Lumbering in the 1930’s


In 1939/40, Bill Plaunt took movies of the W. B. Plaunt and Son logging and sawmill operations at Wye, Ontario, a small village on the CPR, about 55 miles north-west of Sudbury. Three decades later I sat down with my uncle and recorded an interview with him about the logging operations he had been involved with. My canoe travels in the Pog area had prompted my curiosity after seeing so many wooden dams and logging camps, and iron tools such as boom chains, horse shoes and two-man saws . This interview was combined with the films in 2003 by Perenia Media, along with some Plaunt family movies in Sudbury and Pogamasing.

What is remarkable about these films is that they depict a way of logging that used natural sources of power; horse, man and water, rare in today’s highly mechanized age. As well, these colour movies have lasted six decades in their film cans before they have been digitized in this format. Remember, this was the first year that two Hollywood blockbusers, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz appeared in colour.

Due to the time limitations of You-Tube, the movie is divided into two parts, but follows the cyclical pattern of lumbering; from cutting in the fall, and hauling in winter in Part I, and log driving in spring and sawmilling in summer in Part II.

Part I – Cutting and Hauling

Part II – The Log Drive and Sawmill Operation 

Music from “The Best of the Chieftains

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gale Jagoe February 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Great stuff, Andy. I hope you are selling lots of books.
Cheers, Gale


Will Kershaw February 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hey Andy and Mandy,

Thanks for sending the info and video from the Thomson archives! The images are impressive and when you consider they were filming in the 1930’s, it tells you something about the vision Plaunt senior had to document the activity of the day. Your efforts makes it accessible to folks 80 years later. I trust you are well. It’s been a tres mild winter. My work took me up to Peawanuck and Attawapiskat. I drove 600+ km on ice road this month. Keep well… Will


Helmut & Enid Nikolai February 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

We enjoyed watching the brief video of the Pog lumbering. You are truly to be commended for the work you have done on your book and all your research. We have read bits of the book and hope to read more when we return from NZ. It was especially interesting for us as we have been to Pog. Keep up the exciting work, Andy.
Cheers, Enid and Nick


Christine Kerrigan February 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Incredible footage. Enjoyed it very much! I’m proud to have contributed to the book….


Christine Kerrigan


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