MP-0000.25.864 | Two men chopping down a large tree, BC(?), about 1895

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Photograph, glass lantern slide
Two men chopping down a large tree, BC(?), about 1895
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1895, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  animal (140) , axe (4) , British Columbia (62) , dog (28) , equipment (19) , figure (1849) , industry (91) , logger (2) , logging (8) , lumbering (23) , male (1608) , mammal (51) , Occupation (1110) , pair (195) , Photograph (77678) , saw (2) , work (126) , work (389)
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Keys to History

While the pulp and paper industry consumed soft woods like spruce, other more durable woods were necessary to industries such as construction, furniture making and machine-making. The logger's trade, with its axes of all shapes and sizes and its saws, employed several thousand workers. These seasonal employees, speaking the «strange» languages of their native Eastern Europe, were forgotten by the city-based unions. Grossly exploited and living in primitive conditions in their logging camps, they were to turn after 1905 to unions sympathetic to their cause, like the Industrial Workers of the World, the international union known to be the more radical, which had its headquarters in Chicago.

  • What

    Two loggers, perched a good way up, are about to fell a gigantic tree. The axes and saws are a reminder that this work would later be mechanized, round about the time of the Second World War.

  • Where

    British Colombia, Quebec and Ontario were the three main wood-exporting provinces.

  • When

    The scene was immortalised about 1895, before the pulp and paper industry boom and the emergence of unionization.

  • Who

    Logging was then a seasonal occupation starting in the autumn and ending in the spring. Farmers made up their income this way, while immigrants and the unemployed could also find temporary work there.