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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 59, Number 5 (Nov. 1957)

The U.S. Forest Products Laboratory,   pp. 16-21


Page 16


Two
State
groun
devel
                This near neighbor of the University
has played a major role in development
        of today's fascinating wood industry
                                                 the U. S. forest
of the first prefabricated houses built in the United  0 BUSINESS can today
remain robust on a diet of
s were erected on the Forest Products Laboratory     the technical knowledge
that was available in, say,
ids in 1937. Much of the research that preceded the  N
opment of the prefab industry was at the Laboratory. A.D. 1910-which happens
to be the year the U.S.
                                               Forest Products Laboratory
went into action.
   The wood-working shop of 1910 was a business geared
 to the individual skills of its workmen and to certain
 jealously guarded craft "secrets" involving such "arts"
as
 gluing, seasoning, and finishing. How those skills and
 secrets would fare in today's rough competition for mar-
 kets takes little imagination to visualize.
   The transformation of the wood-working business and
 the forest products industries since 1910, is a fascinating
 story of research and development. It's also a story of
 hard work, liberally salted with obstacles but satisfyingly
 sweetened with successes. And perhaps best of all, it's a
,story with many installments yet to come.
   That research didn't spring full-blown into existence
 with an Act of Congress. In fact, Congress turned down
 the first proposal to set up a Forest Products Laboratory.
 Only the persistence and ingenuity of a small band of
 men in the young, struggling Forest Service saved the
 dream of a unified, centralized Laboratory where the var-
 ied skills of the different sciences could work together
 on the problems of wood utilization.
16


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