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Empire in Pine: The Story of Lumbering in Wisconsin, 1830-1900 Revised Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0940473119
ISBN-10: 0940473119
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: William Caxton Ltd; Revised edition (July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940473119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940473119
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,506,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mark W. Jeffries on January 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 2011, I travleled to Michigan and visited the fine logging exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing and the excellent outdoors exhibit of equipment and buildings at Hartwick Pines State Park. At the Wisconsin State Historical Society (WSHS) Museum in Madison I learned more about lumbering and found in its bookshop "Empire in Pine: The Story of Lumbering in Wisconsin 1830-1900." This book, first published by the WSHS in 1951, over the course of 254 pages covers the many different aspects of logging including its economics, sociology, and some discussion of the large personalities of lumber barons. The book has a good contemporary bibliography, a comprehensive index, and 26 interesting illustrations.
The book covers the land lookers/timber cruisers who found the best stands of pine, the purchase of logging rights, and the setting up and operation of lumber camps. There is nice detail about logging methods. Then it is on to the log drives, booming of logs at the mouths of rivers, and milling the logs. Saw types are reviewed. (The circular saw cut a 1/2 inch kerf in the logs! The band saw was much more efficient.) Lumber was initially sent downriver in large rafts, piloted with stern oars by persons who regarded themselves as the aristocrats of labor on the river. They became displaced by the use of steamers for towing rafts. Then along came the railroads. "Indeed transportation was a more important factor in ultimate profits than any other phase of the productive process." If railroad rates rose too high, lumbermen at times returned to log rafting. Advancing to the finishing of raw lumber improved the economics of the industry for the owners. There were ups and downs in profitability, e.g. with the Civil War and its aftermath and economic booms and depressions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Packed with solid information, it is a serious read. Well researched.
I sure wish I had known of it 30 years ago!
Reading the Empire in Pine and then The Pine Lands of Cornell University will provide great insight into the Pine Barrons and the Pinery. This will then lead to better understanding of the great forest fires of the Lake States and the large loss of life.
The bibliography pages the lead the reader to even more detail if that is desired.
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