Pre-industrial Logging 1860-1910
The pre-industrial era of East-side logging (1860 – 1910) was defined by its small scale harvesting of trees and reliance on muscle power.
The pre-industrial era of East-side logging (1860 – 1910) was defined by its small scale harvesting of trees and reliance on muscle power. Muscle power was provided by both man and animal. Men worked hard to take down trees by hand. They used nothing more than tools such as axes, wedges and saws. This work was back-breaking and very dangerous. Hazards such as “widowmakers,” large branches that fell from trees, could kill a logger instantly. Once a tree was down, oxen were used to haul or “skid” the massive trees through the forest to the local mill. These oxen were large and strong and could skid out heavy trees, but they could also injure or kill a logger if aggravated. Loggers eventually replaced these oxen with horses, substituting the power of the ox for the ease of horse handling.
Eventually the “skidding” of logs became more efficient as new technologies were introduced. Oxen and horses were used to pull wagons for log transport. In winter, horses pulled sleds loaded with logs to the mills. One of the greatest technological leaps in logging during this time were the High Wheels, which made hauling logs out of the woods much easier. Logs could be transported using less muscle power and in a shorter amount of time.
Another important aspect in pre-industrial logging was the blacksmith shop. Logging tools were essential and hard to come by. Broken pieces of equipment did not have replacement parts and needed to be fixed right away. A skilled blacksmith might have to repair or recreate tools by shaping hot iron into the replacement parts. He was also responsible for making shoes for hundreds of oxen and horses. All of these things only he provided.