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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 20


Carlile P. Winslow was director of the U. S.
Forest Products Laboratory from 1917 to 1946.
Under "Cap" Win-slow's directorship, the Labo-
ratory recorded most of its long series of
accomplishments in the field of wood.
Dr. J.'A. Hall, director of the U. S. Forest Products Laboratory, is a
biochemist by train.ing, with early experience in the fruit, food, and
tobacco processing industries. Before he became director of the Labo-
ratory in 1951, he served as director of the Central States and
Pacific Northwest Forest Experiment Stations. Hall holds three degrees
from Wisconsin, and is one of dozens of Badger alumni employed at
the Laboratory, which lies just to the west of the Madison campus.
floors, roofs. By gluing plywood to a light framework,
he reasoned, you could produce a new kind of "building
block" complete with insulation, electric wiring, heating
ducts, and plumbing pipes where needed. Tests bore out
the theory, showing that the panels were in effect box
beams in which the plywood covers helped carry loads.
Thus was born in 1935 the first truly engineered house
making use of the strength of covering materials as well
as framework. It is the ancestor of most "prefabs" today
and was in production by the late 1930's.
  Too, news had come from Europe of a chemical dis-
covery with startling implications for the wood industries.
New resin-like materials with remarkable plastic and ad-
hesive properties had been synthesized. They fascinated
the glue chemists, in particular, because of their incom-
parable resistance to water. Before the thirties had run
their course, resin-glued plywood was on the market that
could stay in the rain or under water indefinitely without
peeling apart, and a new era of weatherproof wood prod-
ucts had arrived.
  The Laboratory's World War II research accomplish-
ments were remarkable and have had a lasting postwar
effect upon industry. For example:
20
0 The packaging research that solved the myriad prob--
lems of supplying a global army and navy yielded im-
proved wood boxes and crates, new waterproof and
grease-proof protective wraps, fiberboard containers that
could withstand the grim realities of invasion by sea.
*Plywood and laminated wood were made capable of
any conceivable use outdoors-as keels for Navy PT boats
and minesweepers, or as lawn and patio furniture.
0 Paper impregnated with phenolic resin became a plastic
surfacing material of demonstrable use, among other
things, for upgrading veneers.
6 New knowledge brought closer the day when wood in
any form-even sawdust-could be transformed into use-
ful materials.
* And the marriage of wood with other materials-pa-
per, plastics, even metals-opened new vistas for future
peacetime exploration.
T HE CESSATION of hostilities in 1945 and emergence
    of the United States as leader of the free world has
necessitated continued military research in forest products
and related fields although, of course, on a markedly
smaller scale than in wartime.
Wisconsin Alumnus, November, 1957


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