A Descriptive Catalogue of Manufactures From Native Woods

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One of the most interesting collections in that portion of the New Orleans World's Fair known as the Government building was the exhibit of the Department of Agriculture, showing the uses of American woods, which was chiefly made up of manufactured articles in all stages of manufacture representing the wood-working industries of the United States.<br><br>At the outset it was thought that such a collection would at least prove a novelty, and perhaps serve to call the attention of many people to the importance of the subject of forest protection who had hitherto given it little thought or care; but as the work progressed and the manufacturers became interested to the extent of preparing and donating many valuable exhibits illustrating prominent industries, it became evident that the collection would prove a useful aid in the study of the forestry question from the economic stand-point.<br><br>The future timber supply of the country is a grave question that before many years will demand the urgent consideration of many who now affect to regard it most lightly. In view of the immense annual destruction of valuable timber, through carelessness and ignorance, or worse, indifference, it was thought desirable to obtain some knowledge of the extent and value of our timber resources and the legitimate demand that is made upon them by wood-working industries. To this end a circular letter was sent to many hundreds of manufacturers with a view to learning what woods are most commonly used, chief resources of supply, value of lumber for different uses, wastage, processes of manufacture, opinions as to future supply, &c. Few manufacturers would give the time for a full consideration of the subject in all its economic bearings, but a sufficient number of intelligent and thoughtful answers were received to show that while, on the one hand, our wood manufacturing industries are rapidly using up the best timber growth in the country, on the other, wise legislation and a proper education of the people to the necessity of keeping up the old, or producing new forest growth, will ultimately result in restoring and preserving a balance, especially with regard to the more valuable kinds of hard wood.

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