National Geographic : 1957 Feb
167 Motoring through the State, I came upon dozens of industrial and school forests green with maturing pine and hardwoods. Hun dreds of youngsters, rallying behind the pro gram of Trees for Tomorrow, Inc., not only help plant acres of seedlings but go to sum mer forestry camps and learn good wood-lot management. Just as important is the concentrated effort of the U. S. Forest Products Laboratory at Madison to throw the full weight of scien tific research into finding out more and more about wood, especially our second-growth hardwood scrub, and what new uses can be made of it.* In this nine-acre installation, prefabrication of wooden houses was really born. Taking a leaf from the aircraft industry, with its stressed-skin construction of wings and fuse lage, the FPL's technicians built lightweight wall panels that were strong, well insulated, and easy to erect. The original test house still stands on the laboratory grounds. An even more modern companion stands close by. Its rooms are formed of new sandwich-panels faced with tough, dense surfaces of fiber or aluminum or porcelainized steel, and bonded to honey comb cores of balsa or paper. House Held Together with Glue There's another reason why architects and contractors keep an eye cocked on this house: glue holds it together. New synthetic-resin adhesives, set by high-frequency electricity, make prefabricated joints that are even stronger than the wood itself. In one corner of the lab playful technicians hung a set of scales on which visitors may weigh themselves. Nothing odd about the scales-except one item: They are attached to the roof by just two drops of glue. While lumbering itself is no longer Wiscon sin's chief industry, papermaking is a leader. The Badger State produced 1,700,000 tons of paper in 1955. More and more, Wisconsin's companies are turning away from production of run-of-the mill kraft and newsprint and are focusing on highly specialized and varied papers. To see some of them, I called one day on genial Elmer H. Jennings, president of Kaukauna's Thilmany Pulp & Paper Company (see illus tration at left). Perhaps the most impressive feature of the big plant was its woodpile. "We keep about four to five months' sup ply on hand," said Mr. Jennings. "When you figure that we chip some 10,000 cords a month, it does make quite a stack." We looked at machines flicking out 300 glassine-lined bags a minute, decorative wrappings pouring forth in any one of 400 different colors, reflective aluminum foil being laminated to paper and creped for insulation, tough wet-strength paper being laminated and treated to protect the tin plate of steel mills from corrosion. * See "Our Green Treasury, the National Forests," by Nathaniel T. Kenney, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September, 1956.