Air Quality Tester

Used by Texas A&M Forest Service’s Forest Product Laboratory

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The Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) was created by legislation in 1915 to manage forests across the state. In 1939, the state legislature created the TFS Forest Products Laboratory to research commercial uses for trees, develop wood products, and investigate environmental impacts on forests.

The Lab’s notable achievements included assisting in the establishment of the first southern pine newsprint mill, developing southern pine plywood, creating weight-scaling procedures for log trucks, and discovering uses for material previously burned as waste. Their longest running study tested the durability and effectiveness of wood preservatives. Between 1940 and 1980, experimental preservatives were applied to fence posts standing in Fairchild State Forest and observed to assess how the treated wood withstood the elements of nature. Many of the posts used in that study are still standing 80 years later.

Another important study used an air quality tester to test air pollution produced from sawmills. Sawmills disposed of waste products, like sawdust and shavings, by burning them. They used large structures called teepee burners — because of their shape — that vented large amounts of smoke and ash directly into the air. East Texas sawmills were creating so much air pollution that it became a public health issue in surrounding communities. The air quality studies conducted by the Forest Products Lab in the mid-1900s resulted in the elimination of teepee burners.

The Forest Products Laboratory closed in 2000 due to state budget cuts. Today, the TFS protects forests against wildfires, insects, and disease, helps landowners develop forest conservation practices, and educates the public on the environmental and economic importance of Texas’s forests.

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Air Quality Tester Artifact from College Station, TX
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