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The History of Helical Piles

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The History of Helical Piles

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Cantsink is a world-renowned helical pile manufacturing company that has provided our uniquely designed helical piles to foundation installers and piling companies since 1988. You may be surprised to learn that the development of the helical pile has its foundations in the mid 1800’s.

Helical piles, also known as screw piles or screw anchors, have a rich and varied history as reliable foundation materials dating all the way back to the mid 1800s. Straight, wooden piles were the standard for quite some time, and as you can imagine, these required time-consuming and tiring upkeep. 

An Irish civil engineer named Alexander Mitchell was the first known author of a piece regarding the helical pile, and thus its invention was attributed to him. It was published in the The Civil Engineer and Architect’s Journal in 1848. He went into great detail about this wrought or cast iron pile and its helix shape, capable of pressurizing and stabilizing even the most poor quality soil by being screwed into the earth. Mitchell remarked on how helical piles were then primarily being used by foundation installers for the support of professional nautical accessories such as piers and lighthouses.

Their durability and ease of installation made them a popular choice, but the stability they offered in otherwise unstable and lower quality soils was what really sealed their championed use. Soon after, moorings and railway bridges were using helical piles in their foundations as well, and Alexander Mitchell decided to patent the helical pile. Within the patent, he recorded that the helical pile is typically installed with human strength, but its installation was aided in the past by animals, like donkeys and horses. 

By the early 1900s, exciting new findings in agricultural science, particularly around soil and irrigation, spurred folks on to use helical piles for fencing and farming. Over the next 50 years, helical piles were found to be majorly beneficial in the construction of anchors, tower legs, and pipelines. Today, it’s common knowledge that steel helical piles are the most cost-effective, simple-to-install, reliable, and durable foundation application for almost any structure.

To learn more about helical piles and their uses in the foundation repair and construction industries today, reach out to Cantsink, a helical pile manufacturing company, trusted by foundation installers across the country. Cantsink’s unique, patented helical design made of 100% steel and 50% stronger than other helix designs.

For more information, please call (678) 280-7453 or email [email protected].