 48 inch.

    The Burlington Plant had its beginning in 1866 when Andrew McNeal purchased land on the Delaware River and built a large pipe shop and foundry. When this facility became a part of U.S. Pipe in 1899, capacity was 200 tons per day and pipe was produced in sizes 1-1/2 inch to 60 inch.

    McNeal had also built a three-story mansion adjacent to the Burlington Plant. U.S. Pipe added three wings to the McNeal mansion and used it as its corporate office until 1953.

    David Giles built the Chattanooga Plant in 1882. This facility was the South's first pressure pipe shop to use the pit cast method. Although the plant began operating with one pit, by the time of consolidation, pipe was being produced in eight pits. Some years after it became a part of U.S. Pipe, the manufacture of pipe was discontinued and the plant converted to the production of cast iron fittings, and later added valves and hydrants.

    U.S. Pipe purchased the North Birmingham Pipe Plant in 1911. The Dimmick Pipe Company was established in 1900 and built a pressure pipe plant in North Birmingham with initial production coming from four pits. Pipe in sizes 4 inch through 24 inch was produced at a rate of 150-175 tons per day. A few years later Dimmick added a second shop to produce pipe 30 inch through 60 inch at a rate of 125 tons per day.

    Each of the company's original plants manufactured pipe by the pit cast method. With this method, molten iron was poured in vertical molds lined with sand. This method produced satisfactory pipe, but costs were high and production was slow.

  • Technological Advancement

    From 1899 to 1921 the nation's population and economy grew rapidly, and so did its demand for pipe. U.S. Pipe realized that only through mass production and mechanization would it be able to meet the nation's ever- increasing demand for pipe.

    In 1921, Dimitri Sensaud deLavaud introduced centrifugal casting, a new pipe production process that would revolutionize the industry. That same year the Company purchased deLavaud's rights for the manufacture of cast iron pipe by the centrifugal casting method. DeLavaud's process consisted of introducing molten iron into a rapidly rotating steel mold. The centrifugal force of the rotating mold distributed the molten iron uniformly around the inner surface of the mold, which, upon cooling, resulted in a high-quality pipe. The Company now had the technology to mass produce a superior quality pipe. The North Birmingham Plant was the first of the company's facilities to be equipped for this new process.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions

    Due to a growing population west of the Rocky Mountains, the company decided to construct its fifth plant in California. The plant was located a few miles southeast of Oakland in Union City. It began operations in 1951 and produced pipe in sizes 4 inch through 12 inch. Later the capability was expanded to include 16 inch and then 18 inch, 20 inch, and 24 inch pipe.

    In 1952 U.S. Pipe merged with Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company, a major coke and pig iron supplier, with coal mines and manufacturing facilities in Birmingham, Alabama. The next year U.S. Pipe's corporate offices were moved from the McNeal mansion in Burlington, New Jersey to Birmingham.

    As technology advanced, the need for pig iron in the manufacture of Ductile Iron pipe decreased. The decision was made to close the old Sloss-Sheffield blast furnace operation. Today, U.S. Pipe recycles waste material (ferrous scrap) into Ductile Iron pipe for use in water and wastewater systems throughout the world, which improves the living conditions for millions of people.

    The coal mining operations (Jim Walter Resources, Inc.), and the coke, chemicals, and mineral wool facilities (Sloss Industries, Inc.), continue to operate as separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Walter Industries, Inc.

    In 1961 U.S. Pipe acquired the T.C. King Pipe and Fittings Company located in Anniston, Alabama. During the 1970's the Anniston Plant expanded into outside commercial sales and in 1987 the name of the plant was changed to U.S. Castings.

    The assets and business of the A.P. Smith Manufacturing Company, located in East Orange, New Jersey, were acquired in 1966. This company was founded in 1896 and since that time has been a producer of valves, fire hydrants, special equipment for making service connections and valve insertions under pressure. Operations were relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee in two steps, with final completion in 1970.

    U.S. Pipe entered the pattern and specialized tooling business in 1967 through the purchase of the assets of Southern Precision, Inc., located in Irondale, Alabama. From a small beginning in the late 1940's, Southern Precision has grown into a leading producer of specialized tooling and resin-coated sands for the foundry industry. (In 1987 it became a separate subsidiary of Walter Industries, Inc. and was sold in 2003.)

    In 1969 Jim Walter Corporation of Tampa, Florida acquired U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company. In 1988, the New York Investment firm of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company acquired Jim Walter Corporation in a leveraged buyout. The parent corporation's name was changed to Walter Industries, Inc. in 1991.

    Walter Industries, Inc., was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in late 1997, following recapitalization in March 1995.

    In 2005 U.S. Pipe, through Walter Industries, Inc., acquired Mueller Water Products, Inc. In December 2006 Walter Industries completed the spin off of its water products group (U.S. Pipe, Mueller Company, Inc. and Anvil International, Inc.) which began with an IPO (Initial Public Offering) in June, 2006. The new company maintained the name Mueller Water Products, Inc. and is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol MWA.

    On April 2, 2012 Mueller Water Products completed the sale of U.S. Pipe and Foundry to USP Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Wynnchurch Capital, LTD. Today U.S. Pipe is the largest domestic producer of Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 4 inch through 64 inch. U.S. Pipe perfected the production of Ductile Iron pipe, which is superior in strength to cast iron, and was the first in the industry to use Ductile Iron exclusively for all its pressure pipe and fittings.

    On April 16, 2016 Forterra Building Products (“Forterra”), a leading North American provider of site infrastructure and water management products and solutions and a multinational manufacturer of concrete and clay building products, acquires U.S. Pipe. U.S. Pipe is North America’s leading provider of ductile iron pipe products for water distribution and water management applications in North America and a leader in fittings, joint restraints and other related products.

    On October 20,2016 Forterra Building Products ("Forterra") became a publicly traded company and began trading on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "FRTA".

  • Plants and Products

    Bessemer - The Bessemer Plant produces Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 14 inch - 64 inch (DN350-1600mm). The 14-inch through 42-inch sizes are produced in 18 foot (5.5m) lengths. Sizes 48 inch- 64 inch (DN1200-1600mm) are produced in 20-foot (6m) lengths. Joint configurations produced are TYTON®,TR FLEX®, Mechanical Joint, Flanged and USIFLEX® Boltless Ductile Iron pipe.

    Marvel City Mini Mill - The Marvel City Mini Mill produces Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 6 in, 8 in, 10 in, and 12 in, in 20' lengths. Joint configurations made include TYTON Joint Pipe. Modern Casting's Metalcaster of the Year.

    Union City - Union City produces Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 6 inch - 24 inch in 18-foot lengths. Joint configurations made include TYTON, TR FLEX, Mechanical Joint Pipe.

    International - In Addition to ANSI/AWWA products, the company actively and successfully participates in the international market with a full range of metric products in accordance with the ISO standards. The Company’s Bessemer Pipe Plant manufactures Ductile Iron pipe from 350mm – 1600mm. A commensurate range of fittings is also available.

  • Timeline

    1899 - United States Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Company incorporated.

    1911 - North Birmingham Pipe Plant is purchased.

    1921 - Rights to centrifugal casting method acquired.

    1929 - The company name is changed to United States Pipe and Foundry Company.

    1951 - A facility in Union City, California is constructed.

    1953 - Corporate office moves to Birmingham, Alabama.

    1961 - T.C. King Pipe and Fittings Company acquired.

    1966 - A.P. Smith Manufacturing Company acquired.

    1967 - U.S. Pipe enters the pattern and specialized tooling business through the purchase of Southern Precision, Inc.

    1969 - U.S. Pipe acquired by Jim Walter Corporation.

    1970 - Valve and hydrant facilities are relocated in Chattanooga.

    1987 - Anniston Plant renamed U.S. Castings.

    1988 - Parent Corporation name changed to Walter Industries, Inc.

    2005 - U.S. Pipe, through Walter Industries, acquires Mueller Water Products, Inc.

    2006 - Walter Industries Inc. completes the spin off of its water products group, including U.S. Pipe, into a new publicly traded company called Mueller Water Products, Inc. (MWA).

    2008 - Marvel City Mini Mill - Operations begin at our state of the art ductile iron pipe plant. Marvel City Mini Mill wins Modern Casting's Metalcaster of the Year.

    2012 - Wynnchurch Capital, LTD finalizes the purchase of U.S. Pipe.

    2016 - Forterra Building Products finalizes the purchase of U.S. Pipe.

    2016 - U.S. Pipe adds Concrete and Steel Pressure Pipe to the product lines.

    2016 - Forterra Building Products, which includes U.S. Pipe, becomes publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol “FRTA”.