FPL Celebrates 110 Years of Innovation

Today, June 4, 2020, marks 110 years since the doors opened at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and a world of possibility opened with them.

We could never summarize in one blog post all the incredible advances in the world of wood that have occurred since then. In fact, FPL has produced more than 20,000 publications over the years, all of which are available to anyone who finds them useful, be they fellow researchers, industry partners, or homeowners with a project to tackle. (Many are digitized here.)

But from the Lab’s first mission to find preservatives for railroad ties, researchers have invented, developed, and tested ways to use wood that have improved all of our daily lives while maintaining the health of our nation’s forests and supporting forest-based economies.

Interestingly, some of FPL’s earliest research areas are still part of our mission today. As technology advances and resources change, FPL scientists have been able to continuously improve upon past work, and so it holds true that one of the world’s oldest building materials is also the wonder material of the future. Take a look at some of these research areas, then and now.

From buildings and bridges to paper and packaging, wood is everywhere in our world. You can see it in beams soaring over head at a stadium, and not see it flowing in the ink of your ball-point pen. And yet, with so much more to learn, FPL will continue on the path of discovery for years to come.

FPL postcard, 1940