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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #922: Klungness, John H. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (April 15, 2008)

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00:00:00 - 00:03:02 Introduction

Introduction, background, logging in Norway, Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, employment history, Northwest Paper Company, paper mills, Brainerd (Minn.), Cloquet, technical service engineer, research coating, Rayovac, Forest Products Laboratory, retirement

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Good afternoon, today is Tuesday April 15th, 2008. My name is Allison Page and I'm with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, Oral History Program, and today I will be interviewing John Klungness about his rememberances with the Forest Products Lab. Mr. Klungness if you would like to start off with just briefly describing your childhood, your academic background, and kind of what led you into the Forest Products Lab.


I think I began to have an interest in forestry [and] the forest products industry, when I was fourteen years old back in 1947. I got to go logging with my grandfather in Norway. Both of my parents were Norwegian immigrants who met in this country and I was the first born. My mother took us back, me and my two younger brothers, to visit her parents in Norway after the second World War, I was there a whole winter, and went to school there. My grandfather was a logger and I got to go logging with him. That experience gave me a love for logging and forestry and the type of self-reliance, work ethic, [and a respect for the forest] that you develop when you're a logger.

And later, I enrolled in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and got a bachelor's degree. After that, I went to work for the Northwest Paper Company, which subsequently became Potlatch. I worked for them because they were [connected] with forestry really and I wanted to have [that] connection. So I worked for a paper mill, I worked four years in Brainerd, Minnesota as a technical service engineer. Then I was transferred to Cloquet for three years and I worked in coating research. I was a coating research engineer. And after that I came to Madison and worked for a short while, less than two years for Ray-O-Vac and then I saw the opportunity to get a job at the Forest Products Laboratory in 1970, which I worked until I retired in [2006].

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