Inventory of the William H. Carson Collection, 1954 – 1991
Abstract: This collection consists of miscellaneous source materials that Mr. William Carson gathered while conducting research on the history of early log hauling equipment. Copies of Carson's handwritten articles are included in this collection. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from associates and colleagues knowledgeable about early log hauling equipment and correspondence from numerous archival institutions, historical societies, and museums that supplied Carson with historical information and copies of photographs found in their various archival collections.
Title: William H. Carson Collection, 1954 - 1991
Creator: Carson, William H.
Repository: Forest History Society Library and Archives
Call Number: 3955
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 1.5 linear feet (3 archival boxes)
The transport of logs from the forest to manufacturers consists of two distinct phases: skidding, or the movement of logs to a collecting site, and the transport of logs from the collecting site to lumber mills. Whereas skidding normally involves transporting logs relatively short distances, the movement of logs to the mill usually involves long distances and a variety of transportation means. Before the mechanization of American log transportation after the Civil War, whole logs were laboriously moved to the landing site via teams of oxen or horses or by floating them down streams and rivers. In the 1860s loggers began to cut trees into sawlogs in the forest and transport the smaller logs to the landing by sleigh. Experimentation led to the development of wider sleighs that accommodated the sawlogs more easily and transported them more efficiently. Increasing mechanization during the nineteenth century spurred the construction of railroads to carry logs from the landing to the mill.
Technology continued to influence log transportation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the 1880s Horace Butters, of Ludington, Michigan, patented the first stationary steam skidder. This steam-powered traction machine, and others like it, replaced the oxen and horses previously used to skid logs to the landing. The steam skidder could move logs on land or through the air and was instrumental in loading logs onto railroad log cars at the collection site. As early as 1868 innovators were experimenting with the development of steam crawlers. Glover and Chandler built a successful steam crawler tractor in 1888 but went bankrupt just one year later. In 1900 Alvin O. Lombard of Maine began building a steam-powered log hauler with crawler treads and skids in front for steering. Lombard continued to manufacture this machine for almost two decades. In 1907 the Phoenix Manufacturing Company of Wisconsin also began producing a successful steam-powered log hauler. These improvements in log hauling increased the efficiency and productivity of logging operations in the United States.
In the days before mechanization of log transportation, chutes and flumes were utilized to connect remote skidding sites with major means of transportation, such as railroads, which continued to dominate log transportation from 1900 to 1940. But as increasing mechanization facilitated the logging of vast regions of forest land, other means of log hauling were needed to provide more efficient and less costly access to remote stands of timber in mountainous regions. In the late 1910s logging trucks were first utilized in the forest. Lumber companies began to build truck roads to reach virgin forest land rather than extend the expensive logging railroads further into the interior. The crawler tractor was another machine used to skid logs and pull them over primitive roads in bad weather. Although there were some twenty models of the crawler tractor built in this era, the most popular was the "Caterpillar," a registered trade name of the Holt Manufacturing Company, which later became the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Diesel engines rather than gasoline engines were used almost exclusively in trucks and tractors by the 1940s. These and other such improvements in log transportation, coupled with high costs of logging, provided the foundation for modern logging practices and allowed small logging companies to compete more easily with large logging operations, especially in the 1940s and 1950s.
Source: William G. Rector, "Log Transportation,"Encyclopedia of American Forest and Conservation History, Vol. I (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1983), 354-362.
This collection consists of miscellaneous source materials that Mr. William Carson gathered while conducting research on the history of early log hauling equipment. Copies of Carson's handwritten articles are included in this collection. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from associates and colleagues knowledgeable about early log hauling equipment and correspondence from numerous archival institutions, historical societies, and museums that supplied Carson with historical information and copies of photographs found in their various archival collections. Said photographs are dispersed throughout the collection. These materials are housed in two manuscript boxes.
Also included in this collection is one manuscript box holding iconographic materials pertaining to the Homestake Mining Company's Lumber and Timber Department operations. Materials include photographs and negatives of the company's mills, logging sites, and log hauling equipment. The Homestake Mining Company was founded in the late 1880s. Its home office was in Lead, South Dakota, and at one time it operated offices in California, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Because the company needed lumber for fuel and power and for wood products used in the mining of gold, it operated lumber mills in South Dakota and Wyoming.
In boxes one and two, files are arranged primarily in chronological order in seven series. Carson's original arrangement scheme of maintaining separate files for materials sent by different institutions has not been changed. Therefore, files contain information provided by specific individuals or agencies and are thus labeled. The iconographic materials in box three are arranged chronologically in an eighth series: Homestake Mining Company.
- Miscellaneous, 1981-1992
- Log Haulers: Linn, 1982-1988
- Log Haulers: Lombard, 1984-1985
- Log Haulers: Phoenix, 1983-1987
- Log Haulers: Miscellaneous, 1984-1990
- Photographs, 1983-1987
- Published Materials, 1968-1991
- Homestake Mining Company, 1954-1984
- Carson, William H.
- Homestake Mining Company
- Labbe, John T.
- Logging -- Equipment and supplies
- Log transportation -- United States -- 20th century
- Portner, Ernest Leigh
Detailed Description of the Collection
1. Miscellaneous, 1981-1992.
- Folder 1
Gift Information, January 3, 1992
- Folder 2
Cross Haul Loading, July 6, 1981 to January 16, 1982
- Folder 3
Carson Articles, undated
- Includes supporting sources and copies of articles William H. Carson submitted to the Columbia River & Pacific Northwest Timberbeast.
2. Log Haulers: Linn, 1982-1988.
- Folder 4
General, August 3, 1982 to May 17, 1984
- Folder 5
John T. Labbe, August 26, 1982 to May 20, 1986
- Folder 6
The Northern Logger, February 25, 1983 to August 3, 1983
- Folder 7
Adirondack Museum, March 10, 1983
- Folder 8
Ernest Leigh Portner, December 7, 1984 to January 8, 1988 and undated
- Folder 9
New York State Museum, December 26, 1984 to January 14, 1985
- Folder 10
Provincial Archives, Alberta, January 10, 1985
- Folder 11
Mussens Equipment Ltd, January 11, 1985
- Folder 12
Provincial Archives, Manitoba, May 24, 1985 to December 3, 1985
3. Log Haulers: Lombard, 1984-1985.
- Folder 14
- Includes excerpts from: Wik, Reynold M., Benjamin Holt and Caterpillar Tracks and Combines, American Society of Agricultural Engineers
- Folder 15
Gas and Diesel Log Haulers, November 1984 to December 1985 and undated
- Folder 16
Steam Log Haulers, May 14, 1985 and undated
4. Log Haulers: Phoenix, 1983-1987.
- Folder 17
General, May 4, 1983 to December 6, 1987
- Folder 18
Michigan State Archives, November 14, 1984 to January 31, 1985
- Folder 19
Minnesota Historical Society, June 24, 1985
- Folder 20
Saskatchewan Archives Board, December 20, 1984 to March 7, 1985
5. Log Haulers: Miscellaneous, 1984-1990.
- Folder 21
Requests for Information, January 10, 1985 to October 17, 1988
- Folder 22
Linn, Lombard, Phoenix, Glover, and Chandler, December 7, 1984 to March 29, 1985
- Folder 23
Lombard, Peavey, and Miscellaneous, July 11, 1984 to June 20, 1990 and undated
6. Photographs, 1983-1987 and undated.
- Folder 24
General Photographs, developed 1983-1987 and undated
- Includes 3.5" x 5" photographs of Linn, Lombard, Phoenix, Glover and Chandler, Peavey, and Eureka log hauling equipment.
- Folder 24
Public Archives, Canada, December 17, 1984
- Includes 8" x 10" photographs of Eureka and Phoenix log hauling equipment.
- Folder 26
Miscellaneous: Linn, Phoenix, 1983-1987
- Includes 5" x 7" photographs.
- Folder 27
Miscellaneous: Lombard, Phoenix
- Includes 8" x 10" photographs.
- Folder 28
- Includes 5" x 7", 5" x 8", and 8" x 10" photographs.
- Folder 29
- Includes 8" x 10" photographs.
- Folder 30
Miscellaneous: Lombard, Peavey
- Includes 5" x 7" and 8" x 10" photographs.
7. Published Materials, 1968-1991.
- Folder 31
The Logger; AARP Bulletin, June 1985 to May 1991
- Folder 32
Railroad Model Craftsman, December 1984 to January 1985
- Includes articles on the Lombard log hauler.
- Folder 33
Jennings, Dana Close. Days of Steam and Glory. Aberdeeb, S.D.: North Plains Press, 1968.
8. Homestake Mining Company, 1954-1984.
- Folder 34
Lumber/Timber Department Operations, undated
- Folder 35
Sharp Bits, 1954-1965
- Includes photographic reproductions of Sharp Bits articles on such topics as contract sawmilling, multiple use of the forest, forest hazards, log hauling equipment, and logging conditions are included. Sharp Bits was a newsletter/journal published by the Homestake Mining Company.
- Folder 36
Log Hauling Equipment, 1984 and undated
- Includes photographs of Linn, Lombard, Phoenix, and Caterpillar log haulers and Athey trailers.
- Folder 37
- Includes negatives and "reshoots" for bracketing and exposure.
The nature of the Forest History Society's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Forest History Society claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.
The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.
[Identification of item], William H. Carson Collection, Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA.
Processed by Michele Justice, February 1992
Encoded by Amanda Ross, October 2008
Funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission supported the encoding of this finding aid. Support for digitization and outreach provided by the Alvin J. Huss Endowment.