+(27) 12 258 9910 / 11 / 16 / 17 werner@britspale.co.za

In the interests of keeping our customers and potential customers informed about the great wooden poles industry we have in South Africa, we thought you might find it interesting to learn a little of the origins of wood poles and a few fascinating facts surrounding their history. There are also certain standards that they need to comply with, so here then is an overview of wood – the wonder poles – a little history and something about standards

The history

Wood poles have for many years been used as transmission poles, supporting telecommunications as they sprawl across our vast landscape, but it was in fact in the United States that they found their origin.

With an estimated 130 million poles in place in North America, they have always been a part of American culture because they live in a country blessed with abundant forest resources. Even in these technology dominated times wood poles are still first choice for utility poles, both in the USA and here in South Africa. It is believed they will continue to do so for many more years too, due to their long record of performance, competitive, cost-effective pricing and far greater environmental benefits compared to the alternatives.

According to ‘Woodpoles.org’ in the USA, the first documented usage of wood poles was in 1844 with the development of the telegraph. Samuel Morse received a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Congress to construct a 40-mile telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington D.C. Morse originally tried to put his new telegraph lines underground, but in the first few miles the lines failed. So he turned to placing the lines overhead and advertised to buy 700 “straight and sound” wood poles!’ Electrification followed and the rest is history, transmission poles were born!

So, what is a definition of transmission poles and what do they do today? Transmission poles are columns or posts used to support overhead power lines and various other public utilities, such as cable, fiber optic cable and related equipment such as transformers and street lights.


Back when the Wooden poles in the USA became the ‘utility’ poles, as they are sometimes known, to support electric cables, standards for pressure treating wood with preservatives to extend their service life were developed through the American Wood Protection Association – or AWPA. Here is South Africa the best wooden poles suppliers treat their wooden transmission poles with CCA or creosote.  All treated transmission poles comply with SANS754 and experts like Brits poles SA are ISO9001/2015 compliant. All transmission poles should undergo either a CCA or Creosote treatment, thereafter they are quality inspected.

We hope this article on wood – the wonder poles – a little history and something about standards has been enlightening and made some interesting reading. Remember at Brits poles SA, only the best poles become part of our product range. We take standards compliance very seriously and until recently we were the only plant that voluntarily complied with the SABS 10255. This standard is aimed at the improvement of the occupational health and safety of plant personnel and the prevention of environmental contamination around timber treatment plants.

Contact us to learn more and find out why we are South Africa’s premier wooden pole suppliers!