University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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

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

Page [17]

)roducts -laboratory
  Some research was already under way in little projects
in a half-dozen places-a paper laboratory in Boston;
strength testing at schools like Purdue, Washington,
California; seasoning investigations at Yale; some pre-
servative experiments in Washington, D. C. The scatter-
shot nature of this cooperative research program had
become painfully clear to its Forest Service sponsors. Ac-
cordingly, men like William L. Hall, in charge of
the research, and his dynamic chief, Gifford Pinchot,
promptly sought other solutions when Congress rejected
their proposal of a laboratory. Thus it came to pass that
the Laboratory was born in Madison, Wis., instead of
Washington, D. C., when the University of Wisconsin
offered a new building on University avenue complete with
heat, power and lights.
  The infant Laboratory was formally dedicated in 1910,
the first of its kind in the world. It was a unique adven-
ture in research dedicated to the concept that men trained
in various sciences could work more efficiently on mutual
research problems if they worked together, as teams.
  And so a small but eager group of men and women
began the work that was eventually to make itself felt
in every sawmill, wood-working plant, furniture factory,
paper mill, veneer and plywood mill-in every wood-
using shop in the nation. In due course its significance
became recognized the world around, as country after
country set up similar research organizations.
  There is scarcely a commercial product made of wood
today that doesn't reflect that research. Lumber is better
sawed, graded, seasoned, stored. Design of wood struc-
tures-houses, churches, schools, factories, bridges, boats,
aircraft-is based on it. New materials, products, methods
-whole new industries-have developed from it.
  The "Madison Lab" has long since ceased to be alone
in its field, of course; various State and private industrial
organizations have done much, and their growing con-
tributions are badly needed. And, the forward-looking in-
dustries of the Nation have spent time, money, and brains
putting those research findings to work. At best, research
can only point the way.
T ODAY IT'S RELATIVELY easy to find out what re-
    search has done and can do for the forest products
industries. People generally understand what is meant by
the term "scientific research" and how the scientist oper-
ates. They know that he uses special tools in his labora-
tory to get basic information that he analyzes to work out
generalized conclusions as to whys and wherefores. It
This article is condensed from the Woodworker Magazine

Go up to Top of Page