Helical piles have been used for well over 200 years. Today, there are over 50 helical pile manufacturing companies and there are over 163 U.S. patents relating to helical piles. Helical piles are a great solution for deep foundations from several different perspectives. From an engineering viewpoint, they can be adapted to support many different types of structures with several different soil conditions. From an owner perspective, the quick installation involved with a helical pile can reduce costs.

From a contractor standpoint, they are easy to install. From the public perspective, they are one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly deep foundation solutions available on the market today.


intro to helical piles


The first time a helical pile was used was in 1836 by a blind engineer named Alexander Mitchell. He steadily lost his site from age six to twenty-one. In his spare time, he studied mechanics, mathematics, science and building construction. An area of interest for Mitchell was how to secure structures in weak soils. This is when Mitchell designed the first helical pile and he patented his idea in 1833.

At this time, Mitchell was referring to his patent as the “screw pile”. In 1839, Mitchell used nine of his screw piles underneath the Maplin Sands Lighthouse. This foundation technique was successful and was considered an extremely valuable invention for lighthouses. After this, screw piles were used underneath several marine structures, such as piers, bridges, etc.



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