General view of three unidentified employees poling and transferring logs from a hot pond to the washer and sawmill conveyor at the Cliffs Dow wood distillation plant located in Marquette, Michigan. Invented around 1890, the heated mill pond or "hot pond" is a standing body of water often heated using exhaust steam from a sawmill. In cold temperatures, passing cut logs through the heated water allows them to thaw and soften, making it possible for sawmills to run year-round.
Seeking a source of raw material for its new plastic, ethylcellulose, the Dow Chemical Company joined with the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company to form the Cliffs Dow Chemical Company in April 1935. The Cliffs Dow plant in Marquette primarily produced charcoal used in the manufacture of pig iron, as well as a range of chemical by-products including acetic acid, calcium acetate, wood alcohol, and ethyl alcohol. Notably, when the Marquette plant ceased operations in 1969, it was the last wood distillation plant in the United States.
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Dow Chemical Company. “Hot Pond and Sawmill Conveyor at Cliffs Dow Plant,” 1949. Dow Chemical Company Historical Image Collection, Box 2, Folder Places--Cliffs-Dow Chemical Company--Marquette, Mich.--Outdoor Logging Operations. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/6108vc06m.
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