This newsreel is titled The Story of Canadian Pine made by the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau in the mid to late 1930’s. Starting with freshly cut, raw Canadian pine floating in a tributary of the Ottawa River (1:20), the viewer is taken along the story of pine manufacturing and all its production stages.
Starting in spring, river men move the logs downstream with the help of tug boats. (1:28) The logs are floated into a boon, an assembly point of wood logs that appear almost like islands in the river. Boons can be as large as 5 acres floating in the water. (1:46) Logs ultimately sit in a mill pond, a water assembly basin that abuts a mill’s entrance (2:09). The logs are then attached to chains that pulls them out of the water via a conveyor belt. (2:17)
Only men are seen working in the film. In the river scenes, men can be seen in vintage lumberjack clothing. (2:43) Mill hands, shown at various times working inside the factory, are seen in typical 1930’s working garb while notably in hats from caps to fedoras.
The logs then progress from the water to a conveyer trough. (2:50) The pine logs are moved from the conveyor to the saw by a machine called a kicker. (3:00) Large chainsaws are seen cutting off the pine bark and exposing the wood beneath. Mechanical hands, known at ‘niggers’, (3:08) are shown to rotate the wood to enable the saws to automatically cut away all the bark. An assembly line process, of one log finishing so that another log can be immediately fed into the edger machine, maximizes production. (3:34) This process is depicted as an industrial wonder that produces pine wood of even widths and sizes for commercial use.
This 1930’s Canadian Pine Industry is claimed to have produced 2 Billion feet of Canadian wood or $30M in commercial lumber, which would amount to 25,000 miles of wood if placed end-to-end. Men sorting the wood sets the pine on 1 of 3 main paths in the mill: 1) small pieces that make pickets for fences or household firewood, 2) timber for building houses and buildings and 3) sawdust and waste
Small pieces go to a lower level where a lathe, a circular saw, cuts the remnants. Some of the pine that is good enough goes to be butted to become pickets for fencing, ranging from 16-48 inches. Lesser quality pine is either finished in outlying buildings by smaller machines, bundled for firewood or sent to waste. The waste is a small percent of the process, but is disposed of in great burners. A large incinerator can be seen in the film. (8:53) A future scientific discovery to find a use for this waste was envisioned in this 1930’s production. The film notes sawdust was being tried as a fertilizer at that time. Canadian lumber mill workers’ pay is notably mentioned while a man is working at a large machine. (7:53) The narrator mentions that men are not salaried, but pay is tied to one’s productivity; “the greater the production… the greater the pay”. Lumber is seen going through a chemical dip that protects the pine from fungus and disease. (10:37:10) Inspection is highlighted as part of the process. Skilled pine inspectors are seen looking at each piece and taking out defects. (11:30) Passage is marked with a literal stamp of approval – where the country name and species “Canadian Pinus Stobus” is marked on each piece of lumber. (13:00). Pinus Strobus is commonly known as the eastern white pine, northern white pine, white pine or Weymouth pine (British). It is native to eastern North America through the Great Lakes region to southeastern Manitoba, Minnesota and south along the Appalachian Mountains to the upper Piedmont and northernmost Georgia. (Wikipedia)
Off to the lumber yard the pine goes reached with the help of the Canadian railroads. In 1934, Canadian National Railroads hauled 213,000 tons of lumber. Lumber yards are purposely placed on high, dry ground. (11:41:50) Lumber is then placed beneath cover boards stacked with a design for good ventilation the helps the wood dry and not get mildewed.
After requisite drying, lumber is seen being loaded from the lumber yard onto railcars. The newsreel shows the pine moved directly from railcars onto a vintage, pre-war steamer ship with the help of a dockside crane. (12:50) Longshoremen are then seen loading the pine into the hull. (14:20) Loading complete, the ship sails into a beautiful harbor with the pine set for markets at ports unknown. This film wraps with how mass production of Canadian Pine leads to a better world and quality of life.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com