75th Anniversary

75 Years of Underground Construction
  • 1940
  • 1950

First of Pipeliner (Underground Construction predecessor) magazine published 

Melfred Borzall founded


Texas Pipe Line Company and Shell Pipe Line Company to build 500-mile, $100-million crude oil line – the largest ever to be constructed with private money – from New Mexico to Oklahoma 


Technology advancements: 
Cathodic protection systems/coatings to mitigate pipeline corrosion 
Double submerged-arc welding process 
Radiographic inspection of pipeline girth welds 
Hydraulic-powered machinery 

Pipeline Contractors Association (PLCA) founded 

First all-hydraulic backhoes (invented in early 1947) were sold; became cornerstone equipment in underground pipeline construction as indispensable, multi-functional tool


Charles Machine Works’ Ditch Witch Power – world’s first mechanized, service-line trencher – became commercially available, revolutionizing digging of trenches for underground pipelines and launching the compact trencher industry

Transcontinental Pipe Line Corporation to construct nation’s longest 30-inch gas pipeline, from McAllen, Texas, to New York City (1,832 miles)

Technology introduced to coat and wrap pipe up to 34 inches; install pipe from under a bridge

Pipeliner purchased by Oliver Klinger, Oildom Publishing

7,103 miles of crude oil pipeline constructed at year-end


International Harvester (Chicago) and Superior Equipment (Bucyrus, Ohio) used pipebooms to slide 800-foot sections of 22-inch pipe on project bringing Canadian oil to market through the swamps of Minnesota


With the shortage of steel pipe, due to a high volume of projects, exacerbated by the Korean War, the Petroleum Administration for Defense set up an allocation system, with first priority given to oil, then natural gas 


M.J. Crose Manufacturing started producing a pipe bending machine with a vertical, versus horizontal, plane that accommodated larger than 20-inch pipe 



McElroy Manufacturing Inc. founded in Tulsa, Okla. 

A Transco loop program marked the first use of 36-inch pipe in long-distance transmission 

With the passing of his father, Oliver C. Klinger, Jr. became publisher of Pipeliner magazine 


New pipe coatings, using hydrocarbon polymers, improved performance in the underground environment and advancements in application boosted production and laying pipe. 

Introducing ditching equipment that could be operated by one person, Ditch Witch Power was equipped with a patented “endless conveyor digging chain” 


Pipeliner was renamed Pipeline Construction magazine 

M.J. Crose Manufacturing introduced the first pipeline ditch-filling and pipe-padder machine for pipelines 


Jim Cummings invented the dragline ditch padder attachment 

Case Construction Equipment produced the first fully integrated backhoe loader 

Representatives of 17 major American and European oil companies planned a 1,500-mile crude pipeline, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean via Iraq and Turkey 

A unique river crossing project in Philadelphia, involving 13 product lines in one trench, was completed for Gulf Oil Co. 

First sea-going lay barge designed specifically for offshore work in the Gulf of Mexico was commissioned by Marine Gathering Co. 

Texas Eastern Transmission established a record-breaking (offshore) cut on a 30-inch main line across the Rio Grande to Mexico’s gas fields 

Williams Bros. built the largest all-welded (onshore) pipeline: two, 55-inch, 13-mile lines transmitting coke-oven gas into a Penn. steel mill 



Southern Natural Gas announced plans for a $110-million gas main expansion – its largest ever 

Contractors completed the first interstate ethylene pipeline, extending from Lake Charles, La., to Orange, Texas 

The 2,240-mile Trans-Canada natural gas line, from Alberta to Montreal, was completed after three years, the world’s longest to date 

Westcoast transmission line brough the first gas into British Columbia and the Pacific northwestern states 


Harbert Construction’s 2,600-mile pipeline from McAllen, Texas, to Cutler, Fla., was Florida’s first gas line and the longest system under construction in the world 

A Transco project established two records: first dual crossing of a major river (the Hudson) using up to 24-inche pipe, and completed the 4,200-foot job in less than one week 

  • By year-end, 14,000 miles of crude oil pipeline was constructed, 1 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines were installed, versus just over 25,000 miles during 1940s
  • Construction plans in the U.S. and Canada totaled $2.2 billion
Featured Articles
75th Anniversary Timeline

1951  International Harvester (Chicago) and Superior Equipment (Bucyrus, Ohio) used pipebooms to slide 800-foot sections of 22-inch pipe on project bringing Canadian oil to market through the swamps of Minnesota    1952  With the shortage of steel pipe, due to a high volume of projects, exacerba..

1950s Pipeline & Distribution Construction: Record-Setting, Booming Business

Underground Construction’s first incarnation as the “Pipeliner” continued with booming growth throughout its first full decade of publishing – the 1950s. By the end of the decade, the magazine had broadened its coverage of underground infrastructure and was renamed Pipeline Construction and Oliver K..

LATE 1940S: Founding, Early Years

In 1946, Ellis Dunn and Red Collier of Dunn Brothers Pipeline Stringing, in Dallas, made the bold decision to transition their employee newsletter, Bullplug, into a full-scale, external magazine. First published in November 1946, Pipeliner focused on pipeline construction, which was evolving into a ..

Better with Age

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief After 75 years, Underground Construction has experienced its fair share of history through our constant industry involvement and countless close market partnerships. We’ve seen the best of times and the worst of times and covered it in detail throughout the maga..

Company Profiles
Profiles in Underground Construction

Charge  THEN  Founded 2006, in Benicia, Calif., as Accu-Bore, by Billy Kilmer, Jr.; in 2009, Mike Robirds, P.E. joined as an owner. Initially performed horizontal directional drilling throughout California for public an..

Cretex Specialty Products

THEN Formed in 1981 by Frank Odill, an engineer working at concrete pipe and manhole producer Waukesha (Wisc.) Concrete Products.First product was the Internal Manhole Chimney Seal, followed by an external version about two years later, for use on manhole rehabilitation projects.Seals were develo..

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