Witherby Tools


The History of Industrial Development and Toolmaking in US

  Industrial Chicago-Lumber by George W. Hotchkiss, 1891    

No apology is necessary to the lumber interest of Chicago and the Northwest for undertaking the compilation of a history of the rise and progress of the greatest among the commercial interests of the City of Chicago its lumber business.

An industry which, in its various ramifications, has reached a yearly volume of fully fifty millions of dollars , giving employment to a vast army of merchants, clerks and laborers, and support to fully twenty thousand individuals; a business which in the sixty years of its history has aggregated a volume of forty-six and a half billions feet of lumber; twenty and a half billions of shingles, which with lath, pickets, posts, railroad ties, telegraph poles, staves, bark and cordwood, aggregate a total value of nearly two billions of dollars, is fully entitled to such an historical resume of its inception and progress as shall impress upon the world at large the importance of the forestry interests of the Northwest as exemplified in the history of but one of the many cities of our land in which the trade in forestry products is a prominent feature.

The history has been carefully compiled from such data as was available after a quite exhaustive search and repeated conferences with those elder men of the fraternity who are still living to tell the tale of the pioneer; and while the historian is far from claiming that perfection of detail which might seem to some as being desirable, the work with all its imperfections is respectfully submitted as an honest endeavor to present those more salient points which he considers necessary to perpetuate and hand down to posterity a fairly authentic and correct history of the vast lumber industry of our city, with a (manifestly incomplete) biographical sketch of a large number of those enterprising merchants who have taken an active part in the development of the forestry industries of this portion of our growing nation.

The rapid denudation of the white pine forests renders such a history all the more desirable, in view of the fact that in a few decades, their existence will be but a memory. Should the life and health of the author of this history be spared to accomplish his ambition to prepare a similar compilation of the lumber history of the different states whose forests in the past sixty years have contributed no less than twenty-five billions of dollars to the wealth of the nation, his highest aspiration will have been satisfied.

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