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Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Historic Steel Pipe Columns

I have steel pipe columns in a building built in 1908 in San Diego. Can anyone let me know where to find information on pipe manufactured in this era?

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns


I have an older copy of that and it does not included steel pipe. Does the newer version have them?

I also have the book "Iron and Steel Beams 1873 to 1952" but that omits pipe too.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Good afternoon TCSE,

Your column may be cast iron. There were a variety of proprietary CI column systems available at that time. A quick web search may turn up something you can identify.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

TCSE - It would be very unusual for a 1908 round column to be steel. Cast iron was the material of choice for round columns until the 1920's. If the column you have is steel, it may have been installed later. If it is cast iron, go to this page of my website:

Any of the handbooks the handbooks there will have loading info for round cast iron columns. I suggest looking at pages 288 - 290 of the 1909 Cambria Steel Handbook.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Thanks. There's a steel beam seat welded to it which makes me think it's steel. There's also a bolted connection from the steel beam to the beam seat which I'm still investigating. This is in the 1st story of a 4 story historic building and supports concrete walls above so I believe the column is original construction.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns


Thanks SlideRuleEra, those are great references.

And I still have my K&E Decilon Slide Rule in it's original (beat up) box. I was the last student in college to go to a calculator.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

The earliest reference that I know of for steel pipe columns is in F.E. Kidder's "Building Construction", 1913. Perhaps your building is one of the early adopters of steel columns instead of iron. Pipe wall thickness for steel will need to be determined. Wall thickness for cast iron columns was well established for the various diameters by the early 20th century.

See pages of 696 - 698, and 849 - 854, of Kidder's book:

Perhaps you could run the calcs for both steel and iron. With a little luck, you may find that either would be acceptable... or that neither will work for your application.

K&E Decilon... impressive! I used the comparable Pickett N4-ES

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Arc "Welding" of any kind was rare before WWII ship building forced changes in riveting techniques.

And they learned a lot then, but in 1908? I suspect the angle iron attachment is a "later detail" added with no QA and probably no NDE and probably no welding procedure or preheat or confirmed electrodes.

The round surface in your photo doesn't look like "steel" but has the coarser "feel" of a cast iron column. What does the rest of the column look like? End pieces? Caps? Ornamental ends or flutes or decorations? Once a cast mold is made, the old guys usually added embellishments and decorations to mimic stone columns if they could afford it. The extra decorations don't cost much after the first mold is carved.

Welding to cast iron can produce a "sticky joint" but you really don't know how strong it is.

If visible, treat the column like an ornamental piece, and remove the weld. Do something else to replace the suspect joint. If invisible, replace the column and salvage the cast iron - others WILL want it in other projects.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Are you sure that beam seat is welded? Looks from here like it was part of the original casting. Is there a support Web under neath?

My motto: Learn something new every day

Also: There's usually a good reason why everyone does it that way

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Thank you Littleinch,

I never considered that they could cast a column that way, I'll have to investigate that further. That would explain a lot.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Quote (TCSE - replying to SlideRule Era)

And I still have my K&E Decilon Slide Rule in it's original (beat up) box. I was the last student in college to go to a calculator.

I started college with a slide rule, but I had competed in slide rule in high school, so I was more comfortable with them than many. Changed to one of the early (very expensive! 200 dollar+) HP calculators near the end of my sophomore year for ME 213 (dynamics), and haven't done anything with them since.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

I have done a number of jobs lately that involve Cast Iron Columns (circa 1900 to 1910)in former retail stores that are being converted /repurposed into combo retail/residential units and the seat you refer to is cast into the column when it is sand cast.

If you have to anchor a new seat into the CI Column consider Lindapter Expanding Wedge bolts or Boxx Bolts (same thing).

I have reinforced these type of hollow Cast Iron columns by installing a small diameter rebar cage and filling them with concrete mix w/ 1/4" aggregate.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Thanks yaschief.

I drilled a hole in the column to find the wall thickness and confirmed it on two of the columns with UT. It was 1 1/4" thick and very hard. That has to be cast iron. That was my conclusion on the seats too, the seats are cast with the columns. And thanks to slideruleera. I don't know if I could have found the old cast iron manuals without his help.

I was never able to find any information on structural steel pipe including when it was first made.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns


Did you analyse the seat to determine if it will hold up the new load?
If you did how did you analyse it?
Have you done any calcs, have you checked any allowable stresses?
I would be interested to know since i have same situation to deal with.


RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns

Hi Yaschief,

Have you analysed the CI girder seats?
How do you calculate the allowable stresses?

Thank you for your time.

RE: Historic Steel Pipe Columns


I was removing a mezzanine floor from the column, not adding any loads, so I didn't do any work with the beam seats. My issue was with the unbraced length of the column. Good luck to you, that's another interesting problem you have.

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