Forest Service Circular No. 35
Forest Preservation and National Prosperity


Secretary National Slack Cooperage Manufacturers' Association.

I come before you as a delegate representing the National Slack Cooperage Manufacturers' Association and the Beer Stock Manufacturers' Association of the United States, both of which organizations represent vast capital invested and an enormous consumption yearly of the best hardwood timber. I am also in close connection with the Tight Barrel Stave Manufacturers' Association, the Eastern Cigar Box Manufacturers' Association, and other associations having to do with the manufacture of package material.

* * * When we consider that a wooden box is about the most familiar and frequently seen object on the face of the civilized earth, we can begin to appreciate the figure cut by the wooden-box industry alone, in lumber consumption.

* * * When we stop to think how much flour, apples, sugar, meat, fish, truck, salt, cement, lime, whisky, beer, oil, molasses, etc., are produced in the United States, and how largely they are dependent upon the barrel as a package, we begin to see what the consumption of timber—hardwood mainly—mounts up to for barrel packages alone. The butter-tub trade is also an extensive one, and takes a large amount of a very high class of hardwood timber. A great annual production of woodenware in the shape of tubs, pails, firkins, etc., comes in to swell the aggregate in the use of timber by the package-making trade.

* * * The industries which I represent must have timber. They must have a very great amount of it. They must have it steadily available on a strictly commercial basis. Now, what can the principles of scientific forestry do for these industries in a practical, businesslike way, which will place no hardship upon the manufacturers, but which will still preserve the timber for their use? All are greatly interested in this question and are looking to this congress to furnish at least some advance toward a solution of it.

Editor National Coopers' Journal.

* * * We cooperage people have for years gone at the destruction of at least two of the noblest specimens of the American forest—the white oak and the American elm—and followed them so relentlessly that the ends of both are well in sight, unless the American Forestry Association or the Bureau of Forestry will stay the hand of the stave man, do something to repair his wastefulness, or satisfy his rapacity with other woods.

* * * One of my contemporaries says that "it is the traditional policy of consumers of lumber and timber to ignore the possibility of the exhaustion of the timber supply, and invariably they fail to realize the fact until it has already taken place." That suggestion fits my cooperage friends exactly. Twenty-five years ago elm and oak were as abundant in the Northern States as gum and oak are in the Southern States now; and while that condition exists the campaign looking to conservation of the supply should be entered upon vigorously and determinedly, while the campaign for the reforestation of the denuded lands of the North should also be organized and pressed with earnestness.

* * * Necessity has compelled us to see that beech, maple, and birch will take the place of elm and basswood for slack-cooperage work; and we are also learning that gum will make the best of barrels when handled properly. And I presume there are other timbers growing in our forests that need only intelligent handling to become equally available. Whatsoever the American Forestry Association or the Bureau of Forestry can do to demonstrate this, to prevent waste and destruction by fire and insects, and to renew supplies, will be work well done.

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Last Updated: 01-Apr-2008