Newfoundland and Quebec in the 1920s: A Brief Comparison of Pulpwood Operations.

Memorial University has some old film from Price, unfortunately it depicts the operations of Price in Quebec, way before they had any association with Newfoundland. If you look at the film there are a lot of similarities in operations.  I’ve posted the link directly below.

Price Operations in Quebec 1929

The film is reputedly from 1929 and chronicles the operations of Price for their mill at Kenogami in Quebec. What struck me was that their logging operations, if they are 1929, are backwards to Newfoundland. Firstly the loggers mostly appear to be using axes for the felling of wood, and when they do use saws they are two man crosscut types. I did spy what looked like a one man saw, but couldn’t determine the type. By 1929 the metal framed bucksaw, or by its proper name “Swedish web saw” was in general use in Newfoundland pulpwood operations. This type of saw meant that the transition to a short wood operation was made by both the operators of the Grand Falls, and Corner Brook mills. Clearly there had been no transition to short wood in the areas depicted in Quebec, however, these Quebec operations may also have been combined pulp/sawmill operations, in which case short wood would have been useless. Still, one man saws would have been useful in speeding up production. Interestingly the Canadian offices of Swedish firm Sandvik, which pioneered these saws, was in Quebec at the time.

The film of operations in Quebec provide a good example of what logging operations would have been like in Newfoundland pulpwood operations before 1920, with the horse hauling, the brows of long timber etc. Of great interest is the use of a Lombard (or one of its clones) Log Hauler by Price. This is quite interesting as these machines were fairly common, and may possibly have been used in Newfoundland, but by 1929 the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company would have had well over a dozen gasoline powered Caterpillar tractors in use in its timber limits. In fact, by 1929 some of these machines would have been getting a bit long in the tooth, as some of them had been introduced in the early years of the 1920s.

The transition to short wood by 1928 also meant that the log drives were less prone to jam. By that point in Newfoundland, there still would have been some steam boats being used, but they were smaller. That was around the same time that the Fleetway was accidentally sunk and operations moved away from Red Indian Lake. Similar boats to the type depicted would probably have been found on the Twin Lakes and Badger Lakes at the time, actually there is some reference to “alligator” boats on the Badger system during this same time period.

If you watch the film right to the end where they come to the paper mill, something might look familiar too. The pulp and paper mill itself. This turns out to make perfect sense, since both the Grand Falls and the Kenogami-Jonquire paper mills, were both designed by George Hardy. In fact the Quebec Mill was designed not long after Grand Falls. Even the jackladder looks a lot like the one in Grand Falls! Eventually both mills would be owned by the same company.

Hardy also designed the Anglo-Canadian Mill at Quebec City (another Harmsworth family operation), which was where John D. Gilmour, the Woods Manager who had overseen the introduction of the tractor, bucksaw, and the short wood method to Anglo-Newfoundland operations, went after he left Grand Falls.

Further Reading Hardy

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