Strength testing of wood has been part of the mission of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) since its inception in 1910. This photo, from the 1950’s, shows technicians and scientists testing a large wood cylindrical structure in the 1,000,000-pound capacity test machine.
This 40-foot-tall universal test machine was purchased in 1920 and set up in the parking lot of the original FPL building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It was later moved to the “new” Lab site in the early 1930’s and used until it was decommissioned and disassembled in 2011. View this slideshow for more on the history and fate of the “Million-Pound Machine.”