Layers of the Past: A Brief History of Wood Lamination
May 22, 2017
Patented from Switzerland and first used in Europe in the early 1890s, “Glulam” (“glue-lam”) was, well, just that — glued, laminated timber construction.
The introduction of fully water-resistant phenol-resorcinol adhesives in 1942 heralded the beginning of a massive industry development, and the Glulam industry was born.
Also, John K. Mayo of New York City was issued a patent for plywood on December 26, 1865.
In 1905, at a World’s Fair in Portland, Oregon, the Portland Manufacturing Co. showcased wood panels laminated from a variety of softwoods from the Pacific Northwest.
Until 1920, laminates were used exclusively for door panels. That year, Elliot Bay Plywood in Seattle began selling plywood to car manufacturers for use on running boards.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s lamination began to produce oriented strand board. Plywood is made by laminating solid sheets of veneer. Oriented strand board is made of small wood strands glued together in cross-laminated layers. Other engineered wood products using lamination available today are wood I-joists, laminated veneer lumber, glued-laminated timber and oriented strand lumber. All of these laminated products offer strength, performance and the conservation of forest resources — and are used for office furniture!