Before lead and copper and cast iron pipes, there were clay and wood pipes. Woods pipes sound crazy, but in a time when trees were abundant but copper, iron and lead were harder to come by it made sense to use materials that were readily available.
Wooden pipes were basically logs that were drilled out. Nothing especially exotic about this, and it turned out that they could be effective transportation vessels for water when buried underground. And they would do their job until they rotted away, split or were replaced with more modern options.
I came across a wooden pipe from the 1870’s or 1880’s at the Department of Public Works in Burlington, Vermont a couple of years ago, and I’ve seen it every time I visit there. It’s a great reminder of the older infrastructure that our ancestors had to create to support the growing cities of the time. Yankee ingenuity? I think so. And also a time capsule that reminds us of our not-so-distant past.