Forests are the dominant land cover in Vermont—but less than 200 years ago, the state was largely deforested. The logging industry boomed in the 19th century, leading to widespread clearcutting. Today logging is a key component of sustainable forest management and contributes to the health and vitality of the state’s forest land and its forest-based industries, including lumber, wood products, and maple syrup.
An Advertisement for Lumber in 1850
By the mid-19th century, the logging boom in Vermont was at its peak. The Connecticut River Valley was an important source of high-quality lumber to be transported along the river to regional markets.
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19th Century Logging Tools: Log Rule & Peavey
A log rule estimates how much lumber, in board feet, can be sawn from the log. A board foot is a 12-inch by 12-inch plank of wood 1-inch thick. While different log rules vary in how they estimate this total, they each work by measuring the length of the log and its average diameter.
Invented in 1857 by Maine blacksmith Joseph Peavey, this antique tool was used for handling, turning and moving logs. It improved upon an earlier tool, known as a cant hook or cant dog, by adding a sharp metal spike to the end of the wooden lever. More than 150 years later, the Peavey Manufacturing Company in Eddington, Maine continues to produce peaveys, cant hooks, and a variety of other logging tools.